Aldo Leopold timeline

This article is part of the Aldo Leopold Collection.

caption Aldo Leopold investigating farmland at the Riley Game Cooperative in 1944. Located near Leopold's home in Madison, the cooperative was a partnership between a small number of hunters from Madison and several farmers in the rural community of Riley. Leopold led this cooperative adventure in improving habitat for game and other wildlife. (Used with permission of the Aldo Leopold Foundation Archives)

1887 Aldo Leopold, born in Burlington, Iowa on January 11, eldest of four children of Carl and Clara Leopold.

1904 Attends Lawrenceville School in New Jersey from January 1904 to May, 1905, to prepare for college.

1905 Attends Sheffield Scientific School at Yale (class of 1908).

1906 Begins coursework at Yale Forest School (Master of Forestry, 1909).

1909 Joins U.S. Forest Service (established 1905). First field assignment as assistant on Apache National Forest in southeastern Arizona.

1911 Transferred to Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico as deputy supervisor, then supervisor. Founds and edits Carson Pine Cone, a U.S. Forest Service newsletter.

1912 Marries Estella Bergere of Santa Fe on October 9. Five children: Starker, 1913; Luna, 1915; Nina, 1917; Carl, 1919; Estella, 1927.

1914 Assigned to district headquarters in Albuquerque in office of grazing, then in 1915 placed in charge of new work on recreation, game and fish, and publicity.

1915 Helps found game protective associations throughout the Southwest, including the Albuquerque Game Protective Association, now known as the New Mexico Wildlife Federation.

1918 Leaves the Forest Service to accept a full-time position as secretary of the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce

1919 Rejoins the Forest Service as assistant district administrator, with responsibility for business organization, personnel, finance, roads and trails, and fire control for the twenty million acres of national forests in the Southwest.

1922 Submits formal proposal for administration of Gila National Forest as a wilderness area (administratively designated by Forest Service on June 3, 1924).

1923 Completes Watershed Handbook, synthesizing insights from inspection tours of national forests around the Southwest.

1924 Accepts transfer to U.S. Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin as assistant (later associate) director.

caption The Leopold family at the Shack in 1939. (Used with permission of the Aldo Leopold Foundation Archives)

1928 Leaves Forest Service Products Laboratory and Forest Service to conduct game surveys of Midwestern states as a private consultant.

1933 Textbook Game Management published in May, and Leopold delivers "The Conservation Ethic" for the John Wesley Powell Lecture at the annual meeting of the Southwest division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In July, accepts appointment to a new chair of game management in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of Wisconsin.

1934 In October, accepts an invitation from Robert Marshall to become a founding member of The Wilderness Society.

1935 In April, acquires the Wisconsin River farm (the shack) that would be the setting for many of the essays in A Sand County Almanac. During the fall, he travels to Germany through a fellowship program to study forestry and wildlife management

1936 In September, makes the first of two pack trips to the Rio Gavilan in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains in Chihuahua, Mexico.

1939 Becomes chair of a new Department of Wildlife Management at the University of Wisconsin.

1941 Develops initial plans for a volume of ecological essays.

1947 In December, submits revised book manuscript titled “Great Possessions” to Oxford University Press (OUP), which notifies him of acceptance on April 14, 1948.

1948 Stricken by heart attack and dies on April 21 while helping to fight a grass fire on a neighbor’s farm near the Shack. Burial in Burlington, Iowa.

1949 “Great Possessions” final editing overseen by Leopold's son Luna B. Leopold. The manuscript is published primarily as Leopold left it, though it is published under a new title - A Sand County Almanac.

1953 OUP issues excerpts from Leopold's hunting journals and other manuscripts, edited by Luna B. Leopold, in Round River.

1966 OUP issues a new version of A Sand County Almanac, re-organized with essays from Round River (A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation From Round River ).

1968 OUP issues the classic 1949 version of A Sand County Almanac in paperback for the first time.

1970 Sierra Club/Ballantine Books issues OUP's 1966 hardcover A Sand County Almanac: With Essays on Conservation From Round River in paperback.

1974 Thinking Like A Mountain: Aldo Leopold and the Evolution of an Ecological Attitude Toward Deer, Wolves and Forests, the first book-length scholarship about Aldo Leopold's life, is published.

1978 Posthumously honored with the John Burroughs Medal, awarded for distinguished books of natural history.

1982 The five children of Aldo and Estella Leopold establish the Aldo Leopold Foundation in response to growing interest in their father's legacy and to support long-term conservation efforts at the Leopold shack and farm.

2004 Governor James Doyle signs legislation making the first weekend in March Aldo Leopold Weekend across Wisconsin.


This timeline is adapted by the Aldo Leopold Foundation from a chronology written by Leopold biographer Susan Flader and published in The River of the Mother of God and Other Essays by Aldo Leopold. Posthumous events have been summarized by the Aldo Leopold Foundation.



Foundation, A. (2014). Aldo Leopold timeline. Retrieved from


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