A two-year grant project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to make available a range of archival collections relating to environmental movements in the West has enabled The Bancroft Library to process additions to its already significant holdings of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund records.
The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund was established in 1971 in San Francisco as a not-for-profit public interest group dedicated to litigating environmental battles for the Sierra Club and groups and individuals affiliated with the organization. The Fund works with community partners to fight for clean air and water and to protect wilderness and wildlife through litigating cases and preparing friend of the court (amicus curiae) briefs that provide information and expertise on numerous environmental issues. In 1997, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund changed its name to Earthjustice and the group continues to fight cases on environmental issues into the 21st century. The Earthjustice motto, “Because the Earth needs a good lawyer,” has been cited as one of the best non-profit taglines to clearly convey an organization’s solemn mission with emotion and humor.
The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund records additions range from 1967 to 1995 and include environmental litigation cases from more than 30 states and the District of Columbia as well as amicus briefs for numerous cases, including some for the Supreme Court of the United States. A leading repository for the documentation of U.S. environmental movements, The Bancroft Library is home to the records of many significant environmental organizations and the papers of a range of environmental activists.