D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

Peter J. Hanlon and James K. Vessey Collection

M2003.3.1-2 [M2003.6.1-3]

Photograph of "Peter J. Hanlon and James K. Vessey in Pisgah National Forest"
Peter J. Hanlon and James K. Vessey Collection

Title Peter J. Hanlon and James K. Vessey Collection
Identifier http://toto.lib.unca.edu/findingaids/mss/hanlon/default_hanlon_v.html
Creator Peter J. Hanlon
Alt. Creator  Cradle of Forestry 
Subject Keyword Schenck, Carl Alwin; Pinchot, Gifford;  Veach, John D. ; Hanlon, Peter J.; Vessey, James K. ; Verne Rhoades ; Harry Rossell ; Cradle of Forestry in America ; Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.) ; Biltmore Forest School ; Pisgah National Forest ; Nantahala National Forest ; U.S. Forest Service ; "Olmstead Lands"; Walter Julius Damtoft ; Ruben Robertson ; Weeks Law ;
Subject LCSH Hanlon, Peter J.
Vessey, James K.
Rhoades, Verne
Cliff, Ed
Conger, Edwin
Craig, James B. 
Damtoft, Walter Julius
Erickson, H. C. 
Evenson, C.M. 
Foss, Gilbert A. 
Gilmore, Voigt
Hensley, Charles
Huber, W.W.
Nelson, Art W.
Pomeroy, Kenneth B.
Preston, R.J.
Rhoades, Dorthea
Rhoades, Verne
Robertson, Ruben
Rossell, Harry
Schlapfer, T.A.
Schultz, E.W.
Schenck, Carl Alwin, 1868-1955
Towell, William E. (Bill)
Veach, John D.
Veach, Jane
Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.)
Biltmore Forest School
Cradle of Forestry in America
Forests and forestry--North Carolina
Forests and forestry--United States
Forest Policy--United States
Old growth forests--North Carolina 
Pisgah National Forest (N.C.)
United States. Dept. of Agriculture
United States.  Forest Service.  Southern Region.
Description The collection consists of two boxes of materials collected by James K. Vessey and Peter J. Hanlon documenting the history of the creation of what became known as the Cradle of Forestry in America on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.; the history of the Biltmore Forest School, which operated from 1898 to 1913 under the leadership of German-born forester Carl Alwin Schenck (1868-1955); and the broader history of national forests in western North Carolina, especially the Nantahala and the Pisgah national forests.  Correspondence, minutes of meetings of the Cradle of Forestry Advisory Committee, brochures, pamphlets, maps, newspaper clippings, reprinted journal articles, newsletters of the Southern Region of the U.S. Forest Service, photographs, a musical score "Down Under the Hill" [alma mater of the Biltmore Forest School], and reports are included in the collection. Particular mention of the celebration of the Weeks Law in 1961, in western North Carolina, is included.

Mr. Vessey is a former regional forester with the U.S. Forest Service in Region 8 (Southern Region), and he served on the Cradle of Forestry Advisory Committee/Commission, which was apparently responsible for raising funds for and planning the development of the Cradle of Forestry site and its educational and interpretive programs.  Mr. Hanlon, a forest supervisor with National Forests in North Carolina (an organizational unit of the U.S. Forest Service), contracted with the U.S. Forest Service in the early 1970s to write a history of N.C. national forests.  Some of the materials collected by Hanlon date to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The Vessey materials date primarily from the 1960s and 1970s.

Publisher D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804
Contributor Cradle of Forestry ; Forest History Society
Date Digital creation: 2002-12-02, Updated 2005-12-13 JW
Type Collection ; Text ; Images
Format  Three boxes
Source M2003.6.1-3
Language English
Relation Ruben Robertson Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville ; William Nothstein Oral History, D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville ; Walter Julius Damtoft Collection,  D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections, UNC Asheville.
Coverage 1923 - present ; Asheville, NC ; western North Carolina 
Rights No restrictions.
Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendents, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor  Donor no. 194 (Forest History Society, Duke University)
Acquisition 2000-01-10 
Citation Peter J. Hanlon and James K. Vessey Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804.
Processed by D.H. Ramsey Library Special Collections staff, 04/2003
Biography Peter Hanlon

In the middle of the 1930ís Hanlon entered the Forest Service in the Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania.  He retired in 1970 after having served as supervisor for the North Carolina National Forests for ten years.

