Allan was the fisherman, his boyhood river the Little Bighorn in eastern Montana. His brother, Fred, was the historian and non-angler.
When Allan graduated from college in 1940, Fred gave him an 18th-century leather-bound edition of that British classic known as "The Complete Angler."
Fred Roush is dead now, but for decades Allan Roush of Bozeman, Mont., kept the rare volume. Recently he donated it to Montana State University-Bozeman, where it has become a signature piece in a new Trout and Salmonid Collection at the MSU Renne Library.
"Nobody said, 'Don't do this. You're crazy'," MSU library dean Bruce Morton said about starting a special fish collection that will rank among the best in the country. "It was, 'Why haven't you thought of this before'?"
So far the collection numbers more than 11,000 pieces, from Roushs gift from his brother to a 17th-century ichthyology of fish written in Latin to cookbooks with titles like "Trout on a Stick."
Children's stories ("Peter the Sea Trout"), master's theses, agency reports, how-to angling books, literature, diaries and periodicals ("Field and Stream" back to 1958) are among the titles. So are scientific studies, environmental impact statements and a 1554 edition of "The History of Aquatic Animals," published in Rome.
"This is one of my personal favorites," Morton said as he pulled an 1839 edition of "The Fly Fisher's Entomology" from the shelf, "because the hand-colored illustrations are so exquisite." To date the collection comprises the library's original acquisitions plus two large donations. One donation, with more than 11,000 titles on fish and fisheries, came from a gentleman who wishes to remain anonymous. It was appraised at $230,000. The other donation, about 350 titles, relates specifically to angling. It came from Alfred T. Pellicane of Garden City, N.Y. and is valued at $40,000.