MISSOULA - The Boone and Crockett Club has donated its historic files, letters and photographs to the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library at the University of Montana.
UM archivist Donna McCrea said the University library has sought the prestigious collection since the Boone and Crockett Club moved its headquarters from Virginia to Missoula in 1993.
“This is a collection of national significance, and we’re proud the club chose to place their records at UM,” McCrea said.
According to Boone and Crockett historian Leonard Wurman, UM was chosen after the club researched a number of nationally known archival institutions.
“(We were) delighted to find the one we wanted right in our own backyard in Missoula," Wurman said. "It is important to the club that these materials be easily available to those researching America’s conservation history.”
McCrea and her staff intend to move more than 150 boxes of material this week from the club headquarters at the Old Milwaukee Railroad Depot building to the library’s archives and special collections.
Materials will be placed in acid-free boxes Wednesday and Thursday, with the actual move taking place Friday.
“I haven’t seen the collection yet, but there should be some really amazing stuff in there,” McCrea said. “Part of the reason they are turning things over to us is to really find out what they have. It’s a big collection, and it may take us a year to really go through it and get it fully organized and cataloged.”
This collection not only represents the history of the Boone and Crockett Club, but also the history of the conservation movement itself,” said Tony Schoonen, the club’s chief of staff. “Not only will this cherished collection remain close to home but it also will be open to those who want to learn about an integral and important part of this nation’s history.”
The club was founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt and a handful of friends to address declines in wildlife populations on a national scale. It was the first hunter-conservationist organization of its kind.
Since its founding, the club has been involved in almost every major conservation effort in North America, including the expansion and protection of Yellowstone National Park, the passage of the Migratory Bird Act and the establishment of the federal wildlife refuge system, including the National Bison Range in 1908.
The club also maintains the hunting records of native North American big game as a vital conservation record in assessing the success of wildlife management programs across the continent.
This donation of archival materials is not the first time the Boone and Crockett Club has partnered with UM.
In 1992 the organization established an endowed chair in wildlife biology at the university to teach classes and conduct research at the Missoula campus and the club’s 6,000-acre Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch near Dupuyer.
Since that time the UM model has been used to established similar endowed chairs at other universities around the nation.