Peter J. Hanlon negotiated the addition of the 6,000-acre gorge to the Nantahala National Forest.  The land was donated by Percy Ferebee, who was for 50 years the mayor of Andrews and a leading figure in the development of Western North Carolina.  The Forest Service had tried to buy the land before, but Ferebee instead gave the land in his will, dying in 1970.           

During his long career with the Forest Service Hanlon helped to create the Cradle of Forestry, the first forestry school in America, and prevented the closing of Sliding Rock to the public.  Officials were worried that people would harm themselves on the natural waterslide, but Hanlon felt that people should have the chance to decide for themselves.  Hanlon also advocated multiple uses of federal lands, such as recreation, wildlife habitats, and timber harvests.

Even after his retirement Hanlon continued to take an active interest in the management of the Forest Service and contributed his thoughts on many issues.  He was upset over the extreme agendas of some environmental groups, believing that humans were a part of the environment too, and should not be taken out of the equation when dealing with natural resource management.

Hanlon spent most of his thirty-five year long retirement in Fairview, where he kept a garden that provided vegetables and beauty for the neighborhood.  The garden was so well done that it was featured in national magazines.  Hanlon died on July 3rd, 2004, in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  He was 98 years old.

Biography James K. Vessey

James K. Vessey was born July 2nd, 1904 in Mont Clare, Pennsylvania.  As a young man he attended high school in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and then went on to Pennsylvania State University.  He received his Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 1925, and belonged to the Alpha Zeta fraternity, the Xi Sigma Pi fraternity, and the Gamma Sigma Delta fraternity.  After graduating Vessey went on to work in private business and industry for eight years.  He held jobs in Landscape Architecture and contracting, Ornamental Nursery, and Furniture manufacturing. 

In 1933 Vessey entered the United States Forest Service in the Allegheny National Forest as a staff assistant on the supervisorís staff.  He stayed in this position for a year and a half before moving to become a ranger at Conway and Plymouth in White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire for the next four years.  After this time was up Vessey became associate forester working on Cooperative Forest Fire Control and Forest Management in the Philadelphia Regional Office.  Two years later Vessey became supervisor of the Green Mountain National Forest and then in February 1945 Vessey became assistant regional forester, Chief of the Division of Information and Education in the Eastern and Northern Rocky Mountain Regions (Montana and northern Idaho)

.In June 1956 Vessey was moved to the North Central Region where he was assistant regional forester and Chief of the Division of State and Private Forestry.  This job put Vessey in charge of Forest Service participation in with state agencies and private timberland owners in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.  These groups worked together on cooperative fire, tree planting, and on-the-ground technical assistance programs. Following that Vessey became the regional forester for the Southern Region in March 1958.

In 1956 Vessey had received the Nash Conservation Award, and during his time working for the Forest Service Vessey belonged to multiple associations, including the following:

Society of American Foresters (Senior Member)
Soil Conservation Society of America (Fellow Member)

Charter member, William Penn chapter, Charter Member. (Served two years on the National Council.  Chairman, 1953 Annual Meeting Program Committee.  Chairman, Philosophy and Basic Objectives Committee which developed the new base for societal development.  Second Vice President in 1957.)

