The things you find, when you’re not even looking ….

My wife and I have been exploring Washington State University and the surrounding communities this past week. We have been considering relocating and taking jobs at WSU.  Of course, I sought out some fly fishers to get as much information as possible about local fishing (the answer, in short: lots of steel head).

One of the fly fishers with whom I spoke mentioned that the WSU library had one of the largest collections of angling literature in the world. Since I had never heard this before, I was a bit skeptical. So, after a meeting today, I swung by the Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections Department in library.

Sure enough, WSU received 15,000 volumes over the past two years, donated by Joan and Vernon Gallup (no doubt, many of you already knew this). These, as yet, mostly uncatalogued texts will be added to the existing collections of angling and other outdoor literature. I direct you to a news release published by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, since ILAB is such a strong source of information on these matters: “Largest Rare Book Collection ever Donated to Washington State University.” While the Gallups are described in this and other news releases as Spokane residents, my understanding is that the collection may have been housed at their home in Bigfork, Montana.

I was stunned by some of the titles found in WSU’s storage stacks. The number of editions of the The Compleat Angler alone is absolutely staggering. When I woke up this morning I had no idea I would be perusing two first editions (1653) of Izaak Walton’s masterpiece by the end of the day.

Two first editions of The Compleat Angler, on the far left (one rebound and the other in a black clamshell box)

Two first editions of The Compleat Angler, on the far left (one rebound and the other in a black clam-shell box).

2 Responses to “The things you find, when you’re not even looking ….”

  1. cofisher49 Says:

    I love old books and that is really exciting. I’ve got a couple of books from the 1700s but not nearly as cool.


    • Kenov Says:

      Fly fishing books, Howard? They get my focus, though I sometimes come across others I can’t live without. “The Man who Loved Books to Much, (nonfiction), by the way, is a really interesting read.


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