Betty Schwartzel collection of Dian Fossey correspondence, photographs, and clippings
Scope and Contents
The 19 photographs in the collection are all color snapshots from around 1969, with typed captions apparently written by Fossey taped on the back. The subjects of the photographs are mostly gorillas, with and without Fossey herself, but they also include a photograph of a Tutsi man who, according to the caption, returned a gorilla who had been captured by Batwa poachers.
The collection also includes a small amount of correspondence related to Schwartzel's work on Fossey's behalf to settle some financial matters in the late 1970s, as well as correspondence between Schwartzel and attorneys who worked on Fossey's estate after her murder.
Approximately 1/3 of the collection is clippings about Dian Fossey kept by Betty Schwartzel.
Dates of Materials
- Majority of material found within 1969 - 1985
- Fossey, Dian (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Born in 1932 in San Francisco, Dian Fossey was raised by her well-to-do mother and step-father, Hazel and Richard Price (her parents were divorced). Fossey studied animal husbandry at the University of California at Davis for two years and graduated from San Jose State in 1955 with a degree in occupational therapy. For eleven years, she worked in a children's hospital in Louisville, KY.
In 1963, she went to Africa, and by 1966, she had moved there permanently. She became Louis Leakey's"gorilla girl," and eventually was sponsored by the National Geographic Society, setting up camp in Zaire (then the Congo) and later Rwanda. Fossey fought poachers in and around her base camp, Karisohe, and amidst increasingly tense relations between the local tribe and Fossey regarding the mountain gorillas, Fossey was found murdered on Christmas Eve of 1985. The case was never solved.
Betty Schwartzel, who also used the name Mrs. Gerard A. Schwartzel, was a close friend and trusted partner to Fossey throughout her time in Africa. By the late 1970s, Schwartzel was managing Fossey's stateside financial affairs, keeping a bank account in Fossey's name, and corresponding with Fossey by letter multiple times per month.
0.438 linear feet (1 legal document box)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Apes -- Behavior -- Research
- Financial records
- Fossey, Dian
- Galdihas, Birute Marija Filomena
- Goodall, Jane
- Gorillas -- Behavior
- Legal documents
- Mammals -- Behavior
- Medical records
- Primatologists -- United States
- Women in higher education
- Women in science
- Women primatologists -- United States
- Women scientists -- United States
- Finding aid to the Betty Schwartzel collection of Dian Fossey correspondence, photographs, and clippings
- Legacy Finding Aid (Updated)
- Madison White, Christie Peterson
- 2018, 2021
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2017-07-26T17:48:24-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
- 2018-10-11: Updated to conform to DACS
- 2021-02-09: Collection foldered & folder-level listing added; collection-level description updated
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063