The Yellowstone National Park archives house records that document natural and cultural resources of the park as well as how the national park idea developed after Yellowstone’s establishment, how policies for managing the world’s first national park were developed, and how they continue to develop today. The Yellowstone Archives is an affiliate of the US National Archives and Records Administration and houses a unique record of physical and administrative development beginning with early civilian superintendents and pioneer entrepreneurs, through the turn-of-the-century military era, to the founding and development of the National Park Service.
The collections include documents from the military administration of the park (1886–1918), administrative records from the establishment of the National Park Service (1916) to the present, resource management records that document how the natural and cultural resources are protected, records of major projects that have occurred in the park, the records of park concessioners such as the Yellowstone Park Company, and donated manuscripts. The collection also contains historic maps, photographs, films, oral histories, administrative records, and scientific data.
The park is allowed to permanently hold federal records created by the park’s administration instead of transferring them to the National Archives because of its affiliation with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). While legal custody of these records belongs to NARA, physical custody is kept by Yellowstone National Park to allow researchers to have the best access to both current and historical resources in one location.
Appointments scheduled in advance are required. Some collections will be temporarily closed due to an ongoing cataloging project. Contact the archives prior to planning a visit to ensure that the records you wish to consult will be available.
Closed federal holidays and special closures as noted:
Catalogs: Search by subject at: http://wyld.sdp.sirsi.net/client/en_US/yrl/. Click on the link in the record to access the detailed finding aids.
Search a specific collection or browse all of our finding aids:
Researchers must complete and sign the following forms prior to accessing the records: Access Policy (107 kb PDF), Researcher Registration form (15 kb PDF), and the Copyright & Privacy Waiver (19 kb PDF). Return the forms electronically or by mail to the contact listed below.
Anne Foster, Archivist, e-mail us
Last updated: December 7, 2017