Synchronize with the table of contents  INTRODUCTION



The collection came to the Denver Public Library through the gift of the Izaak Walton League of America in 1997.


The collection is open for research except for one folder (FF16) in box 5 and one folder (FF23) in box 36, both of which will become available in 2020.


Literary and copyrights have been assigned to the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


The Izaak Walton League of America Records, CONS41, Conservation Collection, The Denver Public Library.


Number of Boxes: 62

Oversize: 1 Box, 12 folders

Audio-Visual: 2 boxes




Roger L. Dudley

March 2007


Ellen Zazzarino


The Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) was formed in 1922 when fifty-four hunters and fishermen, led by Will H. Dilg, met at the Chicago Athletic Association to discuss their concerns over declining wildlife populations. Named after the 17th century British naturalist, the League is devoted to protecting the resources of the natural environment for the use and benefit of both people and wildlife. As one of the earliest conservation organizations, the League set an aggressive course to defend wild America by changing public policy. Many major successful conservation programs in place today can be traced directly to a League activity or initiative.

Throughout more than three hundred communities, Izaak Walton League of America chapters advance the mission of the Izaak Walton League - restoring watersheds, reducing air pollution and litter, protecting wildlife habitat and open spaces, and instilling conservation ethics in outdoor recreationists.

Today the Izaak Walton League of America Mission Statement reads: To conserve, maintain, protect, and restore the soil, forest, water, and other natural resources of the United States and other lands; to promote means and opportunities for the education of the public with respect to such resources and their enjoyment and wholesome utilization.


The majority of the material in this collection comes from the files of Jack Lorenz, Outdoor America editor and Executive Director, and Maitland Sharpe, Conservation Director, and their associates. Materials range from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, but the bulk of the materials date from the 1960s and 1970s. The collection contains correspondence and other documents from previous executive and conservation directors: Raymond C. Hubley, Jr., Robert Herbst, and J.W. Penfold.

Several significant conservation initiatives are documented in this collection including: Save Our Streams (SOS), Outdoor Ethics, and many of the landmark conservation laws such as the Clean Water Act and The National Water Pollution Control Act. Material comprises correspondence and testimony before congressional committees.

Proposals for action by various state and regional arms of the organization made at yearly conventions are documented, as are the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors and Executive Boards.

Much of this collection is concerned with the treatment and preservation of the public lands in national parks and forests, wilderness areas, streams, and coastlines. Frequently the Izaak Walton League of America was involved in litigation, such as in preventing mining operations in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of northern Minnesota, and controlling strip mining in West Virginia and Kentucky. Many court documents are included, often filed as a friend of the court rather than as a party to the case.

Because of the nature of the Izaak Walton League of America, materials and publications from other organizations, groups, and federal agencies, have been retained in the collection because of the role the documents played in the decisions made by the League on whether or how to proceed on a particular issue.


This series, arranged in chronological order, comprises agendas, meeting notes, minutes, planning documents, schedules, and other items directly related to the activities of the board of directors of the national organization. Other directors' meetings are also included such as the National Directors and National Officers. Reports by the officers to the board are a prominent feature of each board meeting, and are included along with some of the executive officers' statements and testimony before various Congressional committees. Board meetings were typically held four times a year, one of which was in conjunction with the annual convention of the League membership. Resolutions proposed by local or state chapters for consideration at the national convention comprise part of this series. Biographical sketches of board members and candidates for the board comprise a small portion of this series.


Articles of incorporation, as revised in 1948, and biographical information on the staff and officers are part of this series. Some resumes and memorials to founding members, Will Dilg and Preston Bradley are included. Funding applications and proposals to a number of foundations and corporations comprise a significant portion of this series. The reports on the use of benefactors funds give a flavor of the breadth of the projects as well as show what they required of grant recipients.

Information about the staff, their benefits, job duties, salary summaries and reviews are among the items included in this collection as are comparative surveys of salaries in other similar organizations. Organizational charts provide insight into the organization and the collection. Computer needs assessments were conducted beginning in 1983 and repeated for several years before a computer was acquired. Some salary information in FF16 of Box 5 is restricted until 2020.


Chapter records of dues and payments, renewal rates and expenditures are included in the financial part of this series, though the series primarily contains yearly balance sheets and the materials and reports associated with financial matters. Quarterly and yearly statements from the various financial institutions that managed endowment funds, and the interest earned, comprise a significant number of entries in this series. The series, arranged chronologically, concludes with yearly closing documents and auditor adjustments.

