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Sierra Club pictorial collections
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Sierra Club pictorial collections
    Dates: circa 1861-circa 1984
    Collection Number: Call number varies
    Creator/Collector: Sierra Club
    Extent: approximately 44,500 pictures (chiefly photographic prints)
    Repository: UC Berkeley. Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: The Sierra Club photographs and other pictorial materials consist of more than 44,500 images, chiefly photographic prints, picturing wilderness areas in California and the American West. Many document wilderness outing groups from the San Francisco Chapter of the Sierra Club and include landscapes, camp and trail scenes, snapshot portraits and group portraits, etc.
    Language of Material: English


    Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog. Portions of the Sierra Club pictorial collections remain unarranged and unavailable for use. Please consult the library's online catalog for details. ALBUMS RESTRICTED due to FRAGILITY: Staff review required prior to use. Ansel Adams albums RESTRICTED. Use only with permission of the appropriate curator. Inquiries concerning these items should be submitted to The Bancroft Library via the Application for Access to Restricted Materials form.

    Publication Rights

    Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.

    Preferred Citation

    Sierra Club pictorial collections. UC Berkeley. Bancroft Library

    Acquisition Information

    Some portions received as part of the Sierra Club collection from the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club. Additions of members' albums and photographs were made by The Bancroft Library, and these were generally received from the individuals who compiled them, or their families.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Sierra Club photographs and other pictorial materials consist of more than 44,500 images, chiefly photographic prints, picturing wilderness areas in California and the American West. Many document wilderness outing groups from the San Francisco Chapter of the Sierra Club and include landscapes, camp and trail scenes, snapshot portraits and group portraits, etc. The materials have come to The Bancroft Library in many increments over the years, both as direct gifts of photographs and photographic collections from the Sierra Club and as gifts from individual members or descendants of members, with the understanding that the materials be regarded as adjuncts to the Sierra Club collection. Views in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California predominate, but also pictured are the Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington), the American desert West and Southwest (chiefly Nevada, Arizona, and Utah), the Canadian west (chiefly British Columbia), and Colorado. A small number of views from abroad are present, including Mexican desert regions and a significant set of enlargements from the Swiss and Italian Alps by Vittorio Sella. Outing albums are the largest body of material indexed in this guide. They consist of “official” and personal albums kept for Sierra Club outings, personal outings albums kept by Sierra Club members on informal outings, and albums kept by the Sierra Club for their members use in planning outings, or given to the Sierra Club by related organizations for their members’ enjoyment and use. In addition to the more than 300 original photo albums, this series contains nearly 200 albums (binders) assembled by the Sierra Club Project staff. These contain images related to a specific trip and thought to be the work of a specific individual or individuals, although not always named; albums disassembled by previous owners or curators; and identified clusters of images found originally among miscellaneous and unsorted photographs. The albums have been assigned the accession number "BANC PIC 1971.031", followed by the year of the outing depicted, plus a sequential number to differentiate among multiple albums from a given year. (For example, "BANC PIC 1971.031.1920.02" would be the second album accessioned documenting outing(s) of 1920. The most photographically significant of these albums are those volumes compiled by Ansel Adams and placed at the Sierra Club. They date from 1920, 1923, 1925, 1927-1936, 1939, and 1945. Many contain typescript price lists and instructions for members on how to order prints from Adams. These albums contain approximately 1,848 photographic prints by Adams. Other prints by him are found in various places in this collection, and his name is indexed as a photographer within the guide. Another significant group of albums are those with photographs by Joseph N. LeConte taken in 1908 and printed later by Ansel Adams. In addition to albums, the Sierra Club collection includes sub-collections of material by specific