Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
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Collection Identifier(s)
[Vermont Forest Service Films], 2196
Perry H. Merrill
Credit: Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Tung oil tree plantation in Florida, 1931.
Credit: Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Collection, Northeast Historic Film. Civilian Conservation Corps at work in Vermont, ca. 1940.
Primary Format and Extent
film (1,740 ft.) : si., b&w and col. ; 16 mm.
Collection Date Range
1937 - 1968
The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Collection consists of 18 reels of 16 mm. film shot by Perry H. Merrill between 1930 and 1960 and two reels devoted to Ripton Job Corps from 1968. The collection also contains three publications written by Merrill: Forestry in Vermont, 1947; History of Forestry in Vermont, 1909-1959, and his autobiography, The Making of a Forester: An Autobiographical History. Footage shows the Vermont Forests, Parks and Recreation Department, depicting a variety of activities including parades, skiing, picnicking, forestry, battling brush fires, and maple sugaring, with special attention to landscape and the outdoor environment. The collection shows the Civilian Conservation Corps workers and offers views of lumber workers and camp buildings at the Diamond Match Camp in Grindstone, Maine. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Collection also contains a 1949 sponsored film, “Cash Crops from Vermont Woodlands,” produced by the Trees For Vermont Committee and the American Forest Products Industries, Inc., made to encourage and instruct farmers on how to turn their woods into viable year-round sources of income.
Biographical/Historical Notes
Donor Ed O’Leary, Director of Operations at the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, found the collection in a desk at work, still in original shipping boxes. The films were postmarked 1937-1941.

Creator Perry H. Merrill was a Vermont official who was instrumental in establishing the state’s system of forests and parks, and who enjoyed making personal films. Merrill’s career began as assistant state forester in 1924. He served as the state forester from 1930-1955, and became Director of the Department of Forestry, Parks and Recreation in 1956.

Aware of the advantage of available state-owned land ready for development, Merrill was responsible for bringing the aid of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to Vermont in the 1930s. The CCC worked as part of Merrill’s aggressive conservation campaign, putting Vermont’s state recreational development ahead by years, and improving forests and parks by pruning and thinning, adding amenities, and building access roads for fire protection and better overall management.

Often called the patron saint of the ski industry in Vermont, Merrill was third on the Rutland Herald's list of most influential Vermonters of the 20th century. On fellowship in Sweden during the 1920s, Merrill was exposed to alpine and nordic skiing for the first time. As a forester, he affirmed that the money from the ski industry could then finance a system for state forests and parks.

After his retirement 1966, Perry H. Merrill made an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor and served two terms in the Vermont House. He was an avid writer, publishing histories of Vermont forestry, the state of Vermont, the conservation corps, and an autobiography The Making of a Forester: An Autobiographical History WorldCat

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 for more information.
Items in this collection: 18
Showing 1 - 10 of 18:
1) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 1
Parade of military or paramilitary men in large city (Boston?). One points to donkey with "Miss Arizona" blanket on her. Men in uniform mill around entrance to Police Station. Women...more
2) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 2
Pans brush or grass burns in wooded area. Young men in shirtsleeves use hoses, rakes, and cloths on poles to beat down flames. Cut to man chopping trunk of large tree as men in suits...more
3) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 3
Pan summer landscape. Large grassy area around a lake. People sit in groups. Pans show forested hills in background, and a shack to buy lunch. Many cars fill the parking lot. Undere...more
4) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 4
Pan across three mountainous piles of logs to lumber mill on pond, with mountains in background. Sign "American Fork & Hoe True Temper Products" The mill is in Groveton, NH, near the...more
5) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 5
Pan apple trees in spring bloom, and people walking through an orchard. People standing, sitting, watch event in a building. Pan parking lot full of cars in spring or summer. This ap...more
6) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 6
Pan sunset over mountain range. Woman in Sunday suit and hat stands by lake. Viewed of parked truck marked "Conservation Department Forest Fire Control District No. 1." Several dres...more
7) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 7
Slow pan in forested area to man standing in cleared area and young men in Civilian Conservation Corps (?) uniforms with shovels working in area with wheelbarrows and shovels to move d...more
8) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 8
Fields of gladiola flowers bloom in Groton, VT, in Groton State Forest.more
9) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 9
Ski resort in snow with lift working at bottom of mountain, people taking lift to top of mountain, skiing on trail in woods. People ski to small log hut. Pan from hut on top of mounta...more
10) [Vermont Forest Service Films] Reel 10
Underexposed views of picnickers in shady forest. Pans from mountaintop over valley and mountains beyond. Summer views of group of people dressed up coming to the picnic area for an e...more
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