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Sierra Club Office of the Executive Director Records
BANC MSS 2002/230 c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Sierra Club Organizational History
  • Biography of David Ross Brower, Executive Director 1952-1969
  • Biography of Michael L. Fischer, Executive Director 1987-1992
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Sierra Club Office of the Executive Director records,
    Date (inclusive): 1933-1994
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2002/230 c
    Creator: Sierra Club. Executive Director.
    Extent: Number of containers: 14 boxes, 36 cartons, 2 oversize boxes, 24 oversize folders Linear feet: 65.0
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: The Sierra Club Office of the Executive Director Records contain the office files of the Executive Directors and may include correspondence, memos, board and committee minutes, reports and other documents relating to club administration, policy and procedure. The bulk of the collection pertains to the club's Conservation Program and includes information about specific projects as well as research files containing reports and other print materials on related issues.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English.
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Restrictions

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Sierra Club Office of the Executive Director Records, BANC MSS 2002/230 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
    Title: Sierra Club Records,
    Date: BANC MSS 71/103 c
    Title: Sierra Club Members Papers, 1892-[ongoing],
    Date: BANC MSS 71/295 c
    Title: Sierra Club National Legislative Office Records,
    Date: BANC MSS 71/289 c
    Title: Sierra Club Mountain Registers and Records,
    Date: BANC MSS 71/293 c
    Title: Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund Records,
    Date: BANC MSS 71/296 c
    Title: Sierra Club Foundation Records,
    Date: BANC MSS 89/230 c

    Separated Material

    Printed materials have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.
    Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Brower, David Ross, 1912-
    Fischer, Michael L. (Michael Ludwig), 1940-
    Sierra Club. Executive Director--Archives.
    Conservationists--California.
    Conservationists--United States.
    Environmentalists--California.
    Environmentalists--United States.
    Conservation of natural resources--United States--History.
    Conservation of natural resources--California--History.
    Environmental protection--California--History.
    Environmental protection--United States--History.
    Dinosaur National Monument (Colo. and Utah)--History.
    Grand Canyon (Ariz.)--History.
    Photographs.
    Online Archive of California.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Sierra Club Office of the Executive Director Records were given to The Bancroft Library by the Sierra Club. The Bancroft Library is the official repository for the Sierra Club Records. Series 1, David Ross Brower, was donated by David Brower. Series 4 was donated by Michael L. Fischer and the Sierra Club.

    Accruals

    Future additions are expected.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Tanya Hollis, 2004; additions processed by Elizabeth Stephens, 2005.

    Sierra Club Organizational History

    The Sierra Club was founded on May 28, 1892, in the San Francisco office of attorney Warren Olney. In addition to naturalist and author John Muir, the 182 charter members included artists, scientists, university professors, explorers, and cartographers. Their intent, as expressed in the articles of incorporation, was "to explore, enjoy, and render accessible the mountain regions of the Pacific Coast; to publish authentic information concerning them. . .[and] to enlist the support and cooperation of the people and government in preserving the forests and other natural features of the Sierra Nevada."
    The club grew slowly and steadily, with many new members recruited on local walks and the month-long High Trip, led for many years by attorney William E. Colby. A Southern California chapter was formed in 1911, and in 1950 the first chapter outside of the state was incorporated. The position of Executive Director began in 1952, when David Ross Brower was hired for the position.
    One hundred years after its birth, the Sierra Club is an organization of more than 700,000 members, run by a volunteer Board of directors, with chapters in every state and in Canada. In keeping with the club's original mission, hundreds of national and international outings, led by volunteers, take place each year. The club maintains its headquarters in San Francisco, and has regionally-based conservation staff, a national legislative office in Washington, D.C., and a number of state legislative offices. The club also continues to support its publications program, producing Sierra Club Books, calendars and the club's magazine, Sierra.
    Published works on Sierra Club history, which may be of use to the researcher:
    Carr, Patrick, ed. The Sierra Club, A Guide. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1989.
    Cohen, Michael P. The History of the Sierra Club, 1892-1970. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1988.
    Kimball, H. Stewart. History of the Sierra Club Outing Committee, 1901-1972. Sierra Club Outing Committee, 1990.
    Turner, Tom. Sierra Club: 100 Years of Protecting Nature. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., in association with the Sierra Club, 1991.

