National Forests in North Carolina Historic Photographs

Summary Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives
National Forests in North Carolina Historic Photographs
Date [inclusive]
7.0 Linear feet
Housed in vertical files (VF5, VF6) in Special Collections.
Digital Access to Collections
The National Forests in North Carolina Historic Photographs Collection is available on the Southern Appalachian Digital Collections website.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of photograph] National Forests of North Carolina Historic Photographs, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville, 28804

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Scope and Contents

The National Forests in North Carolina Historic Photographs (NFNC) include approximately 1800 images dating from c. 1896 to the 1980s. The Biltmore Forest School photographs, dating from 1898 - 1913, are some of the most exceptional holdings in this collection. Also included are large panoramic photographs and many negatives taken by NFNC staff and others. A small body of publications from the Cradle of Forestry and from the US Department of Agriculture accompany the collection.

The major contribution of the National Forests in North Carolina Photographic collections is the historic nature of the photographs. The opportunity to view the early years of forestry in America and to see many of the founders of forestry at work is especially gratifying. Gifford Pinchot, Carl Schenck, and other notable foresters are found at work throughout the collections. The photographic materials are largely of high quality and contain beautifully photographed subjects. Unlike the many documentary photographs of the USFS collection, the National Forests of North Carolina photographs are jewels of composition and subject and capture the spirit of forestry in its early years.

The NFNC collections represent the work of many different photographers during the period from about the 1890's to about 1952 and, like the USFS collection, it includes many well-known area photographers such as Charles Abell, C.R. Hursh, Herbert Pelton and Plateau Studios, George Masa, E.M. Ball, Ignatius Brock, and others. In fact, there are many prints that are obviously taken from the USDA negatives and that were used by both organizations. Some images may be duplicated in other forestry collections such as those at NC State University.

This collection will be useful for forestry, environmental, biological or botanical studies. Subject areas include the history of forestry, effects of logging, tannin bark harvesting, wild life in the Blue Ridge Mountains, methods and equipment and historical data on land use, trail maintenance, dams, roads, bridges, and other infrastructures and flora and fauna in the national forests. The geographical areas covered by the collection remain largely within western North Carolina but encompass other major National Forests in North Carolina, including: Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie and Croatan National Forests. Also included are images from neighboring states and from European forestry programs.

The primary donation of over c. 2000 items including photographic prints, negatives, documents, publications, letters and posters describes the years of early forestry in America. Many of the images are taken at the Cradle of Forestry in America, not far from Asheville. The images show foresters at work, transportation systems, Forest Festival tours, logging processes, logging roads, buildings, and other associated activities in western North Carolina.

***The NFNC collections complement the forest history project which was undertaken by UNCA , NC State, the Forest History Society at Duke, Biltmore Estate and with the Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, Asheville, NC in 2003. Funded in part with state Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant money, the Forest History grant enabled UNCA to digitize over 3,249 images donated to the university from the collections of the US Forest Service Southeastern Experiment Station in Asheville SEE: U.S Forest Service Southern Research Station Photograph Collection 1897-1952

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Arrangement Note

The National Forests in North Carolina Historic Photographs Collection is available in the Forestry In Western North Carolina digital collection.

The National Forests in North Carolina Historic Photograph Collection was originally organized by NFNC for internal reference purposes. The original arrangement is basically maintained in this finding aide and in the physical inventory. Headings and captions, and specific titles, when known, are retained. Listings include the original file cabinet and drawer numbers and also include USDA identification numbers, when given. In the process of inventory and digitization, each photograph has been given a unique catalog number starting with "nfnc_000xx".

This first collection is comprised of thematically grouped photographs and all are preceded by the letter "C" which designates the Cradle of Forestry (CFA). The schema of the original collection is an alpha-numeric arrangement and the alphabetic headings are used as a shortened form of the key theme. For example E = Engineering. A general description of the filing scheme follows:

"All filing designations will be preceded by letter "C" to indicate CRA. Letter "H" will be omitted since all photographs in system are historic. Sub-heading not applicable to history have been omitted; spare numbers are inserted to allow for expansion. "

The following is a brief outline of the thematic groupings designated in the first donation from the NFNC offices:

E = Engineering FC = Fire Control INF = Influences O = Operation and Information R = Recreation TM = Timber Management U = Utilization WL = Wild Life

The second donation from the NFNC offices and Cradle of Forestry has a more abbreviated and alphabetical list of subjects, many of which overlap the first donation in subject.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives

Ramsey Library, CPO # 1500
One University Heights
Asheville, North Carolina, 28804-8504

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Copyright retained by the authors of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law

Custodial History

The first collections in the National Forests in North Carolina (NFNC) holdings came to UNCA in October of 2010 through Mary Noel, Lands and Planning Staff Officer at the Forest Service headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. A second large donation from the Cradle of Forestry, Pink Beds, came to UNCA on January 24, 2011. Smaller collections will join the core materials later in 2011. The collections were processed and digitized in 2010-2011 with funds from the USDA Forest Service and matching services from the University of North Carolina Asheville.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections Staff, 2010-2011, including Toey Fortenberry (Project Coordinator); Heide Penner ; Jessica Furst ; Melissa Hutchenson ; Brandon Gipson ; Robert Cunningham ; Susan Jones ; William Knauth ; Laura Carter ; Allison Kubel ; Wesley Stevens.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials

Peter J. Hanlon and James K. Vessey Collection (1880's-1991)

Reuben B. Robertson Collection

William Nothstein Oral History

D. Hiden Ramsey Collection

Papers of Congressman Roy Arthur Taylor

Carolina Mountain Club Archive

Austin-Brooks Collection

William T. Kirkman Photograph Collection (1923-2000)

