The Archives of Falconry contains the most comprehensive English-language falconry library in the world. The Archives includes falconry books, articles and essays, manuscripts, equipment, memorabilia, art, field notes, and a substantial media collection on the ancient sport of falconry. Modern falconers were instrumental in organizing the successful recovery effort of the once-endangered Peregrine Falcon.
The collection and preservation of falconry-related materials is the priority of The Archives and nearly 100 accessions from individuals and clubs were added this past year. Each contribution is attributed to the donor and may contain multiple items. Accessions over the years have an appraised value of $2,250,000.
Each year an auction of duplicate books is held to raise funds for the operations of the Archives. Falconers often contribute items for sale, such as books and art, specifically for this purpose in addition to their financial support. This sale contributes approximately $7,000 for the annual operation and has raised $150,000.
The addition of the Sheikh Zayed Arab Falconry Heritage Wing in 2006 has greatly increased the number of visitors to the Archives. The wing doubled the size of the Archives and twice-daily tours are conducted by the Velma Morrison Interpretive Center staff and volunteers. This stunning display juxtaposes the heritage of one of the oldest falconry cultures with our own American heritage — one of the youngest. The interactive displays catch the visitor’s interest and help interpret the falconer’s role in conserving birds of prey — a goal of The Archives of Falconry.
Our Heritage newsletter, formerly an annual publication, has been expanded to quarterly e-newsletters to provide more information on a timely basis. It is emailed to more than 1,600 regular supporters. Individuals may request to receive the newsletter by providing their email address to the Archives Administrator at email@example.com.
Online social networking is a new way for individuals to interact with each other as well as with an organization. The Archives of Falconry developed its Facebook page last year and has attracted nearly 2,500 fans from all over the world. David Wells, the Archives administrator, posts photographs of our facility and its collections on a regular basis and receives favorable comments each time. Our goal is to visually interpret the materials in the collections to a worldwide audience and have them become future supporters.
The Wall of Remembrance was dedicated in March 2007 as a way for falconers to remember their falconer friends in a place that honors the passion that they once shared for falconry. A time to remember them is held during the annual Rendezvous each March. Their friends are allowed time to recall memories of days gone by and friendships shared. The falconers remembered in 2012 were Chad Hunter Cyrus, Donald J. Grisco, Ron Hartley, Glenn Milton Hicks, Walter Clay Hill II, Robert Matthew Klimes, J. Lindsay Oaks, Douglas Ray Scott, Henry Tyler Swain, Barrie D. Watson, and James L. “Jim” Willmarth, bringing the total to date to seventy-seven remembered falconers.
The Archives is very fortunate to have falconer Bob Collins in a volunteer position as the “On-site Falconer and Legal Advisor.” He is able to accurately portray falconry to general visitors, but more importantly interprets the significance of The Archives to visiting falconers. Bob’s experiences as a lawyer have already aided the Archives with some legal questions related to Archives’ affairs. Perhaps the most immediate impact Bob has had is in the development of the Book of Remembrance — an ongoing project.
The Book of Remembrance is a written and visual story of the falconers whose names have been placed on the Wall. Gathering photographs and writing biographies had been a great challenge as many of those remembered passed away years ago. Bob’s many years of falconry experience acquainted him with many of them and he has been able to locate old photographs as well as biographical information, so that those who read the Book may more fully appreciate those falconers. The Book of Remembrance celebrates their individual contributions to falconry and conservation of birds of prey.
On March 3, 2012, the Archives celebrated its Annual Spring Rendezvous with more than 165 people attending and featuring a special art exhibition by falconer/artist Robert Katona, representing a lifetime of his art. The newly constructed Legacy Circle was dedicated in memory of Chad Hunter Cyrus and the basalt columns unveiled by Sunnie Shea and project donors, Pete and Lucy Widener. The Legacy Circle recognizes living donors and their families who contribute, or plan to contribute, significant material support to The Archives of Falconry.
Special emphasis is being placed on the development and growth of the Archives Heritage Fund (formerly called the endowment fund). This fund recognizes those who make personal gifts or make provisions for an estate gift to the Archives. The Heritage Fund currently provides for nearly half of the annual operating expenses but needs to reach 90% to effectively ensure the long-term future of the Archives. To accomplish this, our Heritage Fund will have to double from its current value of $1 million to $2 million over the next five years.
The fourth volume in the Archives Heritage Series was published in 2011: Bibliotheca Accipitraria II by author/curator John R. Swift. This significant reference work is the culmination of nearly thirty years of his work, collecting information on all relevant English-language falconry publications from the years 1486 to 2000. The annotated bibliography lists 615 citations and includes anecdotal comments about the authors and their works. Photographs of many rare books at the Archives are also depicted in the volume. The book is available for purchase by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Goals of The Archives of Falconry are to collect, preserve and make accessible the physical evidence of falconers' achievements worldwide and to document their role in raptor conservation.
Falconers have played a significant role in our understanding of raptor biology and raptor conservation. As American falconers realized that the physical evidence of their history was being lost as early practitioners passed away, The Peregrine Fund founded the Archives of American Falconry in 1986. Donated materials reflected the international origins of American falconry and, with the new millennium, we changed the name to The Archives of Falconry (TAF).