The International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies came into being in 1902 and has been a strong but quiet force throughout the entire history of the conservation movement. Its records have been included in the Proceedings, in testimony, in files, in the papers of its leaders, and in the memories of some of its more tenured members. The records of its meetings for a number of years were lost. These were located by a search in the Library of Congress and placed into the 1980 Proceedings to provide at least that minimal documentation.
There was, however, no running record of the evolution of the Association--no single document of its activities, influence, and contributions. And, with the passage of time, its early and influential leaders were slipping away.
In September 1983 the Executive Committee requested that President C. D. "Buzz" Besadny appoint a committee to explore the possibilities of developing an Association history. That committee consisted of chairman Glenn L. Bowers, former Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission and current General Counsel for the Association; Chester F. Phelps, former Executive Director of the Virginia Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries and current Secretary Treasurer; and Mr. John S. Gottschalk, a former Executive Vice-President, Legislative Counsel, and Counsel. Following the Committee's explorations and deliberations, it entered into preliminary negotiations with History Associates Incorporated of Rockville, Maryland. The Committee recommended that the Association contract with History Associates to produce an Association history and to do the necessary archival work on the Association's existing records. That recommendation was approved in March 1985.