Diplodocus carnegii, better known as “Dippy,” is a beloved symbol in Pittsburgh. A life-size statue of the extinct dinosaur sits outside the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to greet guests, while a reconstruction of its skeleton sits inside the museum.
The dinosaur itself was discovered in 1898 by William Harlow Reed while on a dig in Wyoming. Reed excavated the rest of the dinosaur on a later dig sponsored by Andrew Carnegie. The skeleton was brought back to Pittsburgh, where it was cast. Copies of the cast were donated to museums around the world, while the original “Dippy” (actually a composite skeleton) remained on display in Pittsburgh.
Because of the wide distribution of casts, “Dippy” became one of, if not the most, familiar dinosaurs in the world and the first dinosaur seen by many.
The collection is divided into two series: Discovery of Diplodocus carnegii and Reproductions of Diplodocus carnegii.
Discovery of Diplodocus carnegii
The Discovery of Diplodocus carnegii series includes correspondence, mining claims, maps, and diagrams related to the discovery of the dinosaur and the management of the dig site.
Reproductions of Diplodocus carnegii
The Reproductions of Diplodocus carnegii series includes correspondence, telegrams, and financial documents related to the casting of the skeleton and its donation to various international museums. Much of the correspondence relates to reproductions sent to Germany, Mexico, and Argentina. Because of the international nature of the correspondence, many letters are not in English.
Accessing the Collection
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History Diplodocus Collection is housed at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History as part of the Vice President’s Archives.
Researchers may also be interested in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Earl Douglass Collection.
1898 - 1934
Much of this collection is in the public domain. Questions regarding items still in copyright should be directed to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.