Albert R. Mann Library
Book cover of Favorite Flies and Their Histories
Mary Orvis Marbury

Mary Orvis Marbury was the daughter of Charles F. Orvis, and the author of Favorite Flies and Their Histories, the first standardized reference on American flies. In 1856, the year Mary was born, her father opened a tackle shop in Manchester VT, doing business over the counter and through the mail. The Orvis Company went on to shape American fly-fishing; it is now the oldest mail-order business in the United States.

In 1876, Mary took over the management of the company’s fly tying studio. Determined to address the lack of standardization among fly patterns, Mary sent a questionnaire to customers and prominent anglers all over the United States, asking them to describe the flies and techniques they used. She compiled and edited more than 200 responses, and added her own commentary and 32 colored plates illustrating more than 300 flies.

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