bob campbell's photographs dian fossey's Karisoke Research Center, 1968 - 1972

Little was known about gorillas until the late 1800s. Until the 1950s, gorillas were studied only as specimens collected in the wild and brought back to museums for anatomical research. By the 1960s, George Schaller became the first scientist to observe the diet and feeding ecology of gorillas in their natural habitat. He conducted the first census of mountain gorilla populations. Louis Leakey, who was interested in learning more about early human ancestors through primatology, sponsored 3 women researchers studying chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas in the wild. Soon after Dian Fossey contacted Leakey, she was on her way to the Congo and Rwanda, beginning her long-term study of mountain gorillas in 1967. Through the photography of Bob Campbell, Fossey’s relationship with the gorillas of the Virunga Mountains touched millions of people around the world. Recently donated to the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries, the Bob Campbell Papers represent the beginning of Fossey’s nearly twenty-year tenure studying mountain gorillas at Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda.