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John Mock Collection

Identifier: MSS 35
The John Mock Collection consists of 13 linear feet (12 boxes, 13 books, 14 scrapbooks, 1 object box, and 1 oversized box). The contents are the personal and professional papers ranging in date from 1924 until 1963 with bulk dates between 1934 and 1956. These dates cover the time when he was the editor of the Outdoor sports section in the Pittsburgh Press. It is composed of twelve series: biographical information, Mrs. Mock, correspondence, associations, conservation, toothbrush patent, photographs, publications, scrapbooks, books, objects, oversized. The collection is strongest in documents pertaining to conservation. Mock was an avid outdoorsman his entire life and through this passion he worked to improve environmental and conservation laws within the state of Pennsylvania. Working as an outdoor editor for over thirty years, he collected many magazine issues about hunting and fishing from the 1930s into the 1950s. These articles can provide insight into recreational activities during the Great Depression and World War II rationing.

Series Description: Series I: Biographical Information- 0.25 linear feet This series contains awards presented to Mock as well as letters of condolence, obituaries and the library collection dedication. Most of the information contained within pertains to events following his death but gives good information about Mock’s passions.

Series II: Mrs. Mock- 0.08 linear feet Mrs. Mary Mock did much to promote her husband’s legacy after his death. This series contains information about her career as a nurse as well as her efforts to create a special archive collection in the Duquesne University Library.

Series III: Correspondence- 0.33 linear feet This series is arranged by year and contains personal and profession letters. Much of it has to do with conservation legislation but some of it, like the congratulatory letters for being named outdoor writer of the year, has a more personal nature. Series IV: Associations- 0.5 linear feet John Mock’s passion was fishing in the great outdoors and this series reflects that passion. Most of the associations are about conservation, fishing or writing.

Series V: Conservation- 0.6 linear feet This series is the strongest in the collection. It contains a lot of information and correspondence about conservation legislation. Mock documented and verified the location of all the streams in Pennsylvania, he complied information about the conditions of streams around the state and Ohio. He wrote several speeches about his passion for fishing and the importance of state game regulation. This series would be a good source for the foundations of environmental conservation legislation.

Series VI: Toothbrush Patent- 0.08 linear feet This series contains the correspondence and patent information for an “educational” toothbrush developed by Mock around 1954. His design involved a sliding handle cover that would reveal alphabet letters or numbers to aid children’s learning.

Series VII: Photographs- 0.08 linear feet This series contains unidentified photographs pertaining to Mock’s life. A majority of the photographs have no identifying information but a few have been labeled. Oversized photos are stored with other items in the oversized box.

Series VIII: Publications- 5.25 linear feet Mock collected a lot of information about the outdoors. This series contains the outdoor magazines, articles and booklets he collected as well as copies of his own outdoor writing. The magazines have a corresponding guide arranged by subject that seems to be accurate.

Series IX: Scrapbooks- 2 linear feet This series contains 14 scrapbooks with clippings and letters from 1924-1959. Most scrapbooks cover about a two year range but there is overlap and some may contain stray articles tucked within the pages. The contents are typically clippings of Mock’s writings, article about Mock or related to the outdoors. The scrapbook with the date range of 1924-1959 contains the most correspondence covering topics such as legislation and his outdoor writer of the year award. They are a bit fragile but many of the clippings can be found in the Publication series VIII. Series X: Books- 1.67 linear feet The books in this series vary in topics. The sport related books were originally John Mock’s whereas the nursing related books originally belonged to Mrs. Mock

Series XI: Objects This series contains metals, pins, plaques and pens awarded to Mock during his life.

Series XII: Oversized Box The oversized box contains a mix of items. There are three special newspaper inserts published in 1949 and 1951, award certificates and enlarged magazine covers featuring mock , two rolled prints, oversized photographs, and the pens used to sign the Sunday fishing bill.


  • 1924-1963 (bulk dates: 1934-1956)


13 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

John G. Mock was born in 1893 in what is now known as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s North side. He attended Saint Mary’s but ended up skipping class a lot because it interfered with his fishing. As he grew older he found odd jobs working for fish packing companies like Fried and Rienemans and eventually took a job with the Pennsylvania railroad so he could travel the country to visit different fishing spots. In the 1930s he began writing an Outdoors Column for the Pittsburgh Press. For many years he was the only full-time Outdoor news editor in Pennsylvania and one of the first in the nation. His columns varied in topic and proved to be very popular. In 1940 he received over five-thousand advice seeking letters. When Mock was not writing his newspaper column he was busy seeking better fishing conditions. He lobbied for a pure streams law to help regulate industry pollution of water sources and advocated for stronger gaming regulations that would support conservation practices. Another project was to have county ID numbers removed from hunting license so people from the city would not be discriminated against while hunting in the country. He also helped make Sunday fishing legal in the state. He joined organizations like the Izaak Walton League of America, the Wildlife League of Pennsylvania and the brotherhood of the Jungle Cock which supported similar wildlife values and a passion for the outdoors. Mock died somewhat unexpectedly on May 10, 1957 at the age of 64. Just over a month before he was elected Pennsylvania’s Outdoor Writer of the Year. His widow, Mary Mock, requested that donations be made to the Duquesne Building Fund in lieu of flowers. Later, she donated his writing and outdoor research to the Duquesne Library to inspire a legacy of conservation. John Mock’s passion for nature and position as a newspaper columnist allowed him to pursue needed legislation in the state of Pennsylvania that helped people realize the importance of preserving nature for the future hunters and fishers.
John Mock Collection
Duquesne University Archives and Special Collections
Mary Mikulla
November 2010
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository