Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Breaking News: Mary Kefover Kelly Passes Away

It is with great sorrow that I must report the passing of Mary Kefover Kelly last Friday, 24 April 2009. Dr. John Elder, her close friend, emailed me last night while I was at the university, and I just got off the phone with Mary's daughter. Mary was one of the leading fishing historians of the 20th century. I had the great pleasure of working with Mary on editing and updating some of her best material into the book The Origins of American Angling: Essays on the History of Fishing and Tackle, which was launched just over a year ago.


I found Mary to be lively, intelligent, and extremely witty in all of my interactions with her. She was also extraordinarily helpful, sharing a lot of information with me on a variety of subjects. Her early work on Kosmic, Leonard, Conroy, and Chubb is still some of the most important work of its kind to date, and set the standard for many other writers to follow.

Her loss is a tremendous blow to the fishing history community, as her likes will never be seen again. As a female outdoor writer, she penned articles for all the leading magazines of the day--from Outdoor Life to Fishing World to The Pennsylvania Angler--at a time when there were precious few women writers in their pages. She wrote often for the American Fly Fisher, the publishing arm of the American Museum of Fly Fishing, where some of her best work was first published. She was a meticulous researcher of which it was said that she was the first person to ever read The Spirit of the Times from cover to cover.

I will very much miss her. May she rest in peace...

-- Dr. Todd

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