Forest History Society

I SUPPORT THE FOREST HISTORY SOCIETY.

The Forest History Society is the preeminent organization supporting research and understanding of how people used and interacted with the forested ecosystems of the planet over the long sweep of human history. Its archives, publications, and outreach programs are indispensable in advancing the knowledge of forest and conservation history worldwide. –William J. Cronon, professor of History, Geography and Environmental Studies, The University of Wisconsin

In the 5-minute video below, Char Miller, Director and W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College, talks about the importance of preserving forest history, the uniqueness of the Forest History Society, and his experiences using the Society’s rich library and archival collections.

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In this 6-minute video, Larry Tombaugh, longtime member and past Chairman of the Board, leads you on a guided tour through the facilities, programs, and collections of the Forest History Society.

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The Forest History Society (FHS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational institution located in Durham, North Carolina, that links the past to the future by identifying, collecting, preserving, interpreting, and disseminating information on the history of interactions between people, forests, and their related resources — timber, water, soil, forage, fish and wildlife, recreation, and scenic or spiritual values. Through programs in research, publication, and education, the Society promotes and rewards scholarship in the fields of forest, conservation, and environmental history while reminding all of us about our important forest heritage.  –FHS website

Latest Peeling Back the Bark articles (RSS feed):

  • Remembering Jerry Williams (1945-2019), Forest Service Historian
    Gerald W. Williams, a former national historian with the U.S. Forest Service and a Fellow of the Forest History Society, passed away on January 3, 2019. Among the many reasons for naming Jerry a FHS Fellow was his many significant contributions to the U.S. Forest Service History Reference Collection. While government reports and manuals comprised the... The post Remembering Jerry Williams (1945-2019), Forest Service Historian appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • Dark Days, Then and Now
    In this guest post, renowned fire historian Stephen Pyne reviews the history of wildland fires in the United States and the policies and strategies various agencies continue operating under before offering some recommendations for dealing with the issue. On May 19, 1780, the skies over New England darkened ominously as an immense pall of smoke... The post Dark Days, Then and Now appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • October 15, 1934: Glued Laminated Timber Comes to America
    On October 15, 1934, workers broke ground for a new school gymnasium in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. To this day, this small city in the far northeast corner of Wisconsin remains best known for being totally consumed by a massive forest fire in 1871. The groundbreaking, while seemingly an unremarkable event, is another turning point in forest... The post October 15, 1934: Glued Laminated Timber Comes to America appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • New Digital Exhibit: Pioneer Trail Riders of the Wilderness
    Recently FHS staff came across a scrapbook in our collection of American Forestry Association records. Its pages were filled with original photographs and documents from the American Forestry Association’s (AFA) first Trail Ride in July of 1933. The Trail Riders program was run by the AFA for over 50 years, from 1933 through 1988. Originally... The post New Digital Exhibit: Pioneer Trail Riders of the Wilderness appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • The Forest Service Faces a Century-old Call for Equality
    The following opinion piece by FHS historian James Lewis was originally published by High Country News on April 30, 2018, and is republished here in its entirety. The third applicant was “no gentleman,” the U.S. Forest Service ranger wrote to his boss, but would still make a first-class fire lookout on the remote Klamath National... The post The Forest Service Faces a Century-old Call for Equality appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • A Clear-eyed History of the Redwood Wars: A Review of the Book “Defending Giants”
    FHS historian James Lewis wrote this review of Defending Giants: The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics, by Darren Frederick Speece (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2016) for Western Historical Quarterly. It was published in the October 2017 issue. The tallest species in the world, the redwood tree (sequoia sempervirens) is found in a narrow range... The post A Clear-eyed History of the Redwood Wars: A Review of the Book “Defending Giants” appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • “New Faces, Same Old Values”: Revisiting a History of Attitudes Towards Women in the Forest Service
    In light of the recent news about the systemic and system-wide problem of sexual harassment and misconduct throughout the U.S. Forest Service, and other federal land management agencies, it is useful to have some historical perspective. In short, this is not a recent problem. The following excerpt from my book The Greatest Good and the... The post “New Faces, Same Old Values”: Revisiting a History of Attitudes Towards Women in the Forest Service appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • A Look Back at George Washington’s Birthday Trees
    “Ten million monuments to a great man!” So went the call out from Charles Lathrop Pack and the American Tree Association to the American public. The “great man” was George Washington and the year was 1932 – the bicentennial of Washington’s birth. Mired in the midst of the Great Depression, Americans were nonetheless still in the... The post A Look Back at George Washington’s Birthday Trees appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • The Year When Turkeys Were Used to Fight Forest Fires
    There’s no better time than Thanksgiving week to look back at some of forest history’s famous turkeys. While we’ve previously looked at how turkeys changed forest history by upending timber policy in the 1960s, it’s due time to highlight a pair of birds. “Sir Keep Oregon Green” and “Chief No Fire” were two large 40-pound... The post The Year When Turkeys Were Used to Fight Forest Fires appeared first on Forest History Society.
  • The Most Epic Forest History Road Trip Yet
    This post was first published in the Spring 2017 issue of Forest History Today, which was produced for the National Park Service's centennial, as the "History on the Road" column. It's been adapted for the blog to include more stops at places other than in national parks and seashores. Last fall, I took a leave of absence and... The post The Most Epic Forest History Road Trip Yet appeared first on Forest History Society.