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Alfred D. Bell Travel Grants

The Forest History Society (FHS) annually offers a number of competitive Alfred D. Bell, Jr., Travel Grants to support travel and lodging expenses of up to $950.00 incurred by researchers conducting in-depth studies using resources in the Society's Alvin J. Huss Archives and Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Library. FHS established the award to honor the memory of wholesale lumberman, forest industry editor, and former FHS vice president Alfred Bell, Jr., who died in 1985.

Award Details

The Forest History Society awards several Bell Travel Grants each year to researchers who use FHS resources to support their work. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, with awards going to persons whose research topics are well covered in the FHS library and archives. Preference is given to young scholars per the wishes of the Bell family.

To apply for a Bell Travel Grant, submit an application [PDF] and resume to:

Bell Travel Grants
Forest History Society
701 William Vickers Ave.
Durham, NC 27701

For further information, or to submit an application via email, contact Eben Lehman at eben.lehman@foresthistory.org.

Recent Recipients

Recent winners of the Bell Travel Grant award include several graduate students working on doctoral dissertations and professors of history pursuing research on a variety of environmental topics:

Jameson Karns
a doctoral student at the University of California-Berkeley in the History of Science Program, conducted research on the history of fire science. Karns examined the notebooks and photographs of Harold Weaver, an American forester best known for his mid-twentieth century work on prescribed burning and a pioneer in the fire science field. This research will also be shared with several environmental scientists, foresters, and fire scientists, who will apply the findings to current and ongoing studies.

William Bryan
a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Emory University is working on a book manuscript, entitled "Nature and the New South: Promoting 'Permanent' Uses of Resources in a Developing Region, 1865-1930." It traces how business leaders worked to address resource depletion in the late-19th and early-20th centuries in ways that presaged strategies of sustainable development that emerged decades later. It also reframes the history of the post­-Civil War South by showing how conflicts over natural resources shaped Southern economic development.

Nicole Cox
a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Florida whose dissertation examines the history of the wood-preservation industry. She was especially interested in creosote and experiments on its use by federal agencies. FHS also has quite a number of historic photographs related to wood preservation processes.

Joe Giacomelli
a Ph.D. candidate in history at Cornell University studying how scientists and others understood climate during the 19th century. He was interested in the training of foresters, how they integrated fields such as hydrology and meteorology into their work, afforestation as a means of modifying climate, and how predominant viewpoints about climate changed in the early 20th century.

Chris Eklund
is a doctoral candidate in history at Auburn University whose dissertation explores the connections between private individuals, government entities, and non-governmental organizations in the creation of parklands throughout the American South. Land acquisitions and transfers are a frequent topic in a number of FHS archival collections and oral history interviews.

Allison Bryant
a student at Yale College, worked on her senior thesis comparing the public relations efforts of the early U.S. Forest Service with those of the National Park Service. She found the US Forest Service newspaper clipping files particularly helpful for evidence of the agency’s early attempts to educate the public about its mission. She was surprise d to find how accurately some works of fiction in the Forests in Fiction Collection reflected the attitudes encountered by early forest rangers in the West.

Dr. Jonathan Beever
graduate student in philosophy at Purdue University, used FHS collections to examine cross-currents between environmental philosophy in Europe and America. While at FHS he looked for evidence of influences on American foresters, including Aldo Leopold, who traveled to Germany during the mid-1930s on trips sponsored by the Oberlaender Trust. He examined the papers of Clarence Forsling and Leon Kneipp as well as publications from the era.

Devon McCurdy
Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Washington, examined the relationships between capitalism, the state, and the natural world in the rural Pacific Northwest. He explored the tensions between environmentalists and the forest products industry in the region during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, and while at FHS used the records of the National Forest Products Association as well as company files and the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters History Collection.

Sarah Mittlefehldt
assistant professor of Environmental Studies & Natural Resource Management at Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, explored the history of wood-to-energy initiatives in the late twentieth century. Since the OPEC oil embargo in 1973, the U.S. has sought to develop domestic sources of energy including petroleum, wind, solar, and hydropower. Her research looks at debates around one of the renewable fuel sources-woody biomass-and examines the political landscape in which these debates took place.

Karen Bradshaw Schulz
Koch-Searle Fellow at New York University School of Law in New York City was interested in the development of forest certification by the American Tree Farm System, one of the first examples of sustainability certification anywhere. This is part of her ongoing research in environmental and natural resource law.

Zackary Gardner
Ph.D. candidate in history at Georgetown University, explored the motivations of early U.S. Forest Service employees for working for the federal government. This is part of his larger study of the formation of government offices at all levels during the Progressive Era. He is concentrating on government foresters who interacted closely with the public and conflicts between the romantic view of their positions with the constraints of a growing bureaucracy.

Matt Fockler
Ph.D. candidate in earth sciences at Montana State University, conducted research in the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters History Collection. Fockler is writing a historical geography of the national forest idea as manifested in Montana, focusing especially on the interconnections between national forest policy and the people being impacted by those policies. He is using the Lewis and Clark and the Flathead national forests as his case studies.

Liesel Hall
Ph.D. candidate in environmental sociology at Drexel University in Philadelphia visited FHS to work on her dissertation titled: "Cultural Values, Political Actions, and Ecological Outcomes: The Condition of U.S. National Forests from over a Hundred Years of Policy and Social Change." She was able to obtain U.S. Forest Service appropriations information for several years that were unavailable elsewhere.

Dr. Emily Brock
assistant professor of history at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, returned to FHS to complete work on a book that examines the interplay of scientific ecology and management of forests in the American West. She had previously visited FHS while a graduate student in history at Princeton University and found that her outlook on the topic had changed considerably during the intervening years. She used the records of the Society of American Foresters and biographical files from the U.S. Forest Service collection to better understand the development of professional forestry.

Donna Sinclair
Ph.D. student at Portland State University, explored oral history as a tool for understanding the role women and minorities have played in the U.S. Forest Service. In addition to conducting her own interviews she used existing interviews in the FHS collection. She also examined collections related to workforce diversity, recruitment, and training as well as biographical files.

Dr. Donald Edward Davis
an independent scholar from Washington, D.C., looked at the environmental history of the American chestnut and used several collections at FHS to add to his extensive quantity of data and stories. He was particularly interested in expanding documentation of chestnut in the northern areas of its range as well as the use of chestnut in the tanbark industry.

Dr. Max Grivno
a historian at the University of Southern Mississippi, studied labor issues of pulpwood cutters in the Deep South during the 1970s and 80s. He used the American Pulpwood Association collection and forest and paper industry publications as well as oral history interviews to obtain a fuller picture of conditions that led to the formation of unions and a series of strikes.

Dr. Fred Kruger
an expert on the science and management of forests and heathlands, especially those in South Africa and other Mediterranean climates, used FHS collections to study the intellectual connections between forest hydrologists around the world. He was especially interested in the scientific currents that came together at the 1935 British Empire Forestry Conference that was held in South Africa.

Brett Bennett
Ph.D. candidate in forestry history at the University of Texas, Austin, used the FHS Library and Archives to compare the development of forestry practices in the Pacific Northwest and the southeastern United States for a book he is writing on the global history of forestry.