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Outdoor Recreation Archive: Manuscripts & Photographs

USU Special Collections and Archives materials related to outdoor gear and outdoor recreation.


The Outdoor Recreation Archive includes collections of business and professional papers created by pioneering industry figures and product designers. You can view any of these materials by visiting the Special Collections Reading Room. If you are unable to visit our Reading Room, many materials can be digitized for a fee. The fee schedule can be viewed here.

Click on the collection title to view an inventory of the collection.

List of Manuscript Collections

Michael Hodgson and Therese Iknoian outdoor industry collection

This collection includes outdoor industry and recreation material, including Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America (ORCA), Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), and Outdoor Retailer records dating from 1991 to 2015.

Robert E. Gillis papers and photographs

This collection contains patent documents related to Robert (Bob) E. Gillis and his inventions, including the Oval Intention, the Grip Clip™ tarp and Grip Clip™ tent fasteners, dating from 1975 to 2010.

Wilderness Experience records

This collection contains business records and promotional materials from Wilderness Experience co-founder Jim Thomsen, dating from 1971 to 1983.

Debra Whitted papers

This collection contains materials dating from 1979 to 1988 that Whitted collected while working at Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI).

Beaver Thodosakis papers

This collection dating from 1996 to 2004 contains largely promotional materials from prAna, a brand created in 1992 by Beaver and Pam Theodosakis.

Mark Erickson papers

This collection contains papers related to finance, design, and production at The North Face, where Mark Erickson was an early employee. The materials, which date from 1968 to 1978, provide insight into early operations at the company, particularly in the realm of tent design.

Bruce Johnson papers

This collection contains materials related to Frostline Kits and Stephenson’s Warmlite dating from 1958 to 2019 that were created and collected by Bruce Johnson, a writer and compiler of outdoor gear history.

Bruce Hamilton papers

This collection contains documents pertaining to The North Face from the late 1960s to the 1990s, including information about the Oval Intention, Buckminster Fuller, the 1990 International Trans-Antarctica Expedition, as well as The North Face financial records, media articles, and product planning documents.

Outdoor Sewing Patterns and Kits Collection

This collection contains patterns, textiles, sewing materials, and sewing instructions from do-it-yourself outdoor gear companies such as Altra Kits, Frostline Kits, and Green Pepper Inc.

Murray Pletz papers

The collection consists of materials related to JanSport created and collected by the brand's designer Murray Pletz from 1968 to 1991. The materials include original design sketches of clothing and bags, textile swatches, early JanSport logo designs, magazine clippings related to JanSport, and other materials.

Moss Tent Works records and photographs

Bill Moss was a fabric artist and designer who founded Moss Tent Works with his former wife and business partner, Marilyn, in 1975. The Bill and Marilyn Moss collection includes business records, photographs, videos, publicity materials, catalogs, patents, correspondence, original artwork, and legal papers related to Moss Tents and other business interests.

Ann and Gerry Cunningham papers

Gerry and Ann Cunningham founded Gerry Mountaineering Equipment in 1946. This collection contains early writings and promotional materials produced by the company, as well as a folder of material about Gerry's sale to Outdoor Sports Industries, Inc. Also included are material from Gerry's later interest in sailing, including Blockits materials and guides to the Sea of Cortez.

Scott Datwyler papers

Scott Datwyler was an outdoor enthusiast and owner of The Trailhead, an outdoor store in Logan, Utah. His collection dates from 1965 to 2015 and includes business records as well as materials from various local outdoor activities.

Jeff Lowe papers

Jeff Lowe was an alpinist from Ogden, Utah known for popularizing ice climbing in the United States. His collection contains materials from his companies Latok and Cloudwalker, as well as various climbing festivals and his ascent of Pakistan's Nameless Tower. They date from roughly 1980 to 2010.

Laura Miera papers

The Laura Miera Papers contain records from 1975 to 2017 pertaining to the early history and production of the outdoor company Marmot. Laura served as Marmot's Vice President of Technical Product Development from 2007 until her retirement in 2016.

Road Runners Club of America records and photographs

Founded in 1958, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is the oldest and largest distance running organization in the United States, with over 1,500 running club and event members representing 200,000 individual runners active in their running communities. This collection is composed of Road Runners Club of America papers and records, providing a sampling of administrative records and resources for runners.

Mike Valvano outdoor catalogs and product guides

Mike Valvano is a brand strategy consultant, who helped with branding and marketing for multiple outdoor brands. This collection is composed of outdoor catalogs and product guides from a variety of companies, dating from 1991 to 2007.