Walter Julius Damtoft Collection

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Subject Keywords

Carl Schenck ; Gifford Pinchot ; William W. Ashe ; Biltmore Forest School ; Biltmore Estate ; George Vanderbilt ; Asheville, NC ; schools ; forestry ; logging ; environmental science ; logging processes ; logging roads ; biology ; botany ; botanical studies ; timber ; grazing ; soil erosion ; pollution ; forest growth patterns ; forest history ; forestry methods ; forestry equipment ; land use ; geography ; oak-chestnut types ; yellow poplar ; spruce ; aspen ; basswood ; beech ; buckeye ; cedar ; cherry ; chestnut ; hickory ; black locust ; oaks ; sycamore ; forest regeneration ; stand improvement ; forest thinning ; silvaculture ; forest fires ; tanning bark ; tannin ; protective burning ; soil stabilization ; forest industries ; pulpwood cutting ; pulp extraction ; US Geological Survey ; road banks ; shingle splitting ; water cycle ; wells ; gauging stations ; roads ; dams ; bridges ; trails ; Bent Creek ; Coweeta ; Fernow ; forestry bibliography ; rail transport ; Pink Beds ; Judson Meece ; George Gillespie ; F.L. Olmsted ; Bent Creek ; William Jennings Bryan ; Patton House, Pisgah Forest ; Pisgah Forest ; Jenny Lodge ; Sunburst, NC ; Big Hell Hole quarters ; Little Hell Hole quarters ; fire protection ; campgrounds ; camping ; Forest Festival ; tours ; watersheds ; waterfalls ; picnicking ; engineering ; wild life

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Collection Inventory

Photographs: Collection 1 (Master Prefix for all photographs and maps used by original cataloger.) 

Series E: Engineering 

1: Bridges 

2: Dams 

3: Maps 

4: Roads 

5: Buildings; Fences 

A. Furniture and furnishings 

6: Trails 

7: Water Mills 

8: Logging Roads 

Series FC: Fire Control 

1: Burned-out Areas 

2: Lookouts 

Series INF: Influences 

1: Erosion 

Sereis O: Operations and Information 

1: Foresters at Work (includes students) 

2: Groups ("Old-timers," etc.) 

3: Portals and Signs 

4: Portraits 

5: Public Relations 

6: Transportation 

7: Forest Festival, Tours 

8: House Keeping, BFS 

Series R: Recreation 

1: Camping and Picnicking 

2: Fishing 

3: Hiking and Riding 

4: Improvements (Fireplaces) 

5: Scenery 

6: Sidelights (Human Interest) 

Series TM: Timber Management 

1: Cut-over areas 

2: Individual Species 

3: Injured Trees 

4: Logging 

a. Bucking, felling, hauling, loading 

b: Logs, camps, and crews 

c: River Driving 

d: Scaling 

e: Skidding 

5: Nursery Work 

a: Nurseries 

b: Planting Stock 

c: Riving Driving 

d: Scaling 

e: Skidding 

6: Reforestation 

a: Natural reproduction 

b: Field Planting 

c: Coppice Method 

Series U: Utilization 

1: Chemical Wood 

a: Pulp and Paper 

2: Crude Products 

a: Fuelwood 

3: Extractive Material 

a: Tannin 

4: Saw Products 

a: Lumber 

5: Related to Milling 

1: Mill Machinery 

2: Mills and Log Storage 

3: Portable Mills 

4: Storage, Seasoning 

Series WL: Wildlife 

1: Carnivores; Bear 

2: Fish, including planting, stream improvements 

3: Reptiles and insects 

4: Trapping: Deer 

5: Ungulates: Deer 

Photographs: Collection 2 (Alphabetically filed items, not indexed by types) 


Earl Blank, (Sunburst Biltmore Forest School views) 

John D. Mylrea, (Biltmore Forest School in Pink Beds) 



Ambrose Schenck Cline ( B.S. 1917 Wenona, N. C.. Assistant Director, Branch Experiment Station Edward Lamar Cloyd B.E. 1915 ...West Raleigh. N. C. .. ?] 


Verne Rhoades, prints, 1920's (nfnc_0853 - nfnc_0877) Includes Forestry School photographs 

Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck, negatives (nfnc_1118 -nfnc_1219) 

USFS, prints, 1920's and 1930's 

Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck, prints: (nfnc_0833-nfnc_0850) 1950 BFS reunion in Pink Beds, NC ; 1951 tour 

Al Broadhead, American Forestry Association (AFA) conference (nfnc_0710-nfnc_0758) 

[COLLECTION 2 ] From "Cradle of Forestry" offices. Approximately 1000 images. Includes the following subjects: Animals; Bathing; Birds; Bridges; Buildings; Cabins (See also buildings); Camping - Campgrounds; Deer Traps and Enclosures; Exhibits Fireplaces (Outdoors); Fire Towers, Observatory Towers; Fish Rearing and Fishing; Game Refuge; Incinerators; Lakes; Logging Operations; Miscellaneous; Plantations; Planting and Landscaping; Recreation Areas, Parking Areas, Picnic Grounds, etc.; Rhododendron; Roads, Trails and Road Construction (nfnc_1220 - nfnc_1280); Salt Stand (or Box); Scaling Timber; Shrubs; Signs; Skins; Swimming Pools (also see Bathing); Streams and Stream Improvement; Trees; Views and Vistas; Waterfalls; Watersheds 


CRADLE OF FORESTRY COLLECTIONS: 2 Pinchot Photographs Albums