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Alvin J. Huss Archives

The Forest History Society's Alvin J. Huss Archival Program preserves the archival records of several national organizations and the papers of many outstanding individuals associated with forest, conservation, and environmental history. Collections shed light on the conservation movement, the profession of forestry, or on the use of forests and related natural resources. They contain records in a variety of formats and media, most of which date from the twentieth century.

The contents of our collections can be further accessed through the Guide to FHS Archival Collections, which summarizes our collections and links to the electronic finding aids. FHS archival collections (as well as those of other repositories) are also searchable via the Society's Guide to Environmental History Archives of North America.

To assist scholars conduct in-depth research in the Society's archival and library collections, the Society awards a number of Alfred D. Bell Travel Grants each year. FHS also works cooperatively with other repositories to create web exhibits that feature digitized archival materials from our collections. Our primary goal is to save from destruction all historically significant records related to environmental history. To further this aim, we regularly work with other institutions, particularly in the United States and Canada, to place records collections in appropriate repositories so that historians and other researchers can access the materials. Please contact FHS staff if you know of a collection in danger of being lost.



Definition of Archives and Types of Archival Records

Archives house, preserve, and make available for research the raw materials needed to study and write history. Archival records (correspondence, minutes of meetings, photographs, publications, internal reports, memoranda, financial documents, etc.) originate with businesses, government agencies, organizations, or individuals who amass these materials during the normal course of conducting business. When records are no longer regularly useful to the creators, the materials become "inactive" and records with historical value are transferred to an archival repository, usually maintained by a historical society, college or university, corporation, or government.


Major Archival Collections Held by the Forest History Society

  • American Forest Institute Records
    (131.5 linear feet) Formerly called American Forest Products Industries, which was created in 1932 as a trade promotion subsidiary of the National Lumber Manufacturers' Association (NLMA). Advertising strategies, opinion polls, tree farm activities, and youth education programs are well documented. In 1992, the American Forest Institute merged with the American Paper Institute and the National Forest Products Association to become the American Forest and Paper Association.


  • American Forestry Association Records
    (131.5 linear feet) Since 1875 a citizen conservation group that advocates responsible stewardship of forest lands. Traditionally a behind-the-scenes player, AFA has provided support for essentially every significant federal forestry statute. Publishes American Forests and a variety of books. The organization is now called American Forests.


  • National Forest Products Association Records
    (142.5 linear feet) Since 1902 the primary advocate for the forest products industry. Its records contain information on product standardization, economic surveys, legislative initiatives, and a wide range of trade and forest resource issues. Now a part of the American Forest and Paper Association.


  • Society of American Foresters Records
    (338 linear feet) Since 1900 the largest professional organization for American foresters. Publishes the Journal of Forestry and associated journals. Includes records about forestry school accreditation, ethical codes of conduct, legislative positions, and policy statements. Additional information about the Society of American Foresters.


  • John Richards Collection
    (115.5 linear feet) Records of a long-term (1983-1994), multidisciplinary research initiative led by Duke University historian John Richards on the impact of tropical land use change on global atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The data gathered during the project is available online at Carbon. The project also created a searchable database, the Environment of South and Southeast Asia Bibliography.


  • Forest History Society Photograph Collection
    The Society maintains a collection of over 30,000 photos, slides, plates, and films indexed by subject showing early lumbering techniques, foresters at work, and policy makers in debate. More information on the FHS Photograph Colection.


  • Forest History Society Oral History Interviews Collection
    Since the 1950s, the Society's ambitious oral history program has yielded tapes and transcripts of more than 250 interviews that capture the experiences of public and private forestry leaders.

Conducting Research in the Forest History Society Archives

Due to the unpublished nature, large volume, and sometimes fragile condition of the Society's archival collections, most research must be done at the archives by the researcher. Access to portions of collections may be restricted. The archives staff regularly provides reference services Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, however appointments are strongly recommended. For further information, contact: Archives, Forest History Society, 701 William Vickers Avenue, Durham, North Carolina, 27701; telephone 919-682-9319; or email FHS staff.


FHS Helps Individuals, Organizations, or Businesses Save Valuable Archival Records

Have you been involved in a forestry or conservation project or had a career in the field? Have you made provision for the records generated to be saved for future historians? The Society will be glad to help!

The Forest History Society serves as a clearing house for individuals and groups interested in depositing their historical records in a suitable repository. The Society's archival collection development policy focuses on placing the non-current records of individuals, businesses, groups, or organizations associated with forest, conservation, or environmental history in repositories that hold similar types of records. Occasionally the Society accepts records of national importance for our own archives. Whenever institutions deposit historical records with an archival repository, an accompanying funding contribution to help offset the cost of processing and providing long-term care for the records is very appreciated by the archival institution.

When considering donating a collection of records to any repository, the Society encourages donors to follow a few basic steps to help ease the decisionmaking process for archivists who will consider accepting the collection:

1. Describe the company, group, or individual who generated or collected the records.
2. List the inclusive dates of the collection and any range of dates that cover the majority of the materials in the collection (i.e., "1948-1972, bulk 1960-1970").
3. Describe the general purpose for which the records were generated or collected.
4. List the types of materials included in the collection (i.e., hand-written or typed correspondence, photographs, minutes of meetings, financial documents, surveys, audio-visual materials, etc.).
5. List the overall size of the collection, preferably the number of linear feet for the materials as they are presently stored. Since box sizes and shapes vary, if you provide only the number of boxes, please also provide the size of boxes as well.
6. List the main topics and geographic areas covered by the records (i.e., national forest policy in the United States; industrial forestry in Oregon and Washington; nature conservation in the southwestern United States; international environmental politics; etc.).
7. List any individuals who are prominently associated with the records (i.e., organization president so-and-so wrote much of the correspondence, etc.).
8. Provide any further information that may be of assistance in assessing the collection.

The Nebraska State Historical Society's web site also provides good guidelines for donors wishing to place family papers, organizational records, or company records in a archival repository.

Please direct all queries, comments, or suggestions regarding this or other FHS research resources to: The Archives, Attn.: Cheryl Oakes, Forest History Society, 701 William Vickers Avenue, Durham, N.C. 27701-3162; Tel.: (919) 682-9319; Fax: (919) 682-2349.