Aldo Leopold’s “Sand County Almanac”

March 8, 2015

This weekend’s community reading of Aldo Leopold’s Sand county almanac at the UW-Madison Arboretum prompts us to highlight the rich resources related to Leopold in Special Collections and in the University Archives at UW-Madison.

We are honored to preserve and make available in Special Collections the Robert A. McCabe collection of the writings of Aldo Leopold, presented to the Libraries by Marie S. McCabe. The intriguing story of the collection and its path to the UW-Madison Libraries is recounted in the Messenger magazine for winter 1998/1999, digitized as part of the Friends of the UW-Madison Library collection. Among the notable archival material in the McCabe/Leopold collection in Special Collections are manuscript pages of Leopold’s Sand county almanac, which McCabe collected from what he called the “round file” after a secretary had typed them. McCabe, who would succeed his mentor Leopold as department head, noted later in Aldo Leopold, the professor: “I don’t know if [Leopold] knew I was collecting his discarded longhand writings, but he knew I was interested in their literary quality.” Below, for example, a page dated 4/1/44 and entitled “Thinking Like a Mountain” shows clearly Leopold’s writing and editorial process.

Please note: The Aldo Leopold Foundation holds the rights to all of Leopold’s unpublished material and works in non-extant publications. Written authorization from the Aldo Leopold Foundation is thus required prior to reproducing this or other Leopold manuscripts for publication or exhibition.

We encourage you to explore more fully

  • the large Aldo Leopold Collection preserved at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives, along with many other related archival collections and oral histories there;
  • an extensive digital collection produced with funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, Aldo Leopold Foundation, UW-Madison General Library System, and UW Digital Collections Center;
  • the McCabe collection of the writings of Aldo Leopold in the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison (slated for digitization).