American Museum of Natural History 77 Street facade
American Museum of Natural History Annual Reports from the Research Library
of the American Museum of Natural History

This index of Museum Annual Reports spans the first report in 1870 to the most recent report (for the year 2006). Please note that searches may not be comprehensive because the recognition and indexing of words in the scanned text was done by machine using the technology of optical character recognition (OCR) which can vary in accuracy depending on the quality of the original scan.

Browse Annual Reports by issue date


Help Searching the Museum Annual Reports


Searches can be fine-tuned using the symbols and operators described below.

Truncation symbols

The asterisk can be used to search for a word and its plural or variant endings; for example a search for photo* would retrieve documents that have could have any of the following words: photos, photograph, photographic, photographer, etc.

The question mark can be used within a word to search for terms spelled the same except for the single character indicated by the question mark; for example a search for s?ow would retrieve documents with snow or slow.

Exact phrase searching

To search for an exact phrase, simply enclose it in quotation marks; for example, enter “Forestry Hall” (using quotation marks) to search for instances of that phrase.

Boolean operators

Use AND to search for documents with two or more words (or simply enter the terms with no operator, as the default search mode of the database is to conduct a search assuming that an AND is between all terms); for example searching for exhibit AND expedition will result in documents that have both words, as will the search exhibit expedition.

Use OR to find either of your search words; for example searching on Asiatic OR Mongolian will result in documents that have either word, not necessarily both.

Use NOT to eliminate words from your search results; for example searching shells NOT mollusca will result in documents that contain the word shells but not mollusca.


Search results are displayed in the order of frequency the search term occurs in each document. You can reorder this list by date by clicking the link Sort by date.

When you click on the link to open a full text PDF, you should then be able to search for your term using the search functionality in the PDF reader (this search functionality may open automatically if you are using the Windows operating system).

Clicking on the link to browse keyword in context will show you snippets of text from the Annual Report showing where your term appears. This allows you to quickly judge whether that Annual Report has the information you need. Please note that currently the application is unable to provide the browse keyword in context functionality when you search using more than one term.


Problem: I am unable to open a Full Text PDF.

Usually this is because the file is too large to open from your web browser, sometimes resulting in a message indicating that the file is damaged. You should be able to resolve this by downloading the file to your computer. Simply right click the link to the PDF and then select the option to save the file (when you right click, the selection you should choose might be worded 'Save target as' or 'Save link as'). This will allow you to download the file to your computer where you should be able to open it.

Problem: When I click the link to browse keyword in context, nothing happens.

If you conducted a search with more than one term, browse keyword in context does not work. We plan to correct this in the future and apologize for the inconvenience.