The Foundation’s 24,000 volume library includes a rare book collection consisting of books dating back to as early as the 1600’s. It also includes many older periodicals and journals including a complete set of the journal Audubon. Many early volumes of scientific journals are available on our shelves, but because of the current online access to most journals and books, we are phasing out purchase of hard copies of scientific journals. The library has its own electronic retrieval system, and visitors may use the library by appointment from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
Our library was established by the Foundation’s first director, Dr. Clarence Cottam. His last position before assuming the role of Welder Foundation director was that of Assistant Chief of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A 25-year employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cottam knew many prominent individuals in the early conservation movement. Upon leaving Washington, D.C. he asked his close friends and colleagues to consider leaving their personal library collections to the Welder Foundation. As a result of Dr. Cottam’s requests, Drs. Alexander Wetmore, T. S. Palmer, Luther L. Baumgartner, and Arnold L. Nelson, and Mrs. C. R. Guthemuth, Raymond P. Holden, and J. S. Wade willed their personal libraries to the Foundation. The largest contribution was that of Dr. Alexander Wetmore, which included approximately 5,000 volumes. These donations, plus Dr. Cottam’s own library, include many of the original works in the field of conservation, as well as serial journals, some of which date back to first issues published in the 1800s.