    Biography of David Ross Brower, Executive Director 1952-1969

    David Ross Brower was born in Berkeley, Calif. July 1, 1912. A life-long wilderness enthusiast, climber and skier, Brower was a Sierra Club member since 1933. He served on the Sierra Club Board of Directors from 1941-1952, then served as the club's first executive director from 1952 to 1969.
    During his tenure, Brower helped guide the Sierra Club's rise to national prominence, building the organization's membership from 2,000 to 77,000 members. Under his direction, the Sierra Club led the effort to pass the Wilderness Act, halted dam construction that would have flooded Dinosaur National Monument, and pushed for the creation of the Kings Canyon, North Cascades, and Redwoods National Parks, and the Point Reyes and Cape Cod National Seashores. Brower also led the Sierra Club into one of its largest campaigns, the fight against proposed dams in the Grand Canyon; the campaign included a series of innovative full-page ads in the New York Times, that many believe led to the loss of the club's tax exempt status.
    From his earliest association with the Sierra Club as the Sierra Club Bulletin editor, Brower pursued an aggressive publishing program at the Sierra Club. He edited and produced numerous club publications, in particular the club's award-winning Exhibit Format Series, which paired writers such as Nancy Newhall, Herman Melville and Robinson Jeffers with photographs by well-known photographers such as Eliot Porter, Ansel Adams, Philip Hyde and Cedric Wright.
    Brower's tenure as executive director ended in 1969, with the Board forcing him to resign after a protracted disagreement with members of the Board about the construction of a nuclear facility at Diablo Canyon, and charges of financial irresponsibility. Soon after Brower left the Sierra Club, he announced the formation of Friends of the Earth; he later went on to form Earth Island Institute in 1982. Brower continued his association with the Sierra Club, however, serving on the Board of Directors at various times during the 1980s and 1990s. After a lifelong commitment to conservation, David Brower died on November 5, 2000, at the age of 88, in Berkeley, Calif.
    Published works on David Brower, which may be of use to the researcher:
    Brower, David R. For Earth's Sake: the Life and Times of David Brower. Layton, Utah: Peregrine Smith Books, 1990.
    Brower, David R. Work in Progress. Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith Books, 1991.
    Brower, David R. and Steve Chapple. Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run: a Call to Those Who Would Save the Earth. [San Francisco, Calif.]: HarperCollins West, 1995.
    David R. Brower  environmental activist, publicist and prophet: an interview, conducted by Susan Schrepfer, 1974-1978. Berkeley: Regional Oral History Office, the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1980.
    McPhee John A. Encounters with the Archdruid. New York: The Noonday Press, 1990, c.1971.

    Biography of Michael L. Fischer, Executive Director 1987-1992

    Michael Ludwig Fischer was born May 29, 1940 in Dubuque, Iowa. He has held a number of environmental leadership posts during his career, beginning as a city planner for the City of Mountain View, California, in 1960. For ten years, he was executive director of the California Coastal Commission; worked with Governor Jerry Brown's Office of Planning and Research.
    Fischer served as executive director of the national Sierra Club for six years. Campaigns included the Arctic and California Desert, and lobbying in Washington, D. C.
    After his tenure at the Sierra Club, Fischer was executive director of the Coastal Conservancy in California, Environment Program Officer for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and an environmental consultant.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Sierra Club Office of the Executive Director Records contain the office files of the Executive Directors of the club. Included are correspondence, memos, board and committee minutes, reports and other documents relating to club administration, policy and procedure. The bulk of the collections pertain to the club's Conservation Program and includes information about specific projects as well as research files containing reports and other print materials on related issues.
    Currently the collection contains two series: David Ross Brower, the club's first executive director from 1952-1969; and Michael L. Fischer, the club's fourth executive director from 1987-1992.