Check it out

The American Alpine Club Library isn’t just home to historic mountaineering ephemera but also maintains thousands of circulating items. As AAC members you have access to these items by logging into your library profile at: booksearch.americanalpineclub.org and requesting them through the “Get It Now!” feature. Books will be mailed to the mailing address you have on file (so make sure it’s current), all you have to pay for is return shipping. Averaging 230 items circulated to just 60 members each month, the greatest benefit to AAC membership (potentially biased opinion) is going under utilized by the majority of members. 

The library has everything you need from training guidebooks for all levels, hiking and climbing guides for your local crag or wherever you may be off to, and mountaineering narratives, literature and videos for rest days.

Sketchbooks & Diaries

Check out this selection of 19th century sketchbooks and diaries found in the AAC Library's Archives and in the Central Asia Library. See more photos on Flickr.

Sketches made in the Himaleh 1848 by Charles Horne. This sketchbook can be found in the Central Asia Library. Charles Horne (1823-1871) was employed in the Bengal Civil Service. He worked in the region, studied, and wrote articles on various aspects of the life of the people, which appeared in such publications such as the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Most of the sketches were done in the region of Garhwal.  Sketches include scenery, shrines, rope bridges, local people, botany, birds, etc. Also artifacts such as prayer wheels.  It is a thorough documentation of life in the mountains at that time. 


Summer Tour in the Grisons and Italian Valleys of the Bernina, 1862

A souvenir from Mrs. Henry Freshfield's summer tour, most of the sketches found in this little book are by a Mrs. C. Galton. They were pasted into this book, which might be a draft version of Mrs. Freshfield's book of the same name. This item was collected for the AAC Library by Past President J. Monroe Thorington. To read the book, you can access it online here.


Sketches made on trip to Mt. St. Elias, June-Sept. 1888

Descended from William Williams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, this Williams donated many items such as this sketchbook, a diary and a privately published book to the AAC Library. Read his In Memoriam in the 1947 AAJ here.


Henry George Newcombe Tibet Diary, 1869.

This is another treasure that can be found in the Central Asia Library. This is the journal of a 4-month shooting expedition into Tibet in 1869, undertaken by three young British army officers, Henry George Newcombe (1846-1895) and his companions, Tillotson and Evans. In addition to Newcombe's observations, are illustrations, consisting of 3 maps, 53 watercolors and many vignettes within the text.


Sketchbook of Pfarrer Friedrich Drechsel 1895

The sketches range in date from 1890-1909. It contains sketches of mountain and village scenes in turn of the century Bavaria. The book was donated by Karl Drechsel to J. Monroe Thorington (Drechsel's former pupil) in 1927. Thorington donated the sketchbook in 1949 to the AAC.


To see more of the sketchbooks and diaries,

take a look at our Flickr page.