Harvard Forest Collection
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Collection Identifier(s)
[Harvard Forest Films], 2534
[Harvard Forest Films], 2534
Credit: Harvard Forest Collection, Northeast Historic Film. A craftsman at Guernsey and Pitman's Studio in Cambridge, MA, painting the background for a model of Harvard Forest.
Credit: Harvard Forest Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Forest stewardship.
Primary Format and Extent
film (10,175 ft.) : si., b&w and col. ; 16 mm.
Collection Date Range
1926 - 1978
The Harvard Forest Collection consists of 44 reels of film shot between 1926 and 1978. The bulk of the films, shot between 1928 and 1939, depict the efforts of various employees, students and researchers at Harvard Forest to preserve the forest and adhere to the principles of forestry. Life and work in the forest include researchers making note of the various kinds of trees and conducting research on seedlings in the nursery, loggers and fire fighters. A few of the films depict similar work conducted in other forests: Pisgah State Park in Winchester, NH, and Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, NY, such as the use in the latter of early 20th century kilns to make charcoal.

The majority of the films contain intertitles and were meant for instruction. Also included in the collection are several professionally produced educational films ranging in subject matter from the logging industry and ecology to genetics. A few films in the collection document the creation of the Harvard Forest dioramas in the Fisher Museum. There is footage from a film entitled The Five Outposts Of Harvard in the collection that contains information about various research stations owned by Harvard University. Also included in the collection is footage from the Petersham Historical Society of Memorial Day parades and ceremonies in Petersham, MA.

Biographical/Historical Notes
Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, is both a world-renowned center for conducting ecological research in the field of forestry and a wildlife recreation area. Founded in 1907 on land secured for Harvard University through the generosity of John S. Ames and the collaboration of James W. Brooks of Petersham, Harvard Forest supports a forest growth of varied composition and was initially designed to be a field laboratory for graduate students in Harvard’s forestry program, an experiment station for research in forestry and a model forest to demonstrate the best practices of forestry. After the death of Harvard Forest’s first director, Richard T. Fisher, the Assistant Director, Albert C. Cline, took charge until a replacement candidate could be found. Cline was named as the Director of Harvard Forest in 1939, after the departure of the interim candidate.

The Black Rock Forest in Cornwall, NY, was was officially designated a research and demonstration forest in 1928 by its owner, Dr. Ernest G. Stillman. Black Rock Forest Consortium This was also around the time that Mr. Fisher and Stillman conceived of the Harvard Forest dioramas as an exhibit depicting the land-use history, ecology and conservation of New England forests.

Dr. Ernest G. Stillman (1884-1949) graduated from Harvard University in 1908 and earned an MD from Columbia University in 1913. He practiced medicine, conducted pulmonary research, and his philanthropic work included supporting the Fisher Museum at Harvard Forest, underwriting the Harvard Forest dioramas.

See also the Ernest G. Stillman Collection.

People and Organizations
Harvard Forest
Northeast Historic Film
The Collection is open for research.
Condition Governing Reproduction and Use
Authorization to reuse and/or reproduce must be obtained from Northeast Historic Film. See http://www.oldfilm.org/research for more information.
Items in this collection: 39
Showing 1 - 10 of 39:
1) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 1
Footage of a crowd of people, some of whom are holding umbrellas, standing around in a forest. Notes on can: “Fisher Memorial Dedication” Notes in can: “Fisher Memorial Dedication pic...more
2) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 2
Footage of broken and downed trees as a result of a hurricane intercut with shots of workmen using a crane and dump trucks to move large rocks, build a retaining wall and clear out down...more
3) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 3
Footage of workers unloading logs from trucks with pick poles and measuring them. A shot of men loading logs onto a truck. A shot of a horse twitching, or dragging, logs. A shot of a...more
4) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 4
A shot of wind blowing through a snowy forest. A shot of workers cutting branches and logs with a circular saw. A shot of a woman walking along a wooden shed. A shot of workers unloa...more
5) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 5
Reel 5 is a largely animated educational film about genetics and the role chromosomes play in heredity through mitosis and meiosis as well as chromosomal disorders. The early part of t...more
6) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 6
Intertitle: “The Forest of tomorrow” Footage of workers in the forest, including digging and loading a truck. Intertitle: “Three generations of Harvard Forest workers” A shot of thre...more
7) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 7
Footage of a stream running over some rocks. A few shots of boards stacked high in a lumber yard. Footage of trees and brush in Harvard Forest intercut with workers marking and choppi...more
8) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 8
Intertitle: ”Harvard Forest Students of 1930 Left to Right: Lotti, Daley, Herr, Branch” A shot of four men sitting by a tree. Intertitle: ”Field Headquarters for Old Growth Forest Stu...more
9) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 9
Intertitle: “Petersham Views Southern End of the Barre Woods” A shot of a man pointing at a sign that reads “Harvard Forest Boundary”. A few shots of a road through the woods. Intert...more
10) [Harvard Forest Films] Reel 10
Intertitle: “White pine in need of thinning Wind causes crown friction” A shot of a man in the woods followed by a few shots of tree tops blowing in the wind. Intertitle: “Marking the...more
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