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Identifier: CONS64


The records of this collection were donated by Thurman Trosper, who served on the investment committee, and became the fund manager for the Robert Marshall Wilderness Fund. He was also a member of the Wilderness Society Council and served as its president from 1973 to 1976. The materials date from 1937 to 1985.

The Robert Marshall Wilderness Fund existed from 1940 until 1984. This small collection contains material for only a portion of the time of the trust's existence. It includes correspondence, financial records, trust documents and tax records primarily from 1968 to 1985, which document the administrative activities of the trustees, and the distribution of funds to fulfill Robert Marshall's intended purpose for the trust.


  • 1937-1985


The collection is open for research.


The Robert Marshall Wilderness Fund Records are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


Robert Marshall, environmentalist and author, was born in New York City on January 2, 1901 to Florence (Lowenstein) and Louis Marshall. Growing up in New York City, Marshall spent his summers at his family's vacation home in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. He and his brothers, George and James, spent many hours climbing in these mountains. Robert's father, Louis Marshall, was a prominent New York lawyer who was active in many civic organizations. He also helped to establish the protection of the Adirondack Forest Preserve in New York State. Robert Marshall continued his father's interest in the preservation of primitive areas. He received a B.S. degree from the New York State College of Forestry in 1925, a Master of Forestry degree from Harvard University in 1926 and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1930.

Marshall traveled extensively in northern Alaska from 1929 to 1931, spending time in and near the town of Wiseman. This experience was the basis for his book Arctic Village. In February of 1930, Marshall wrote an article for the Scientific Monthly magazine in which he described the need to organize people to work for the protection of wilderness areas - "There is just one hope of repulsing the tyrannical ambition of civilization to conquer every niche on the whole earth. That hope is the organization of spirited people who will fight for the freedom of the wilderness."

This hope was realized in 1935, when Marshall, traveling with Benton MacKaye, Bernard Frank and Harvey Broom on a field trip during an American Forestry Association meeting, stopped and discussed the need for such an organization. This resulted in the formation of an organizing committee. Inviting Harold C. Anderson, Aldo Leopold, Ernest Oberholtzer and Robert Sterling Yard to join them, these men established an organization dedicated to preserving wilderness areas in the United States, The Wilderness Society.

From 1933 to 1937, Marshall served as Director of Forestry for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, but remained active in the work of The Wilderness Society. In 1937, he was appointed Chief of Division of Recreation and Land for the U.S. Forest Service, a position he held until the time of his death in 1939. Marshall's book, Alaska Wilderness, Exploring the Central Brooks Range, was published posthumously in 1956 and served to focus attention on the area which would become the Gates of the Arctic National Park.

Marshall died on November 11, 1939. Leaving an estate of 1.5 million dollars in his will, he established three trusts, giving one-half of the estate to the first, and a quarter each to the other two. The purpose of the first was for "The education of the People of the United States of America to the necessity and desirability of the development and organization of unions of persons engaged in work or of unemployed persons and the promotion and advancement of an economic system in the United States based upon the theory of production for use and not for profit" (page 1 of Last Will and Testament).

The second trust was for the "safeguarding and advancement of the cause of civil liberties in the United States of America and the various states and subdivisions thereof by all lawful means and actions, with full power and authority to the Trustees to print, publish and distribute pamphlets, books, magazines and newspapers and generally to use any and all lawful means to bring to the knowledge of the citizens of the United States of America the importance and necessity of preserving and safeguarding the cause of civil liberties." (page 2 of Last Will and Testament)

The third trust, which became known as the Robert Marshall Wilderness Fund, was for the "preservation of the wilderness conditions in outdoor America". Its original trustees were Bob Yard, George Marshall, Irving Clark, Olaus Murie and Bill Zimmerman - four of the five trustees being members and councilors of The Wilderness Society. Marshall aided the organization financially while alive, and continued that support through the trust after his death.

In 1941, the U.S. Forest Service dedicated the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area on the Flathead and Lewis and Clark National Forests in Montana in recognition of Marshall's work to develop a national system of wilderness area.


2 box(es) (1.5 linear feet)

Language of Materials



The papers of this collections were donated by Thurman Trosper, Trustee for the Robert Marshall Wilderness Fund.


American Jewish Archives: Robert Marshall Papers, (5.2 linear feet)

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library: John F. Finerty Papers on the Robert Marshall Civil Liberties Trust (2 boxes)

Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807: Dickerman, Ernest M. Papers. SC# 3085, Special Collections

Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807: Robert Marshall Wilderness Fund Minutes Book, 1940-1953, 1969


Number of Boxes: 2




Claudia Jensen

September 2006


Ellen Zazzarino

September 2006
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States