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Best canoe literature library?

Discussion in 'Books, Videos, and the Like' started by mccloud, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    Just out of curiosity, which library in the US or Canada has the biggest, best, most complete holdings of canoe-related literature, including books, videos, trip reports, maps, primary sources, etc. etc. Is there a library which actively tries to acquire, for example, old b&w 8mm home movies so that they can be preserved, and serve to document the history of canoe travel? When one is looking for an answer to some arcane minor fact related to canoes and canoeing, it would be nice to be able to go to a primary source. Where is that source? The Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough? The Antique Boat Museum in Clayton? The Adirondacks Museum at Blue Mountain Lake? Where else? Tom McCloud
  2. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    I suspect the best collections are in private hands.

    Due to the rarity of much of this material, you'd probably have to consider all repositories collectively.
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The Canadian Canoe Museum at and the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum at are the only two institutions with collecting policies that are specifically focused on canoes that I know about. (Many years ago the WCHA's board of directors decided to avoid managing any tangible archives.) There are a broad variety of sources for materials related to canoes so the most appropriate one will probably depend on the specific question that you are seeking to answer.

    I agree with Dan that the best collections tend to be in private hands. This was especially clear when Dan and I started seeking out old canoe company catalogs, build records, and other information to scan for the collections listed at in the WCHA store. My original assumption was that museums would have the best collections, care, and willingness to share their materials. It soon became obvious that in most cases the private collectors were far ahead of the institutions on all of these points. It took over a decade to get permission from the Maine State Museum to distribute electronic copies of their Kennebec Canoe Company build records in this WCHA forum for example. It took less than ten seconds for the Old Town Canoe Company to approve a similar request for comparison.

    I have pondered a related question when building my personal collection of things related to the Old Town Canoe Company. There will come a time when I need to find a new home for this archive. My current feeling is that an interested individual will probably be a better steward than an institutional option. I am curious to know how others feel about this and if someone has a better answer.

    Last edited: Nov 12, 2015
  4. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    I've had the same thoughts as Benson regarding the Morris material I've collected. It also seems to me that an individual person with an interest in the subject matter will maintain the material intact and add to it-- and will KNOW it to a greater degree than a museum, where curators come and go and things get deaccessed.

    Anyone desiring primary source information could post in these Forums and learn who they might turn to.

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