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George Harris Collingwood Collection, 1910-1915.


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Collingwood, George Harris
Collection NameGeorge Harris Collingwood Collection,
Inclusive Dates: 1910-1915.
Physical Description5 inches
AbstractThis collection contains correspondence between Collingwood, his family and his fiancee in Michigan about his forest ranger job near Springerville, Arizona. It also includes his descriptions about the people around him, the life around him and his trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Collection NumberNAU.MS.90
Language English.
Repository Cline Library. Special Collections and Archives Department.
Northern Arizona University
Box 6022
Flagstaff, AZ 86011-6022
Phone: 928 523 5551
Fax: 928 523 3770

Biographical Note

George Harris Collingwood was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 1890. He spent his formative years in Lansing and East Lansing, Michigan. He graduated from Lansing High School, and in 1906 he enrolled at Michigan Agricultural College as a preparatory student. Mr. Collingwood chose forestry as a major. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry, 1911.

During the summer and early fall of 1910 Collingwood served as a United States Forest Service Field Assistant in Springerville, Arizona. He returned to Springerville upon graduation and to work full time for the Forest Service. His duties included examining, surveying, reforestation, seeding and work on forest homesteads.

Collingwood was appointed Assistant Ranger on May 16, 1912. He was promoted to District Ranger on October 1, 1912 and assumed charge of the Clifton Ranger District, Apache National Forest. As district ranger handled timber sales, claims, grazing and all district administrative details.

On June 1, 1913 he received leave, without pay, to study tree disease under Professor Von Tubeuf and forest politik from Professor Eudres at the University of Munich.

Mr. Collingwood returned to the United States after the outbreak of World War I. He returned to work on the Apache National Forest where he was appointed an Assistant Forest Ranger on September 25, 1914.

Collingwood returned to the University of Michigan in 1915 for further graduate studies. During this time he met and married his future wife Jean Grinnell Cummings. The two were married in 1916.

In 1916, he was appointed assistant professor of forestry at Cornell University's College of Agriculture. He resigned in 1923 to become an extension forester with the United States Department of Agriculture. He helped develop the federal farm forestry program with the various state colleges for agriculture. From 1928-1940 he was forester for the American Forestry Association. He directed the Association's education program with the forest industry, private land owners and federal and state agencies.

Mr. Collingwood was one of the nation's leading conservation exponents; he made numerous appearances before congressional and state legislatures. The National Lumber Manufacturers Association appointed him their chief forester in 1940. In this postion he established an industry-wide conservation program.

He was affiliated with the national housing agencies from 1946-1947. In 1948 and 1949, Mr. Collingwood was a research consultant to the Hoover Commission, the United States Chamber of Commerce, and he was appointed to the Library of Congress Legislative Reference Bureau.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of one box of letters xeroxed from the Collingwood Manuscripts Collection of the Forest History Society. The letters cover the following periods: June 30, 1910 to September 15, 1910; June 29, 1911 to December 26, 1911; January 1, 1912 to December 27 1912; January 1, 1913 to May 12, 1913; and September 12 1914 to August 25, 1915.

The letters during the first four periods are strictly between Mr. Collingwood and his father, mother and two sisters, Rebecca and Laura. The last period contains only letters to his fiancee, Miss Jean Grinnell Cummings. In the last period are letters in a printed article; "Sincerely Yours, Harris," Forest History, XII (January 1964), pp. 11-28, edited by Joseph A. Miller and Judith Rudnicki.

Mr. Collingwood was a prolific writer, the letters are well written and informative. His training in geology, botany, and agriculture are reflected in them; he graphically described Arizona's fauna, flora and geological aspects. He documented his impressions of Mormons, Mexicans, prospectors, cow puncher, Chinese, Negroes, and sheepherders. The letters are very objective.

As a Forest Ranger he traveled extensively through he areas between Springerville, St. Johns, Holbrook, and Clifton. He spent months in the Clifton-Metcalf area and also effectively described other settlements in the area. During his travels, he spent much time living among the various types of people in the areas, and he wrote home about many of them. He noted the "unwritten code" that caused the people to extend their hospitality, sharing whatever they had, sometimes only boiled potatoes. The optimism, hard work, and motivation of the prospectors fascinated him. He described frontier entertainment as consisting of dancing, singing, and reading.

It is interesting to note that Forest Service rangers were mostly college graduates. The letters indicate that numerous settlers were from the mid-west. Some were college graduates working in Mexican stores.

The letters were written in diary form. Collingwood usually described a day's routine to his family. It is apparent that Mr. Collingwood enjoyed his Arizona experiences; however, he experienced periods of loneliness and home-sickness.


Organized in one series.
I. Correspondence.





It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for Northern Arizona University, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Related Material

Inland Forest Resource Council [manuscript] NAU.MS.272
Koch, Charles[manuscript] NAU.MS.118
Price, Jay Collection [manuscript] NAU.MS.177
U.S. Department of Agriculture/Coconino National Forest Collection [manuscript] NAU.MS.262

Access Points

Personal Name(s)
Collingwood, G. H. (George Harris), 1890-1958--Correspondence.

Corporate Name(s)
Forest History Society (Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Geographic Name(s)
Arizona--Social life and customs.
Arizona--Description and travel.
Grand Canyon (Ariz.)
Springerville (Ariz.)

Forest management--Arizona.
Forest rangers--Arizona.
Forests and forestry--Arizona.
Personal archives--Michigan.
Voyages and travels.

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Harris Collingwood Collection, NAU.MS.90, Cline Library. Special Collections and Archives Dept.

Container List

Series One, 1 box, correspondence, 1910-1916.
The following letters were copied from the Collingwood Manuscripts Collection of the Forest History Society.
1.1 Miscellaneous letters, 1915-1916.
From fellow ranger Baker, Ranchers A.T. and T.P. Wilson, Collingwood's supervisors, Mr. Gutherie and Mr. Winn of the Civil Service Commission and part of a questionnaire as an application for the Forest Ranger exam.
1.2-6 Correspondence to mother, father and sister Rebecca, June 30, 1910-May 25, 1913.
1.7 Correspondence to Miss Jean Grinnell Cummings. ,
This folder also contains the article "Sincerely Yours, Harris"