The Natrona County Library is extremely honored to be the home of the Jay Lawson Collection, a stunning array of books donated by the family of Mr. Lawson, former Chief Game Warden of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.
Jay was born in Casper and graduated from Natrona County High School in 1967. He earned a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, a wildlife degree from the University of Montana, and then began a 33-year career with the Game and Fish Department, becoming Chief of the the Wildlife Divison in 1989. Jay received numerous accolades for his dedication to wildlife issues and his lifetime of service to wildlife research and management. He researched and wrote the book, “Men to Match Our Mountains,” a celebration of the most colorful outdoor men and women of the early 20th century. Jay retired from the Game and Fish Department in 2011 and passed away in 2014.
Jay had a keen eye for collecting valuable, rare books with outdoor themes. Jay’s family, including his brother Bruce, donated over 230 of Jay’s personal books to the Natrona County Library. The books cover a wide array of wildlife and outdoor interests, including western history, birds, mammals, plants, hunting, fishing, wildlife management, and more.
Some of the more remarkable titles are early editions of Charles Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” and “Naturalist’s Voyage Around the World,” an 8-volume set of “The Lives of Game Animals” by Ernest Thompson Seton, and an 1860 edition of “Prairie and Rocky Mountain Adventures of Life in the West” by John C. Van Tramp. Several of the books in the collection are inscribed to him and many include Jay’s tucked in notes.
To view the books in the collection, please visit the library’s second floor Reference Desk. Due to the special nature of these volumes, they are not available for checkout.
Thank you to Bruce and the Lawson family for their very generous donation to honor Mr. Jay Lawson.
The Hunting & Fishing collection consists of books and other items relating to hunting and fishing, especially in Wyoming and the West, allowing casual readers and researchers alike the opportunity to delve deeper into each topic. You will find practical titles on how to perfect each craft, as well as rare books illustrating the histories of hunting and fishing skills and practice. The collection covers all aspects of the North Platte River including its unique history, habitat and water management, and environmental remediation. The collection also includes many first editions, signed copies, and one-of-a-kind titles. Some are available to check out, while others are for in-library use only. Please ask a librarian on the second floor for assistance.