named photographera, compilers, or artists; material assembled for publication projects of the Sierra Club; images produced for publication or in sets by other organizations (usually by commercial artists, publishers, government agencies, etc.); and miscellaneous images, including panoramic photographs and lantern slides, not clearly relating to any of the categories listed above. Among the most significant sub-collection are 19th century mammoth plate photographs of Yosemite by Caleton E. Watkins (BANC PIC 1973.057) and by Eadweard Muybridge (BANC PIC 1973.058). These sets were formerly in the Sierra Club Library in San Francisco. Each set has been cataloged separately, as well as being represented in this collection listing. Other professional photographers with work present in the Sierra Club collection include Asahel Curtis, Philip Hyde, the Pillsbury Picture Co., I.W. Taber, and Cedric Wright. Photographs by countless member photographers are present (and indexed in this guide when identified), with significant quantities by William F. Bade, H.E. Bailey, Harold C. Bradley, Philip Sidney Carlton, Nathan C. Clark, Clinton C. Clarke, Norman Clyde, William E. Colby, Francis P. Farquhar, Marjory Bridge Farquhar, Francis M. Futlz, Herbert W. Gleason, Rodney L. Glisan, Walter L. Huber, Oliver Kehrlein, George R. King, Joseph N. LeConte, Richard M. Leonard, Frank H. Lewis, Robert L. Lipman, Ynes Mexia, Charles W. Michael, Edward T. Parsons, Marion Randall Parsons, Herbert P. Rankin, James Rennie, James E. Rother, C.O. Schneider, Theodore S. Solomons, and George J. Young. Notes on Processing and Description: Processed portions of the Sierra Club collections were arranged, item-numbered, and described in the late 1980s as part of the Bancroft Library Sierra Club Project. Some larger sub-collections (for example, the Cedric Wright photographs, or other collections containing many negatives) were not processed completely. This guide was extracted from three separate databases created to index the collection. Indexing terms for geographic location and personal names are extensive. Description of individual pictures is, however, minimal or entirely absent. This guide encompasses more than 600 individual collections, and each collection is identified by a unique accession number in The Bancroft Library. Each collection has been described in this guide in accession number order, and each description includes standardized elements and a notes section. Each numeric accession number is followed by upper case letters that reflect material size and format, and therefore storage location. (These letter designations are not always repeated in the index listings.) Personal names for individuals, both of creators and persons depicted, were obtained directly from the prints or items or the containers in which they were found or were attributed, using the acquisitions records held by the Library. In the cases where an identification has been attributed by the Sierra Club Project staff, brackets [ ] follow the listing (for proper filing). All personal names have been checked for authorized form on the UC GLADIS system, with preliminary research done in the Sierra Club Bulletin and its indices, and in the rosters from Sierra Club outings. Likewise, names of locations have also been checked for accuracy of form by using Peter Browning's Place Names of the Sierra Nevada (1986) and Gudde's Place Names of California (1949). Once an accurate place name was determined from these sources, it was verified against the USGS listings or GLADIS. In the cases of disagreement of form between the primary printed sources, the USGS name was used as authority; unfortunately, USGS related only to names in current, not historical, usage. For the relatively few instances of geographical names found in GLADIS (with OCLC or RLIN as a source), the GLADIS term in its entirety was accepted, with the Sierra Club Project occasionally supplying the state designation if none was present. When no match or near match was made with any of the sources checked, the caption on the image itself was taken as a source. Subject terms are primarily from the LC Thesaurus for Graphic Materials, with additional terms, as needed, from LCSH. We have not included any subject entries for those activities one would expect to find in most Sierra Club photograph, i.e., hiking, camping, outdoor cookery, trees, mountains, or women.

    Indexing Terms

    Wilderness areas -- West (U.S.) -- Photographs
    Backpacking -- Photographs
    Camping -- Photographs
    Mountaineering -- Photographs
    Outdoor life -- Photographs
    Outdoor recreation -- Photographs
    Wilderness areas -- California -- Photographs
    Conservation of natural resources -- United States
    Sierra Club -- Pictorial works
    Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.) -- Pictorial works
    Photograph albums

    Additional collection guides