National Grange (7th Degree)
National Association of Soil Conservation Districts (associate member)
Outdoor Writers Association of America
American Forestry Association
Izaak Walton League of America
National Wildlife Federation
Conservation Education Association
Montana Stockgrowers Association
Montana Woolgrowers Association
Montana Chamber of Commerce
Montana Advertising Body of the State Highway Commission
Western Montana Fish and Game Association
Missoula Chamber of Commerce
Salvation Army (executive board)
Western Montana Council of Boy Scouts of America (executive board)
Cradle of Forestry           

Mrs. Vessey was a pianist who played with the Community Chamber Groups including a concert series held as a part of The Arts Forumís Festival II.  The coupleís daughter, Norma Sue, was born in 1947 and attended Paxton School and then Western Carolina College.  The couple also had a son, James K. Junior, who in 1956 was serving with the United States Army in France and married in 1966.

[See also Forestry VF]

  "Down Under the Hill" [alma mater of the Biltmore Forest School]
Series listings Series 1:  Histories

Series 2:  Legislation and Resolutions

Series 3:  Surveys

Series 4:  Annual Reports

Series 5:  Wildlife Management Documents

Series 6:  Planning for Cradle of Forestry

Series 7:  Cradle of Forestry Advisory Committee

Series 8:  Meeting Programs and Agendas

Series 9:  Week's Law 50th Anniversary

Series 10:  Publications (Newsletters, brochures, misc.)

Series 11:  Verne Rhoades

Series 12:  Harry Rossell

Series 13:  Correspondence

Series 14:  Newspaper Clippings

Series 15:  Journal Articles

Series 16:  Maps

Series 17:  Photographs

Box Folder Description
M2003.6.1 Series 1: Histories

[2 items]

Partial history of national forests in North Carolina (1982), a history of The Uwharrie Purchase Unit in North Carolina (1957).
Series 2: Legislation and Resolutions 
[24 items]
Congressional records of congressman Roy A. Taylor pertaining to Schenk Job Corps Conservation Center, a copy of a Supreme Court case pertaining to The Hiawassee Lumber Company,  correspondence and materials related to a bill introduced in 1907 to set aside land for an Appalachian forest reserve, materials related to the Olmstead Lands, resolutions pertaining to the cooperation of various government agencies in overseeing national forests, a congressional report on the establishment of The Cradle of Forestry in America.  (1905-1975)                                                                                                                           
Series 3: Surveys
[5 items]
Surveys of land primarily in Cherokee, Clay and Graham counties in North Carolina, miscellaneous materials related to surveys (1880, 1895, 1906, n.d.).
Series 4: Annual Reports
[5 items]
Report from The Forestry Commission, report on The R-8 Timber Management Program, miscellaneous notes (1988, n.d.).
Series 5: Wildlife Management Documents
[30 items]
Correspondence and memoranda dealing with wildlife management on national forests, charts, a report titled "Thirty Years of Game Management on Pisgah National Forest," annual reports on wildlife management, a USDA circular outlining rules for the public at Pisgah National Game Preserve.  (1921-1948, n.d.)
Series 6: Planning for Cradle of Forestry
[3 items]
Notes (1963), an agenda for a meeting (1970), a manuscript titled "Cradle of Forestry: Interpretive Story Plan Outline" (n.d.).
[1 item]
Spiral bound publication titled "Cradle of Forestry in America" that outlines the rationale for the establishment of the sight. (n.d.)
[1 item]
Spiral bound publication titled "Cradle of Forestry in America: Exhibit Area Plan Forest Festival Trail" (1972). 
[1 item]
Spiral bound publication titled "Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Story Plane Phase I." (n.d.)
[3 items]
Spiral bound publication titled "Cradle of Foresty [sic] in America: Master Plan Phase II" (1970), charter of the Cradle of Forestry in America Advisory Commission with a list of its members (1970), a large project plan chart (n.d.).
[1 item]
Spiral bound publication titled "Cradle of Forestry in America: Interpretive Area Plan" (1973).
M2003.6.2 Series 7: Cradle of Forestry Advisory Committee
[1 item]
Spiral bound publication titled "Cradle of Forestry in America: Cradle Advisory Committee Meeting August 10, 1971."  
[8 items]
Minutes of meetings and lists of members of the Cradle of Forestry Advisory Committee (1970-1972, n.d.).
Series 8: Meetings, Programs and Agendas

