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The Compleat Angler: And Other Meditations on the Art and Philosophy of Fishing, 15th Century to the Present: Mary Roberts Rinehart

The exhibit is located in the Reading Room at Archives & Special Collections, 363 Hillman Library, Spring - Fall 2017.

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Tenting To-Night

Tenting To-Night dust jacket

Dust jacket from Tenting To-Night, [1918]

Tenting  To-Night chronicles  the  backcountry  trip  made  by  Mary  and  Stanley Rinehart and their three sons through Glacier National Park and the Cascade Mountains of Washington State in July and August 1916.  In the North Cascades, Mary describes an adventure  cañon-fishing  near  the  fork  of  Bridge  Creek  in  the  Stehekin  River Valley and her encounter there with a wily trout.

"I have still in mind a deep pool where the water, rushing at tremendous speed over a rocky ledge, fell perhaps fifteen feet. I had fixed my eyes on that pool early in the day, but it  seemed impossible  to  access.    To reach it, it was necessary  again to scale a part  of the cliff, and, clinging to its face, to work one’s way round along a ledge perhaps three inches wide.  When I had once made it, with the aid of friendly hands and a leather  belt,  by  which  I  was  lowered,  I  knew  one  thing---knew  it inevitably.  I was there for life.  Nothing would ever take me back over that ledge.

However, I  was  there, and  there  was  no  use  wasting  time.   For there  were  fish there.  Now and then they jumped.  But they did not take the fly.  The water seethed and boiled, and I stood still and fished, because a slip on that spray-covered ledge and I was gone, to be washed down to Lake Chelan, and lie below sea-level in the Cascade Mountains.  Which might be a glorious sort of tomb, but it did not appeal to me.

I tried different flies with no result.  At last, with a weighted line and a fish’s eye, I got my first fish---the best of the day, and from that time on I forgot the danger.

Some day, armed with every enticement known to the fisherman, I am going back to that river.  For there, under a log, lurks the wiliest trout I have ever encountered.  In full view he stayed during the entire time of my sojourn. He came up to the fly, leaped over it, made faces at it.  Then he would look up at me scornfully.

“Old tricks,” he seemed to say. “Old stuff---not good enough.” I dare say he is still there."

Rinehart, Mary Roberts, (1876-1958).

Tenting To-Night

Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, [1917, 1918].

University Library System - Archives & Special Collections

Women in Angling

There are notable examples of women anglers that have made significant contributions to the literature and sport of angling.   The women included in this exhibit are listed below.

Mary Roberts Rinehart

Portrait of Mary Roberts Rinehart

Frontispiece portrait of Mary Roberts Rinehart in My Story, [1931]

Mary  Roberts  Rinehart  was  a  celebrated  American  mystery  writer  and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  With her two sons, she founded and was the  director  of  the  New  York  publishing  house  Farrar  &  Rinehart  in  1929.    Her books  and  papers  are  located  in  the  Archives & Special  Collections  Department  at  the University of Pittsburgh.  

Mary Roberts Rinehart at Stehekin River waterfall

Cañon-fishing near the fork of Bridge Creek in the Stehekin River Valley, 1916

Rinehart and sons prepare to fish at Stehekin waterfall

Rinehart and sons prepare for cañon-fishing, 1916

Rinehart with tarpon in Keys

Mary at Useppa Island, Florida, with the gold button tarpon, 1929

Close-up of Mary and the tarpon

Mary with shark-bitten tarpon at Useppa Island, Florida, 1929

Photo of Rinehart and family from inside of a tent

Rinehart & family getting ready for the day's fishing at their camp near Bowman Lake at Glacier National Park, Montana, 1916


Papers of Mary Roberts Rinehart, 1831-1994.

University Library System - Mary Roberts Rinehart Collection, Archives & Special Collections

Angling Adventures in the Keys

first page of Gold-Button Fish article in Good Housekeeping

First page of the "The Gold-Button Fish," 1932

In the “The Gold-Button Fish,” Mary writes about her deep-sea  contest  with  a large tarpon and its attack by an eighteen-foot great white shark that occurred during a vacation stay on Useppa Island, off the west coast of Florida in 1929.  Mary was an  avid  angler  and  the  officer  of  the  Izaak  Walton  Club,  which  was  founded  on Useppa Island in 1908.  The Useppa Island Izaak Walton Club is one of the earliest conservation groups established in the United States.

"Then the shark appeared.  He only made things harder, at first; for whereas I  had  hitherto  fought  only  a  tarpon,  I  was  now  fighting  a  tarpon trying  to  escape from an eighteen-foot shark.

Things started all over again.  My spine, which had held up so far, now began to spring; and as I had comparatively recently had another operation, the old question seemed imminent again as to what would give way first.

But I was fighting for my reputation.  Two male members of my family were in the boat, and they had to be shown that mother could hold her fish; even a giant of a fish with a shark after it!  And if I was tiring, so, at last, was the fish.  The shark, however, seemed to be perfectly fresh. I began to pump again, and at last here was the fish beside the boat.

Sam  leaned  over  with  the  release  hook,  and  then  it  happened. Up  came  the shark, the tarpon made a final run of a dozen feet, and then the shark caught him. There was a brief struggle, the water was dyed with blood, and with a last and final effort I dragged in what was left.

That is tarpon fishing."

Rinehart, Mary Roberts, (1876-1958).

"The Gold-Button Fish."

In Good Housekeeping.

August 1932, pp. 38-41, 178-180.

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