William Edward Colby was an attorney, lecturer, Secretary of the Sierra Club for nearly fifty years, and a member of the Yosemite Advisory Board. He was born in Benicia, California in 1875 and attended both the University of California and UC Hastings School of Law (1898). His first work out of university was representing the Sierra Club in the Yosemite Valley. Colby began his conservation work in the early 1890s with the recession of Yosemite Valley, the fight against the Hetch Hetchy water project and the King and Kern River watersheds. As a lawyer he specialized in mining law which conflicted with his conservation interests. Colby was also a lecturer for UC Berkeley's law school and an avid collector of Chinese art. In this interview, Colby discusses his early family history, education, San Francisco and Berkeley, Sierra trips in the 1890s, being secretary and director of the Sierra Club, 1900-46, association with John Muir, work of the State Park Commission, 1927 through Earl Warren's governorship, mining law including cases, Judge Curtis H. Lindley, writing, lecturing, book collecting and Chinese art. Appended is a list of cases in which Colby was counsel, and of legal and conservation articles written by Colby.




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