Scope and Content Note
The papers of Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) span the years 1770 to 1972 with the bulk of material dating from 1870 to 1946. The papers reflect Pinchot's activities and interests as a conservationist, professor of forestry, chief forester in the Department of Agriculture, two-term governor of Pennsylvania, labor arbitrator, and author. Additions to the papers were appended in 1985 and 1998. The collection consists of fourteen series: Diaries, Engagements and Appointment Books, Notebooks, and Journals; Family Papers; General Correspondence; Subject File; Speech File; Article File; Books and Miscellaneous Writings File; Political Campaign File; Governorship: First Administration; Governorship: Second Administration; Special Collections; Miscellany; Addition I; and Addition II.
Much of the collection is composed of correspondence files, while most of the remainder consists of subject files. Records concerning Pinchot's second administration as governor of Pennsylvania are voluminous. Although both the Family Papers and General Correspondence series are arranged chronologically, only the latter is further organized alphabetically by correspondent within the chronological sequence.
Gifford Pinchot's diaries span the years 1872-1946, and his forestry journals cover the period from 1889 to 1907. Diaries of his mother, Mary Eno Pinchot, and one of his father, James W. Pinchot, are in the Family Papers. This series also contains his parents correspondence and two groups of letters from William T. Sherman to Pinchot's father. Correspondence from Sherman to Pinchot's mother is in Addition II. Correspondence of Pinchot family members is filed in the Family Papers series, though letters exchanged between Gifford Pinchot and the members of his immediate family are also located throughout the General Correspondence series.
The General Correspondence contains material on the formation of the National Progressive Republican League, Pinchot's support of Theodore Roosevelt and Robert M. La Follette for president, the Progressive Party, progressivism in Pennsylvania, and Pinchot's dispute with Richard Ballinger, secretary of the interior, in 1909, which resulted in Pinchot's dismissal as chief forester.
The Subject File includes material on many organizations, such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Federation of Labor, the American Legion, and the American Liberty League. There is a considerable amount of material on forests and forestry, conservation, flood control, and public utilities. Pinchot's interest in prohibition is also reflected in material contained in this series.
Pinchot amassed material on many public figures, including William Edgar Borah, Louis Dembitz Brandeis, William Jennings Bryan, Thomas A. Edison, Henry Ford, John Charles Frémont, and William Randolph Hearst, as well as various presidents and cabinet members. He kept abundant notes on his trip to the South Seas in 1935, as evidenced in his diaries, and on a trip to Russia in 1902, reflected in the Subject File series. The Subject File also contains material revealing Pinchot's deep interest in the Church of God and his service on the Commission for Relief in Belgium, 1914-1915.
The Special Collections series contains the records of several Pinchot associates, including Eugene S. Bruce; Pinchot's secretary, Morris E. Gregg; Herbert A. Smith; and Philip P. Wells. Bruce worked in the Adirondack Preserve and in the Bureau of Forestry, and was responsible for selecting Chippewa Indian Reservations in Northern Minnesota for inclusion in the National Forest Reserve, 1903. Smith was a classmate of Pinchot at Yale University. In 1901 he became editor of Forest Service publications and later was responsible for the agency's public relations. Smith drafted Pinchot's annual reports to the secretary of agriculture as well as many other papers and assisted Pinchot in the preparation of Breaking New Ground. Philip P. Wells, assistant to George Woodruff of the Forest Service, 1901-1910, was an authority on water power policy and public utilities. He served as chief law officer of the Reclamation Service, 1911-1913, counsel to the National Conservation Association, deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania, 1923-1927, and chairman of Pennsylvania's Giant Power Board, 1925-1926.
Research files accumulated by Gifford Pinchot during the preparation of his book Breaking New Ground, a personal memoir detailing his efforts at establishing and promoting the principles of scientific forest management and conservation in this country, were originally chosen by Pinchot and his assistants from both the General Correspondence and Subject File series. As such they supplement these series, and, because they represent a selection, may reflect Pinchot's personal choice of the most important documents in those series. The files concerning Breaking New Ground are located in the Books and Miscellaneous Writings File.
The Miscellany containers real estate matter, and photographs as well as research notes, material relating to Pinchot's second gubernatorial administration, and indexes to speeches and news releases.
Two additions to the Pinchot Papers include family papers, correspondence, diaries, estate papers, real estate deeds, and scrapbooks. Financial papers of Amos R. Eno, New York City real estate developer and Pinchot's maternal grandfather, and the Civil War correspondence of John Phelps and Mary Phelps are in Addition II. The General Correspondence of Addition II includes Pinchot's correspondence campaign to organize opposition to the proposal to move the Forest Service into the Department of the Interior, 1921-1922. The Subject File of Addition II contains correspondence with various European foresters in 1929 concerning European forest legislation.