Note: Financial records also located in oversize box 1.


These correspondences files are arranged chronologically according to the department in which they were kept or originated. The first portion comprises general correspondence sent from the national office on a wide variety of subjects. Occasionally letters of discussion surround a specific piece of legislation or litigation that the League considered or took an active role in.

This series begins with correspondence of Joseph W. Penfold, whose files date back to the mid 1950s. He was given the National Forest Service's highest civilian honor in 1972, just a year before his death. The correspondence of Robert Herbst during his term as executive director is included. The series includes correspondence of Jack Lorenz during the time he edited the League's primary publication, Outdoor America, and when he succeeded Herbst as the Executive Director of the League.

The other significant correspondences files are those maintained by Conservation Director, Maitland Sharpe. Small subseries on the Chesapeake Bay Conservation Stamp, leadership development and Outdoor America conclude this series.


Information in this series includes chapter director lists, startup tips and activities in many of the chapters. Projects undertaken by various chapters are celebrated as are several of the ideas proposed for adoption by the national body at its yearly convention. Directories and histories of some chapters and divisions are included in this series. Programs and publications related to these units comprise a portion of the series. Information about starting and building a chapter and dealing with the news media are also contained in this chronologically arranged series.

SERIES 6 PUBLIC LANDS 1934-1993 BOX 18-25 :

This series is comprised of information about national forests, national parks, national trails, wilderness areas, wildlife refuge areas, and rangeland and includes both public lands already in place and those which have been proposed. The series is arranged chronologically within the subject areas with an alphabetical listing of specific forests and parks where there is information relating directly to them.

Forest issues include timber related laws and management, prescribed burns, clear cutting, and other issues that result in legislation or litigation such as the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act. Material surrounding the clear cutting controversy in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia is contained here. The Izaak Walton League vs. Butz claimed that clear cutting, as practiced by the U.S. Forest Service, violated the provisions of the Organic Act of 1897. The federal district court in West Virginia sided with the plaintiffs and the decision was upheld in appeals court. Extensive information about the Dingell-Johnson Expansion Fund is available with regard to the fishing and boating concerns. Rangeland management comprises a significant portion of this series including information from the Bureau of Land Management. Of some note is a reaction by Brock Evans of the Sierra Club to what he called an "analysis of the failure of the coalition" when environmental groups failed to get a bill passed in the Senate.


While virtually all of the Izaak Walton League's activities could be considered as conservation oriented, the fact that it had a Director of Conservation led to some duplication of files. Rather than consolidating the files and destroying the provenance established by the League this series stands alone. It is arranged chronologically, beginning with general areas of interest including some of the early conservation measures in the 1950s. This broad information section includes plans for the first Earth Day and subsequent land use policies, followed by information on land use and soil conservation. Issues surrounding pesticides comprise another section of this series, as does a general section on the environment and the economy.

A significant portion of this series deals with coal mining and the effects of strip mining. A related section deals with electricity dating back to the Federal Power Commission of the 1950s and 1960s, which was reorganized into the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 1977. This section contains issues surrounding nuclear power. Documents about oil and oil shale are included here with specific emphasis on oil production, risks and impacts of oil spills, and the environmental costs of trying to unleash the oil trapped in shale deposits in Western Colorado and other areas of the U.S. This series contains a section of environmental education programs, proposals including the "teach-in" which would become Earth Day, and other educational initiatives aimed at waste reduction and recycling.

SERIES 8 WATER RESOURCES 1939-1994 BOX 35-50 :

Chief among the programs in this series is the Save Our Streams (SOS) initiative, which the League advocated for more than two decades. Coupled with Save Our Streams was the continuous pressure for national legislation and attempts to add to the list of water resources protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Also in this series are references to specific lakes and rivers in need of special attention, protection or treatment. These resources are listed alphabetically. Of particular note is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota and the attempts to mine mineral deposits thought to be there. The folder listing the defense fund donors is restricted until 2020.

Channelization and dredging are issues dealt with at some length especially concerning the Upper Mississippi River and the Locks and Dam No. 26. Documents with early alerts to acid rain are found here. Issues about coastal zones are detailed and a thorough treatment of the importance of protecting wetlands form the bulk of this series.

