Overview of The Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Collection at Washington State University Libraries
Frontispiece from A Treatise of Fysshynge with an Angle, by Dame Juliana Berners (1496) (Copy source from an 1880 facsimile reproduction of the original English edition)
The Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Collection at Washington State University Libraries is dedicated to preserving, through films, photographs, manuscripts, and printed texts, the documentary record of these pursuits in the Pacific Northwest. This special collection rests securely on two fishing and angling collections. That of Roy Hansberry, a WSU graduate (Class of 1931), contains some of the significant editions in the history of angling, including fifteen editions of Izaak Walton's Compleat Angler, beginning with the1772 edition; Frederic Halford's Dry Fly Entomology (1897), one of only100 autographed copies; Alfred Ronalds' The Fly Fisher's Entomology (1913), which contains examples of forty-eight superb artificial flies tied to his exacting specifications; and, various didactic, vest-pocket angling manuals of the eighteenth century. Over half the volumes from Hansberry can be described as rare, finely bound, or painstakingly illustrated. The second, larger collection is that of James C. Quick. In assembling his collection of about 1,200 volumes, Quick concentrated on acquiring contemporary books that reflected his particular interest in fly fishing for trout and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. Among the highlights are works by Roderick Haig-Brown, as well as fine Derrydale Press publications and works by IzaaK Walton, "the father of angling."
These two collections and the additions made to them since their acquisition afford the fly fisherman and angling bibliophile an opportunity to study a subject that for the past three hundred years represents what Walton called "a recreation of a recreation." Recently cataloged materials in the Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Collection in Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections may be browsed online via the WSU Libraries' online catalog GRIFFIN by typing " Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Collection" in the author field.
The Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Collection also includes significant holdings of personal papers, especially the archives of noteworthy outdoor and recreation authors. The personal papers of M.S. McGoldrick, "one of America's most experienced and best known fly fishermen," illustrate this focus during a life that included fifty years of angling activity. Although not a writer himself, it was McGoldrick who introduced Roddy Haig-Brown to fly fishing in South America. Their close relationship is documented in the correspondence from this collection.
There is no question about the place of Jack (John Woolf) O'Connor in the annals of contemporary wildlife writers. A winner of both the Weatherby Big Game Trophy of the Year Award in 1957 and the Winchester Western Outdoorsman of the Year Award in 1971, O'Connor is remembered as "the dean of American outdoor writers." His papers, which number in excess of 8,000 pieces, came to WSU following his death in 1978 on a return trip to his home in Lewiston, Idaho, after a voyage abroad. They add another dimension to this important attempt to document the contemporary character of wildlife and outdoor writing in the Western United States.
The papers of another outdoor writer, Patrick "Pat" McManus, of Spokane, Washington, form an important part of the Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation Collection. McManus' writings have gained him the sobriquet "the Robert Benchley of the outdoors." The Lee Richardson Papers represents a more recent acquisition of outdoor and recreation primary source material. Richardson published two limited-edition volumes on fly-fishing: You Should Have Been Here Yesterday (Touchstone, 1974); and, Lee Richardson's British Columbia: Tales of Fishing in British Columbia (Champoeg, 1978). Another volume, Those Were the Days: Bird Hunting Memoirs (Caxton, 1985) was published posthumously.