Authors: Jane Goodall

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

English anthropologist and memoirist

Author Works


My Friends, the Wild Chimpanzees, 1967

Innocent Killers, 1970 (with H. van Lawick)

In the Shadow of Man, 1971

The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior, 1986

Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe, 1990

The Chimpanzee: The Living Link Between Man and Beast, 1992

Visions of Caliban: On Chimpanzees and People, 1993 (with Dale Peterson)

With Love, 1994

Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey, 1999 (with Phillip L. Berman)

Africa in My Blood: An Autobiography in Letters, the Early Years, 2000

Beyond Innocence: An Autobiography in Letters, the Later Years, 2001

The Ten Trusts: What We Must Do to Care for the Animals We Love, 2002 (with Marc Bekoff)

Children’s/Young Adult Literature:

Grub the Bush Baby, 1970

My Life with the Chimpanzees, 1988

The Chimpanzee Family Book, 1989

Dr. White, 1999

The Eagle and the Wren, 2000

The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours, 2001


Jane Goodall, a foremost authority on the study of primates and especially chimpanzees, grew up in England. Her fascination with animals was a lifelong one, and even as a young child she displayed an affinity for and curiosity about animals. She also read voraciously about animals.{$I[AN]9810001891}{$I[A]Goodall, Jane}{$I[geo]WOMEN;Goodall, Jane}{$I[geo]ENGLAND;Goodall, Jane}{$I[tim]1934;Goodall, Jane}

In 1950 Goodall received a School Certificate with matriculation exemption, and two years later she obtained a Higher Certificate as well. She began a series of jobs, among them one with a documentary film company. She finally saved enough money to finance a trip to Africa.

On the occasion of this first trip to Africa, Goodall became acquainted with the prominent anthropologist and paleontologist Louis B. Leakey, who suggested that Goodall undertake a research project in Tanzania, East Africa, to study chimpanzees; Leakey hoped that such a study could shed light on the possible lifestyle of early human ancestors. Under Goodall’s management the project was successful, and after that initial venture in 1960, Goodall and her staff continued the research for decades, producing valuable information concerning primate behavior based on close field observation.

In 1956 Goodall obtained a doctoral degree in ethology from Cambridge University, after which she held various research and teaching positions at the Gombe Stream Research Centre, Stanford University, the University of Dar es Salaam, Tufts University, and the University of Southern California. In 1977 she established The Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation. She has received dozens of awards from around the world, among them receiving the title of Commander of the British Empire from Elizabeth II in 1995. Also in the 1990’s, Goodall became the White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University and an explorer-in-residence for the National Geographic Society. She spent much of her time touring the world and lecturing.

In 1964, she married the nature photographer Hugo van Lawick, they had a son, Hugo Eric Louis, before divorcing. Goodall later married Derek Bryceson, the British director of Tanzania National Parks, in 1974. He died in 1978.

Goodall’s published work ranges from Innocent Killers to Grub the Bush Baby. In the Shadow of Man, which brought her international acclaim, is a record of the extraordinary findings from her first ten years of research in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, observing the behavior, as individuals and as a group, of wild chimpanzees.

Focusing on the social inner-workings of chimpanzees, Goodall’s next book, The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior, also documents Goodall’s decades of research in Gombe. Its approach is scientific, yet it is accessible to the nonscientific reader. Graphics such as photographs and maps accompany the text.

In the autobiographical My Life with the Chimpanzees, Goodall allows glimpses of the life of a researcher who spends much of her life in the field. This book, too, revolves around her studies of chimpanzees in Tanzania. Her next book, The Chimpanzee Family Book, familiarizes younger readers with individual chimpanzees and chimpanzee families observed by Goodall and her staff during their research. Through A Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe chronicles a span of years defined from within a chimpanzee community.

Goodall’s two volumes of letters, Africa in My Blood and Beyond Innocence are treasures of insight and information. Both illuminate Goodall’s life, life’s work, passion, and why she became a worldwide celebrity and spokesperson for wildlife conservation. Her later works focus more on this message, and the education of the public of its implications, than on the scientific study of animals. Jane Goodall’s research is documented in her books as well as in a large number of important journal and magazine publications written separately and in collaboration with colleagues.

Goodall repeated her success in field research in education-oriented programs as well. Such programs as Roots and Shoots, a youth group she began in 1991 that is dedicated to informing children and young people about environmental issues, animal welfare issues, and global harmony, enabled Goodall to share her wealth of knowledge. Goodall’s influence on the knowledge of and understanding for related species, particularly human beings’ closest animal cousin, the chimpanzee, is incalculable.

BibliographyGreen, Timothy. The Restless Spirit: Profiles in Adventure. New York: Walker, 1970. Includes illustrations, maps, portraits, and a five-page bibliography along with discussions of Goodall, Wilfred Thesiger, Hugh Boustead, and Tom Harrisson.Lindsey, Jennifer. Jane Goodall, Forty Years at Gombe: A Tribute to Four Decades of Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation. Edited by Marisa Bulzone. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1999. This biography and tribute was produced in association with the Jane Goodall Institute. Includes color photographs and bibliography.Montgomery, Sy. Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté Galdikas. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991. A good introduction to the lives of three primatologists. Illustrated, with bibliographical references.Pratt, Paula Bryant. Jane Goodall. San Diego, Calif.: Lucent Books, 1997. An examination of Goodall’s life, written for a young audience.
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