Thomas Moran Is Born

February 12 marks the birth of painter Thomas Moran (1837-1926). His depictions of Western landscapes inspired Americans to conserve and cherish spectacular wilderness areas as part of their national heritage.

In the summer of 1871, Moran joined the U.S. Geological Survey of the Territories. Headed by Ferdinand V. Hayden, this scientific exploration of lands along the Yellowstone River in northwestern Wyoming and southeastern Montana included a painter and a photographer. Visual documentation not only served to verify textual reports but also stimulated public interest.

Thomas Moran (February 12, 1837 - August 25, 1926) from Bolton, England was an artist of the Hudson River School who often painted the Rocky Mountains. Thomas Moran's vision of the Western landscape was critical to the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Thomas Moran along with Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Hill, and William Keith are sometimes referred to as belonging to the Rocky Mountain School of landscape painters because of all of the Western landscapes made by this group.