Friday, August 10, 2012

Spotlight: Archives of American Conservationists

Recently I have had a significant number of requests asking where to find information about some of the founders and major thinkers responsible for the environmental movement in the United States.  Other than monographs, one of the best sources for researching this topic is to determine whether an archival collection exists for a specific individual.  For those interested in researching the beginnings of environmental law please see below:

Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)
A conservationist, scientist, author and professor Leopold was most noted for his work A Sand County Almanac (1949) and his contributions to wilderness preservation.
The Leopold Collection houses the raw materials that document not only Leopold's rise to prominence but the history of conservation and the emergence of the field of ecology from the early 1900s until his death in 1948 . . . The collection has been augmented by correspondence and related materials carefully retained over the years by his mother, his wife, and other family members and professional associates; these span his entire life, but are most rich and voluminous for his early years. It also includes student notebooks and course materials from his studies in Burlington, Lawrenceville and Yale, and copies of his inspection reports on many national forests in the Southwest as well as hundreds of family photographs and photographs taken by Leopold to illustrate aspects of wildlife ecology and land management.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
A poet, essayist, naturalist, historian and transcendentalist, Thoreau is most well know for his work Walden (1854).
The Thoreau Institute library (“The Henley Library”) holds more than 60,000 items that include books, manuscripts, periodicals, art, music, maps, pamphlets, correspondence, and personal histories. We are honored to be the designated repository for a number of important collections, including the extensive collections of the Thoreau Society. It is the mission of the library to collect, preserve and make available research materials relating to Thoreau, his historical context, and his contemporary relevance to human-rights and environmental issues.
John Muir (1938-1914)
A Scottish-born naturalist, essayist and wilderness advocate, Muir co-founded the Sierra Club and played a pivotal role in promoting Yosemite in California to become a National Park.
The Muir Papers consists of John Muir's correspondence, journals, manuscripts, notebooks, drawings, and photographs. It also includes some Muir family papers, the William and Maymie Kimes collection of Muir's published writings, the Sierra Club Papers (1896-1913 ), materials collected and generated by his biographers William Bad√® and Linnie Marsh Wolf, and John Muir's clippings files and memorabilia . . . Today, approximately 75% of the extant papers of Muir are preserved here. 
Rachel Carson (1907-1964)
Often called the mother of the modern environmental movement, Carson's landmark book Silent Spring (1962) ushered in a new wave of environmental awareness at the national level.  A marine biologist and conservationist by trade, Carson also authored several other notable works.
The Rachel Carson Papers consist of manuscripts, notebooks, letters, newspaper clippings, photos, and printed material relating to the life and career of Rachel Carson. The collection spans the years 1921 to 1981, with the bulk of the material covering the period from 1950 to 1964. Currently, only a portion of these papers are available online.
Stewart L. Udall (1920-2010)
A former Arizona Congressman and Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Udall was responsible for advocating or sponsoring a number of major environmental statutes in the 1950s and 60s. He is also known for is work A Quiet Crisis (1964).
The collection is composed of Stewart Lee Udall's professional and public papers. Items of the 84th, 85th, and 86th Congresses are organized into administration and legislation files. Administration includes routine office matters, requests, and correspondence relating to particular problems or issues. Legislation encompasses correspondence arranged by subject, related bills, hearings, clippings, speeches, and background materials [from 1950-1977].
William O. Douglas (1801-1980)
The longest serving Justice in the history of the Supreme Court and an avid environmentalist in his later years, Douglas was responsible for authoring the memorable dissent in the case of Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727 (1972), which argued that inanimate objects should have standing to sue in court for environmental issues.
The papers of William Orville Douglas (1898-1980) span the years 1801 to 2008, with the heaviest concentration of material dated between 1923 and 1975. Although the collection is divided into three parts, some topics and time periods are common to all parts. Part I, dating from 1920 to 1953, focuses primarily on Douglas's professional life. Part II forms the bulk of the collection, and although it covers the years 180l to 1980, the earliest Douglas manuscript is dated 19l6. Part III is confined primarily to Douglas's diary and his personal correspondence with other justices of the United States Supreme Court. Part IV is made up chiefly of Douglas's correspondence, memoranda, and notes to Marshall L. Small, one of his law clerks, and family papers, primarily correspondence with his second wife, Mercedes D. Douglas Eichholz. The collection consists of a small group of family papers, several correspondence series, subject files, speeches and writings, Supreme Court files, financial papers, photographs, miscellany, and printed matter.

Related Resources

book jacket Richard J. Lazarus, The Making of Environmental Law (2004). [Pace KF3775 .L398 2004]. 

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