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Environmental Defense Fund Archive
Collection 232


In 1971, just four years after the Environmental Defense Fund's (EDF) incorporation papers were signed, the began to take shape with the donation of a small collection of papers by Robert E. Smolker. Dr. Smolker was a professor of Biological Sciences at Stony Brook University as well as a founding member and Secretary of EDF's Board of Trustees.

During the next few years, Dr. Smolker and Evert Volkerz, former Head of Special Collections, discussed using the Environmental Defense Fund's primary sources to support University academic programs. In 1975, the EDF Archives moved one step closer to fruition with the initiation of a collecting project about environmental groups on Long Island . Because of its roots on Long Island and connections with the University, the EDF Archives became the cornerstone of this project.

In 1976, Dr. Smolker advocated for the donation of the EDF's Executive Committee files to the University. The records transfer began in 1977 and continued throughout the next 15 years. Currently there are office records from New York, California, Colorado, Washington D.C. and Boston. At present, most of the holdings are litigation files and administrative hearings transcripts from the 1970s through the early 1980s, reflecting EDF's original mission using the courts to protect the environment. There are also minutes of Board of Trustees and Executive Committee meetings during 1971-77, providing evidence of managerial discussion and decision making.

In 2001, Stony Brook University and the Stony Brook Foundation executed a Memorandum of Understanding with EDF. The document formally named Special Collections at Stony Brook University as the official repository for the collection and provided that EDF support a project archivist to process the archival collection.

Sections F and G of the Memorandum of Understanding states the purpose of the archive:

The Environmental Defense Archival Collection will consist of documents (published and unpublished); board minutes; court proceedings; legislation; periodicals; books and all other archival material relating to the history, growth and future of the Environmental Defense.

The responsibility of the Library is to make these materials available as a resource to be used.

by the community--including students, scholars, environmental groups, media and governmental agencies. The Library agrees that this material will be made available according to the established procedures of the library.

Additional donations to the archive were provided by Art Cooley, Robert Smolker, Charles Wurster, the family of Dennis Puleston, and Ernst Habicht.

In August 2009, the processing of the EDF Archives at Stony Brook University was completed by project archivist Meredith Bouchard. Additional material may be forwarded to the university in the future. Although Special Collections has archived some current files, researchers interested in records created during the 1990s through 2002 will need to contact the Environmental Defense Fund at for further information .

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