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William E. Colby Memorial Library

Traditional Collections

Books and periodicals | Historic photographs | Fine art

Books and periodicals

Colby Library Mountaineering RoomWith some 11,000 books and 300 periodicals, the Colby Library's collection currently reflects over one hundred years of Sierra Club history. It is especially strong in the areas of conservation, environmental policy and politics, and natural history. Included is one of the finest collections of mountaineering journals and literature available.

The visitor will also find a complete selection of Sierra Club publications: books, reports, national issue newsletters, videos, oral histories, as well as the Sierra Club's magazine, SIERRA, with its predecessor the Sierra Club Bulletin, in bound volumes from 1893 to the present. Historic maps and memorabilia relating to early Club activities can also be found.

Colby Library networks with other libraries through the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). Through OCLC, our collection information is available to the national and international library community.

Search the catalog of books and periodicals.


Historic Photographs

Historic photo by Edward T. Parsons. Colby Library CollectionOur collection includes over 20,000 photographs and slides collected or donated to our Library over the years. Many of these are black and white photographs of Sierra Club outings in the early 1900s, which provide an inspiring and entertaining view of the Club's early days. Researchers may make an appointment to view photos here in the Colby Library. However, those interested in obtaining copies of photographs from this collection should contact the pictorial collections at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California. Our historic photographs are included in the Sierra Club archives, which are housed there.

Note: Our collection does not include the photographs that you see in Sierra Club Books and Calendars. These published photographs remain the property of the contributing photographers.


Fine Art

David Brower in front of Thomas Hill paintingThe Colby Library is caretaker for the Sierra Club's fine art collection. This collection which began with a few works of art belonging to early Club members, has grown over the years through occasional donations of paintings, photographs, and fine prints. Of special note in the collection are works by early California painters Thomas Hill and William Keith, and works by photographers Vittorio Sella and Ansel Adams.

A recent addition is a collection of fine art photographic prints by award-winning photographers. These photographers are recipients of the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography awarded from 1971 to the present.

These art works can be viewed at the Club's San Francisco headquarters.


Photos: Colby Library Mountaineering Room. Sierra Club Collection; all rights reserved.
Historic photo by Edward T. Parsons. Colby Library Collection; all rights reserved.
David Brower in front of Thomas Hill painting. Colby Library Collection; all rights reserved.


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