Living Legacy Library
John Muir Collection. Photo by Rod Currier.
- Preserve rare and classic materials that are at risk of permanent loss as the Age of Print is replaced by the Digital Age.
- Protect a core collection in a secure, well maintained space where these materials will be treated as the treasures they are.
- Enjoy the experience of encounter with classic books and visual media available to Chapter members by visiting the Legacy Library.
What is the history of the Angeles Chapter library?
Ansel Adams Collection. Photo by Rod Currier.
What is the current status of the Chapter library?
How does the donation process work?
What is the long-range plan?
What is not included in the core collection?
One benefit of restricting materials in the Legacy Library in this way is that they qualify under the 501(c)(3) standard as educational and charitable – and non-political. Thus donations qualify for tax-deductible treatment.
What areas in the Core Collection do we seek to enhance through the Living Legacy Library initiative?
- The John Muir collection. Nothing is more outstanding in our existing library than the set of early editions of Muir’s books, several of them autographed. However, each of these books came out in multiple versions over a 30-year period – not only in different editions but by various publishers, each of whom had their own unique and attractive way of packaging a book. At that level, our collection is not complete.
We have other notable early works by Clarence King, Smeaton Chase (creator of the California hiking guidebook), J. M. Hutchings (Yosemite, 1885) and Charles Francis Saunders (the first major book on Southern California mountains).
- The Classic Alpinism collection. John Tyndall, Edward Whymper and Martin Conway are bywords in opening up the Alps to climbing and doing books to tell the story. Our collection begins with them and continues into the 20s and 30s with books by German authors focused on the Swiss Alps, and into the 50s and 60s with French Alpinists Lionel Terray and Gaston Rebuffat.
- The Vittorio Sella collection. Widely acknowledged by Ansel Adams and others as an unsurpassed mountain photographer, Sella a century ago recorded daring expeditions to the Caucasus, Karakoram Himalaya, Alaska and Africa in stunning black-and-white images published in books of the highest quality that today are top-rated mountaineering and exploration classics. We have most but not all of them. from the same era are other remarkable narratives and photographs of long-forgotten pioneering expeditions to the Himalayas.
- The Mt. Everest collection. The 1921-24 British expeditions that culminated in the disappearance of Mallory and Irvine made Mt. Everest “the prize” until it was climbed 30 years later. We have the classic accounts by Howard-Bury, Bruce, and Norton in the 1920s, Ruttledge, Tilman, Shipton and Smythe in the 1930s and Hunt, Hillary and Tenzing in the 1950s.
In parallel were German expeditions to Nanga Parbat, which we have as reported in German, along with assaults on peaks including K2 and Annapurna from the 1930s to modern times. Also, intrepid writer-explorers Heinrich Harrar and George Schaller penetrated the remotest reaches of Nepal and Tibet with accounts contained in our library.
- Scholars of the Sierra collection. From the 1920s through 1950s a group of dedicated scholar-explorers wrote of the landforms, geology and climbing challenges of the Sierra Nevada. Notable figures included Francis P. Farquahar, Franclois Matthes, Norman Clyde, Hervey Voge, Leigh Ortenburger and Steve Roper
Their works are complemented by coverage of the Oregon Cascades, Mt. Rainier, the British Columbia ranges and Alaska from the 1910s to modern times.
The Ansel Adams collection. Adams was the “visual John Muir” of Sierra Club history and we have virtually all his famous images in high-quality volumes edited by Nancy Newhall and others. This work culminated with the Sierra Club folio series that won national awards in the 1960s. In that series, Adams was joined by Elliot Porter, Cedric Wright, Philip Hyde, Edward Weston and Harvey Manning as featured photographers. We have the complete file, in moderately worn condition.
- Philosophers of the Environment collection. David Brower led the Sierra Club in crucial years and was editor of the format series. A great environmental voice, he is joined in our collection by Rachel Carson and famed naturalists Aldo Leopold, Joseph Wood Crutch and Loren Eiseley, along with celebrated nature commentators Wallace Stegner, John McPhee, Barry Lopez and Edward Abbey.
- Exploration of the West & Native American collection. The library contains many classic volumes on the Euro-American exploration of the American West, including such notable events as John Wesley Powell’s Colorado River journey. The same collection includes books on Native American environmental folkways and wisdom traditions, many by tribal authors.
- Regional environment collection. The library reflects the distinctive geographic variety of our region and the combination of magnificent natural areas with a large urban area in books on the history and beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Gabriels, etc. including volumes autographed to the Chapter by premier regional naturalist and historian John W. Robinson.
- The Guidebooks collection. While not the most individually valuable books, this collection is one of our strongest in variety and depth, whether the focus is road or trail, hiking or climbing. Areas covered include Britain, the Alps, the Andes, Mexico, the California Coast, the Southern California Mountains, the Bay Area, California forests and woodlands, the Colorado and Mojave deserts, the Pacific Crest Trail, the John Muir Trail, the High Sierra, Death Valley, the Desert Peaks, the Intermountain West, the Southwest, the Rockies and Cascades, Canada and Alaska, New England, the Adirondacks and the Smoky Mountains.
- The Map collection. Topographic map coverage is virtually complete for the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and the California desert. It is extensive but not complete for the Cascades and is sparse for the Rockies. Folding map coverage includes virtually all points of interest in California, Nevada and Arizona, and most destinations in the “rest of the West.” Map coverage for the rest of the nation and world is less complete.
- The Photo collection. We have not systematically collected photographs but we have a significant inventory. These are what would be described as “scenic” or “art” photography and we invite you to add to it if you have outstanding examples of your own or others’ work. Pictures of gatherings at Chapter outings and events properly belong in the archive managed by Chapter historian Bob Cates. If you have such material, we will put you in touch with Bob.
What areas of coverage do we hope to add to the Living Legacy Library?
How to become part of the Living Legacy Library initiative?