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The Green Life: The Sierra Club's Written History Gets Digitized

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February 15, 2011

The Sierra Club's Written History Gets Digitized

Convict Lake The Sierra Club has always made communication with its members a priority. The first Sierra Club Bulletin was published in 1893, and some version of this compilation of outdoor-adventure tales and news about America’s most pressing environmental issues has existed ever since.

The Club made the transition from the original journal-like format to the more engaging magazine in 1978 and hasn’t looked back — Sierra now has more than a million readers.  

Recently, the Sierra Club’s Colby Library partnered with the nonprofit Internet Archive to digitize the oldest Bulletins for easy public perusal. Reading through these archives is a total trip: Volume XI (1920-23) crows that the number of visitors to all national parks and monuments “exceeded the million mark” in 1920. (Here's some context: More than 4 million people visited Yosemite just in 2010.)

Read as the first regional chapters develop, accompany John Muir on his legendary treks to Cathedral Peaks and Tuolomne Meadows, and admire some of the earliest photographs of the pristine Sierra Nevada. 

These archived volumes certainly detail the world in a simpler time, but as the years pass, we can see the Club becoming more political, more concerned with the government's environmental choices, and ultimately, a more necessary voice in the movement to protect the landscapes that so inspired its founders. Check out the digitized volumes of the Sierra Club Bulletin (1893-1927) here.

--Zoë J. Sheldon


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