Although fly fishing has been dated back thousands of years, finding original manuscripts specifically pertaining to the sport from the late 1500s is a sight to behold for fly fishing scholars and fanatics everywhere. Recently, the American Fly Fishing Museum received a collection of such manuscripts from Mr. Charles Thatcher featuring original manuscripts dating back to 1597 and some works that are truly one-of-a-kind. Check out the press release from AMFF about the donation below!
From the American Museum of Fly Fishing:
The American Museum of Fly fishing is pleased to announce that it has received a gift of the angling book collection of Charles Thacher. It is one of the finest and most complete private collections of antiquarian angling books in the U.S. With the addition of this collection, the Museum enhances its position as being America’s leading institution for the study of angling history and traditions.
Mr. Thacher’s collection of nearly 400 volumes was carefully curated, as he acquired primarily older books, published in the 1800s and earlier, and everything is in fine condition. The earliest volume was published in 1597, while 31 books were published in the 1600s, and another 51 in the 1700s. Some of these books were believed to be the only copies existing in private hands.
The AMFF’s mission includes being the steward of the history, traditions, and practices of the sport of fly fishing. The Thacher collection fits the mission perfectly, as it includes many books that will enhance our knowledge of the evolution of fly-fishing techniques and traditions, and offers angling researchers and writers a treasure trove of new materials to examine. For example, there are over a dozen books that display tied flies, including four published between 1814 and 1842 that have nearly 200 flies that are among the oldest that exists. Scholars and collectors interested in the advancement of rods, reels, and other equipment will find hundreds of illustrations and descriptions of what was in use from the earliest times. We are extremely thankful to Mr. Thacher for his extraordinary gift and look forward to sharing more details of the collection in the future with our members and the angling public.
In the meantime, please browse the complete list of titles, and let us know when you’re ready to schedule time in the Gardner L. Grant Library.