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Inventory of the Walter J. Damtoft Papers, 1911 - 1981

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Walter J. Damtoft (1890-1976) was a well-known forester as well as a business and civic leader who worked for the United States Forest Service and the Champion Fibre Company.
The Walter J. Damtoft papers hold diaries, publications, and ephemera documenting his career in forestry.
Title: Walter J. Damtoft Papers, 1911 - 1981
Creator: Damtoft, Walter J.
Repository: Forest History Society Library and Archives
Call Number: 2012-001
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 3.01 linear feet
(4 archival boxes, 1 oversize box)

Biographical Note

Walter J. Damtoft (1890-1976) was a well-known forester as well as a business and civic leader who worked for the United States Forest Service and the Champion Fibre Company. Damtoft received his Masters in Forestry from Yale in 1911. From 1911 to 1917, he served as a forest examiner with the United States Forest Service in Colorado, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, New Hampshire, and North Carolina. During this time, Damtoft kept detailed diaries of his travels. In 1917 he was named administrative assistant of the Pisgah National Forest.

In 1920, he accepted the post of chief forester with the Champion Fibre Company. Damtoft was one of the nation's first full-time professional industrial foresters. As he continued his career at Champion, he also held the positions of assistant secretary, assistant secretary-treasurer, assistant division manager, and vice-president and general manager of Champion subsidiary Hamilton Laboratories. While working for Champion Fibre Company he urged farmers, industries, and state officials to properly manage the forests through conservation, selective cutting, and restoration practices. In 1951 he left his position to become acting director of the Forest Products Division of the Office of Price Stabilization in Washington, D.C.. Damtoft then returned to Champion, where he worked until his retirement in 1958. He sat on the Board of Trustees of the American Forest Products Industries from 1946 to 1959 and also belonged to the Newcomen Society, the Yale Forest School Alumni Association, and the Pen and Plate club in Asheville.

Damtoft died in 1976 at the age of 86.

Collection Overview

The Walter J. Damtoft papers hold diaries, publications, ephemera, and a cruiser's notebook documenting his career with the United States Forest Service and the Champion Fibre Company. There are also documents relating to his civic persuits and activities with Yale Alumni groups.

Collection Arrangement

The records are arranged into three series:

1. Series I: Diaries, 1911-1953

2. Series II: Publications, 1950-1981

3. Series III: Ephemera, 1911-1959

Subject Headings

  • Champion Fibre Company
  • United States. Forest Service
  • Yale University
  • American Forest Products Industries
  • Forestry schools and education
  • Forestry sciences

Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Diaries, 1911-1953.