[2 items]
An agenda for the New Era Celebration of the Cradle of Forestry in America (1988), a program for the 89th Anniversary of The American Forestry Association and 54th Anniversary of the North Carolina Forest Association (1964).
Series 9: Week's Law 50th Anniversary
[10 items]
A program for the Week's Law anniversary, a transcript of a radio interview dealing with Week's Law, schedule and notes regarding the celebration, a chart that illustrates the progress of forest fire control under Week's Law. (1961, n.d.) 
Series 10: Publications
[16 items]
Folders and brochures relating to the Cradle of Forestry and the Biltmore Forest School, biographical information on Carl Schenck and Gifford Pinchot, an essay titled "This Was Forestry in America: The Biltmore Forest School 1898-1913," a musical score of the song of the Biltmore Forest School -- "Down Under the Hill" [alma mater of the Biltmore Forest School], a report titled "Forest Facts for Western North Carolina (1985)," miscellaneous items.
[7 items]
A report titled "National Forest in North Carolina: Birthplace of American Forestry," a report from 1961 on the USFS Southern District, an essay titled "An Appalachian Forest Reserve," newsletters, a report on the national forests and purchase units of region eight, miscellaneous items (1964-1988).
[1 item]
U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Eastern District Administrative Handbook-issued December, 1927.
[14 items]
Newsletters from the USFS Southern Region (January-December 1940, January 1971, May 1987).
M2003.6.3 Series 11: Verne Rhoades
[19 items]
An essay by Rhoades titled "The Fashioning of the Cradle of Forestry in America," newspaper articles related to Rhoades, an address given by William E. Highsmith at the dedication of the Verne Rhoades Science building (University of North Carolina Asheville), a short biography and biographical notes on Rhoades, a report (apparently written by Rhoades) titled "National Forest Timber Harvesting Practices in the South," spiral bound compilation of materials related to the dedication of Rhoades' portrait at the Cradle of Forestry, photographs of dedication, a report sent to Rhoades dealing with Norris Lake Forest, miscellaneous materials. (1936-1971, n.d.)
Series 12: Harry Rossoll
[8 items]
A letter from Rossoll to Peter Hanlon, cartoon sketching by Rossoll, newspaper article featuring Rossoll, a newsletter outlining Rossoll's career, miscellaneous items.  (1941-1990, n.d.)   
Series 13: Correspondence
[46 items]
Correspondence (1962-1974, n.d.)--incoming and outgoing--of Vessey pertaining to fundraising for the establishment of the Cradle of Forestry in America site, interpretive planning, acquisition of artifacts for the site, the dedication of the Verne Rhoades portrait at the Cradle of Forestry, and Advisory Committee meetings.
[32 items]
Hanlon correspondence--incoming and outgoing--with various Forest Service personnel, includes contract materials for Hanlon's writing of the history of the national forests in North Carolina, miscellaneous correspondence.  (1938-1988, n.d.)                   
Series 14: Newspaper Clippings
[18 items]
Articles about the Biltmore Forest School, the Cradle of Forestry in America, the Nantahala National Forest, the Pisgah National Game Preserve, miscellaneous articles.  (1940-1989, n.d.)
Series 15: Journal Articles
[11 items]
Articles dealing with the Cradle of Forestry in America, an article about the battle between federal agencies over control of national forests, miscellaneous articles.  (1962-1970, n.d.)
Series 16: Maps
[3 items]
A recreation map of the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests (1964), a map of Pisgah National Forest (1945), a helicopter and auto map of Pisgah National Forest (1961).
Series 17: Photographs

[23 items]
Photographs of game management at the Pisgah National Game Preserve, the dedication of Verne Rhoades portrait at the Cradle of Forestry, the celebration of the opening of the Cradle of Forestry, miscellaneous.