Much of this series is devoted to issues surrounding water pollution which lead to the Citizens Guide to Clean Water published by the League in 1979 and updated in 1982. The most extensive documentation in this series surrounds the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, Public Law 84-660. Included along with drafts of the legislation itself and proposed amendments are studies, testimony, investigations and guidelines relating to the Act.

SERIES 9 ORGANIZATIONS 1964-1981 BOX 51-52 :

Environmental, sport, recreation and other activities are represented in the series including national and international groups. Groups represented are: American Angler's Association; American Committee for International Wild Life Protection; Bass Caster's Association; Committee on Atlantic Salmon Emergency; Conservation Education Association; Alliance for Environmental Education; Environmental Agenda Task Force; Federation of Fly Fishermen; International Association of Game, Fish and Conservation Commissioners; International Union for Conservation of Nature; Future Homemakers of America; Land and Water Conservation Fund; National School of Conservation; National Trappers Association; National Watershed Congress; National Wildlife Federation; National Resources Council of America; National Resources Defense Council; Nature Conservancy; North American Atlantic Salmon Council; North American Wildlife Conference; Outdoor Nation; People's Power Policy Coalition; Sierra Club; Society of American Foresters; Sport Fishing Institute; Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning Waterfowl Advisory Committee; Wilderness Society; Wildlife Management Institute; and Young Adults for Resources and the Environment. Materials include: publications, papers, articles, conference reports and programs, correspondence, news releases, lawsuits, policy statements, organization charts, meeting minutes, flyers, testimony, and speeches.

SERIES 10 OUTDOOR ETHICS 1922-1992 BOX 53-59 :

Jack Lorenz and the League spearheaded the concept of ethical outdoor behavior and ethical treatment of the land and its inhabitants. Thus the hunter ethics and outdoor ethics movement was developed to improve the image of the hunter and other sports enthusiasts. Grants were a key to the broad appeal of this effort and the impact is reflected in this rich series that has as its centerpiece an international outdoor ethics conference held in 1987, which featured presenters and participants from around the world. Included are transcripts of many of the speeches and workshop summaries, along with audio tapes of some of them (in AV box 2). The published proceedings are present here too. This series concludes with a survey of American hunters and features state by state tabulation with the completed surveys arranged by state. A sample form is also included.

SERIES 11 LITIGATION 1964-1980 BOX 59-62 :

Litigation series contains some materials which can be found elsewhere in the collection filed with the papers of an officer or department. The litigation files are retained in the original order as arranged and used by the League. Such topics as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Garrison Diversion Project, DDT, and other conservation issues are documented. These files are arranged alphabetically by topic after some non-specific items listing attorney contacts, an environmental court consideration and other matters. Litigation request forms, filled out by the local chapter then sent to the national office are included. The forms indicate any other parties involved, and other specifics of the issue. Not all of the requests were agreed to by the national officers and not all of the cases went to court.

SERIES 12 AUDIO VISUAL 1981-1992 BOX 1-2 :

This series contains a silent 16mm work print motion picture film of Colorado's Front Range Chapter of the Izaak Walton League called The Working Waltonians which runs just over 16 minutes. Also included is a reel-to-reel audio tape of Joseph W. Penfold recalling the early days of the conservation movement, and a transcript. An audio cassette of a 1980 Izaak Walton League of America Chicago Convention keynote speech by Thomas Kimball is in this series. Nine audio cassettes of the speeches and workshops held at the 1987 International Outdoor Ethics Conference comprise the balance of the series.

SERIES 13 OVERSIZE 1981-1992 OVBOX 1 :

One oversize box of financial ledgers, spreadsheets and cash receipts constitutes the balance of the financial records found in series 3.



  • Izaak Walton League of America -- Archives.
  • Lorenz, Jack.
  • Sharpe, Maitland.
  • Penfold, Joseph W.
  • Herbst, Robert L., d 1935-
  • Hubley, Raymond C.
  • United States. Bureau of Land Management.
  • United States. Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
  • Save Our Streams Program.
  • International Conference on Outdoor Ethics (1987: Lake Ozark, Mo.)
  • Wilderness areas -- United States.
  • Range management -- United States.
  • Public lands -- United States.
  • Land use -- United States.
  • Environmental protection -- United States.
  • Grazing districts -- United States.
  • Hunting -- United States.
  • Soil conservation -- United States.
  • Fishing -- United States.
  • Locks (Hydraulic engineering) -- Mississippi River.
  • Wild and scenic rivers -- United States
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Minn.)
  • Mississippi River.