Central Michigan University is fortunate to have the Reed Draper Collection of Angling Books in the Clarke Historical Library. In thinking about the importance of such a collection, it is significant that the most renowned angling collections in the country are found at some of America's foremost universities including Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Significant collections are also to be found at universities such as Northwestern, New Hampshire, California at Fullerton, Montana, and in Canada at British Columbia. The size and scope of the Reed Draper collection places it among the most outstanding assemblies of such works available to scholars in the midwestern United States.
Angling collections are sometimes accused of having a very narrow scope. This, however, is not true. Angling-book collections find applications in many academic fields. Given their historical origins, angling books are tied closely to English literature. There are direct relationships between these works and the disciplines of conservation, ichthyology, entomology, stream and lake management, and the general field of recreation. In addition, scholars will find that given the historical nature of many of the works in the Reed Draper Collection, early exploration, settlement, travel, and cultural topics are also revealed. Academics as well the general public will find much that is rewarding in these volumes. Whether readers are perusing works by Izaak Walton or Robert Traver, they will learn not only how to catch fish but also may explore many of the values and experiences of everyday life.
Although an angling collection has numerous uses, this catalog and the exhibit it accompanies celebrate "fishing with an angle" and emphasize the development of fly-fishing and its place in the streams of Michigan.