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William E. Colby

William Colby 1875-1964  
  • William E. Colby was an attorney who specialized in mining and water law.
  • He joined the Sierra Club 1898, was its third president (after John Muir and Joseph N. LeConte), and served as its secretary from 1900 to 1946.
  • In 1898, just out of law school, he served as the Club's representative at the Yosemite Valley's first visitor and information center at Adolph Sinning's Cottage, a precursor to the Club's LeConte Memorial Lodge.
  • Colby served for 9 years as chairman and member of the California State Parks Commission, helping to launch the world-renowned California State Park System, the first in the nation.
  • "The Story of the Sierra Club" by William Colby (offsite link) was first writen in 1947 and reprinted in the 1961 edition of the Sierra Club Handbook.
  • He received the Sierra Club's first "John Muir Award," the Club's highest honor for conservation, in 1961.
  • Later, a Sierra Club award in his name was established for significant contributions to the Sierra Club itself, and the Sierra Club's Colby Library was named in his honor.
Photo of William E. Colby by Cedric Wright. courtesy of Colby Library; all rights reserved.

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