Damtoft's diaries span his forestry career from 1911 to 1953. The volumes dated 1911 to 1917 document his work as a forest examiner with the United States Forest Service. When his home base (listed as a city) or specific park is known for a particular volume it is listed alongside the date. The 1917-1919 diaries were composed at his home base in Asheville, North Carolina and the surrounding environs as he worked as the administrative assistant for the Pisgah National Forest. Diaries from 1920 to 1953 are less detailed with daily entries of only a few sentences. They describe his work as chief forester and assistant secretary at the Champion Fibre Company. The volume dated 1951 is more detailed and recounts his time as acting director of the Forest Products Division of the Office of Price Stabilization in Washington, D.C.
   Box 1 Folder 1
Arapahoe National Park and Fraser, Colorado. July 1-November 1
   Box 1 Folder 2
Arapahoe National Park and Fraser, Colorado. November 5-January 4.
   Box 1 Folder 3
Virginia. April 24-October 11
   Box 1 Folder 4
Virginia. October 12-December 6
   Box 1 Folder 5
Shenandoah Area and Great Smoky Mountains. May 1-Decmeber 18.
   Box 1 Folder 6
Acquisitions Journal, Great Smoky Mountains
   Box 1 Folder 7
Townsend, Tennessee. January 12-June 3
   Box 1 Folder 8
Townsend, Tennessee and Great Smoky Mountains. June 4-November 1
   Box 1 Folder 9
Great Smoky Mountains. November 2-April 3
   Box 2 Folder 1
Tennessee. April 30-January 12
   Box 2 Folder 2
Damtoft's trip to visit the Panama Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco, with stops in Portland and Canada.
   Box 2 Folder 3
Great Smoky Mountains. January 13-July 5.
   Box 2 Folder 4
Abingdon, Virginia. October 16-May 24.
   Box 2 Folder 5
Asheville, North Carolina. May 25-September 28.
   Box 2 Folder 6
Asheville, North Carolina. January 5-October 17.
   Box 2 Folder 7
Asheville, North Carolina. January 3-December 11.
   Box 2 Folder 8
Champion Fibre Company
   Box 3 Folder 1
Champion Fibre Company. March 1-May 5
   Box 3 Folder 2
Champion Fibre Company. May 2 1920-January 4 1922
   Box 3 Folder 3
Champion Fibre Company. January 5 1922-December 3 1923
   Box 3 Folder 4
Champion Fibre Company. January 10-December 16.
   Box 3 Folder 5
Champion Fibre Company. January 5-December 26.
   Box 3 Folder 6
Champion Fibre Company. January 1 1926-January 7 1927
   Box 3 Folder 7
Champion Fibre Company. January 8 1927-January 2 1928
   Box 3 Folder 8
Champion Fibre Company. January 5 1928-January 2 1929
   Box 3 Folder 9
Champion Fibre Company. January 3-December 25.
   Box 3 Folder 10
Champion Fibre Company. December 28 1929-December 30 1930.
   Box 3 Folder 11
Champion Fibre Company. January 1-July 29.
   Box 3 Folder 12
Champion Fibre Company. July 30-October 25
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. One entry mentions a visit from Yehsuiro Kaino of the Japanese Forest Service.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Long entry describing a trip to Texas for a series of meetings.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Damfort notes dates of importance as the United States enters World War II.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Damfort mentions his election as president of the Southern Pulpwood Conservation Association.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Primarily personal social notes.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Primarily social and civic notes.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Primarily social and civic notes.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Describes visit to Hamilton Laboratories.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Board meetings, many entries regarding family health concerns.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company. Becomes Assistant Secretary-Treasurer and Director of the General Woods Department of Champion.
   Box 4 
Acting Director of the Forest Products Division, Office of Price Stabilization, Washington D.C.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.
   Box 4 
Champion Fibre Company.

2. Publications, 1950-1981.

Includes copies of publications relating to Damtoft and his career.
   Box 5 
The Biltmore Immortals Volume II, 1957.
Page 234 only, which features a group picture that includes Damtoft.
   Box 5 
A Half Century of Forestry in a Democracy, by Walter J. Damtoft.
Presented March 16, 1950 before the Pen and Plate Club of Asheville. Pamphlet published by American Forest Products Industries, Inc.
   Box 5 
Logging the Great Smokies, 1880-1930, by Robert S. Lambert.
Taken from Tennessee Historical Quarterly Vol. XX December, 1961. First page of article is inscribed by Lambert to Damtoft. A copy of Damtoft's reply is attached.
   Box 5 
To Build a Company: The Roots of Champion by Sarah Theurkauf.
Taken from The Champion Magazine, Number 8, 1981.
   Box 5 
Who's Who in Forestry by the Appalachian Section of the Society of American Foresters, 1975.
Page 23 only, which features a biographical sketch of Damtoft.
   Box 5 
Yale Alumni Publications.
Includes exerpts from material for the class of 1910s including Damtoft's entries for the Yale Decennial record (1920), the Twenty-Five Year record (1936), and the half-century celebration of the Yale School of Forestry (1950)

3. Ephemera, 1911-1959.

   Box 5 
American Forest Products Industries Award, 1959
   Box 5 
Cruisers Notebook, 1919
Notebook with handwritten charts and rules for calculating cords of wood and describing various tree types and yields. Dated 1919 and probably used while Damtoft was administrative assistant of Pisgah National Forest.
   Box 5 
Photograph of the Board of Conservation and Development, with Governor Luther H. Hodges, Chairman, Walter J. Damtoft, 2nd Vice Chairman. Taken at their winter meeting in Raleigh, January 1956.
Accompanied by a seperate sheet which identifies the subjects.
   Box 5 
Photograph of the Yale Forest School Class of 1911.
Accompanied by a seperate sheet which identifies the subjects.
   Box 5 
Postcard from unknown [R.W.G.], sent from Freiberg, Sachsen. 1927.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

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Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Walter J. Damtoft Papers , Library and Archives, Forest History Society, Durham, NC, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Received from Anne D. Campbell and Lisa Damtoft, 2012 and 2013

Processing Information

Processed by Lea Tiernan, April 2015

Encoded by Lea Tiernan, April 2015

Support for digitization and outreach provided by the Alvin J. Huss Endowment.