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Guide to the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund Records
BANC MSS 71/296 c  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund Records
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 71/296 c
    Creator: Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund
    Extent: Number of containers: 1 box and 7 cartons Linear feet: 9.15
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    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 Legal Defense Fund Records, BANC MSS 71/296 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Related Collections

    • Title: Sierra Club Records,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 71/103 c
    • Title: Sierra Club Members Papers,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 71/295 c
    • Title: Sierra Club National Legislative Office Records,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 71/289 c
    • Title: Sierra Club Foundation Records,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 89/230 c
    • Title: Sierra Club International Program Records,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 71/290 c
    • Title: Sierra Club Mountain Registers and Records,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 71/293 c
    • Title: Sierra Club California Legislative Office Records,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 91/1 c
    • Title: Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter Records,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 71/291 c
    • Title: Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter Records,
      Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 71/292 c

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    In 1970 the Board of Directors of the Sierra Club voted to place the club's historical records in The Bancroft Library. Among the records subsequently donated were historical files of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund.


    The Sierra Club Records Project was made possible by a major grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

    Administrative History

    The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (SCLDF) was established in San Francisco in 1971, with funding from the Ford Foundation and the Sierra Club Foundation. Sierra Club Legal Committee members Phillip Berry, Donald Harris, Fred Fisher, and Michael McCloskey were instrumental in its creation. James Moorman was its first executive director. It is legally and financially separate from the Sierra Club, able to solicit tax-deductible donations and represent non-Sierra Club clients.
    The young organization immediately became embroiled in a lawsuit, first filed by the Sierra Club in 1969, to prevent the establishment of a major ski resort at Mineral King, California. The decade-long campaign to halt Walt Disney Production's development plans resulted in the addition in 1978 of Mineral King to Sequoia National Park. The courts also granted environmental organizations legal standing to sue to protect public lands, despite their lack of financial interest in the outcome.
    SCLDF has been involved in many other landmark environmental law cases throughout the United States. These include the ongoing campaign against the clearcutting of Admiralty Island, Alaska; and the protection of federal lands in the Western United States against strip mining, coal-fired power plants, and uranium mining. The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund has worked extensively with local Sierra Club chapters and groups on local litigation. In this way, SCLDF's work complements the legislative and grassroots campaigns carried out by the Sierra Club.
    For further information on the history of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, consult Tom Turner's Wild by Law: The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and the Places It Has Saved (Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1990).

    Scope and Content

    The records of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund at The Bancroft Library are incomplete. Included in the collection are agendas, minutes, reports, clippings, financial reports, dockets, new matter forms, notes, and subject files pertaining to SCLDF's Mineral King litigation.
    The files are arranged in two series. Administrative and Operational Files pertain to the functioning of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund itself. The second series, Mineral King Files, deals exclusively with the prosecution of SCLDF's first major case. These Mineral King files are divided into two subseries, the first arranged alphabetically, and the second using a SCLDF-devised numerical code. Except for minor changes (adoption of the Library of Congress-approved subject headings used in all of The Bancroft Library's Sierra Club collections), the original order of the files has been maintained throughout the second series.