Blegen Article Award

The Forest History Society's (FHS) Theodore C. Blegen Award recognizes the best scholarship in forest and conservation history published in a journal other than Environmental History. FHS initiated the award in 1972.

Award Details

Named for Theodore C. Blegen, one of the founders of the Forest History Society, the Blegen award consists of a $500 cash award and a plaque. Editors of scholarly journals in the fields of forest and conservation history annually submit up to two articles from their publications for award consideration. An award subcommittee of the FHS board evaluates submissions and select the article that best exemplifies (1) contribution to new knowledge, (2) strength of scholarship, and (3) clarity and grace of presentation.

Recipients

2017

Miller, Daegan. "Reading Tree in Nature’s Nation: Toward a Field Guide to Sylvan Literacy in the Nineteenth-Century United States." The American Historical Review 121 (October 2016): 1114-1140. This essay traces a history of sylvan literacy, from its rise in the nature-based cultural nationalism of the 1830s to its eclipse in the early twentieth century by the language of professional scientists. It is also a theory of how sylvan literacy worked: more like poetry than a dictionary, open to multiple competing interpretations, put to contesting uses.

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(c) The American Historical Review

2016

Loomis, Erik. "When Loggers Were Green: Lumber, Labor, and Conservation, 1937-1948." Western Historical Quarterly 46 (Winter 2015): 421-441. From 1937 to 1948, the International Woodworkers of America challenged the timber industry's forestry practices, attempting to reshape the Northwest's timber industry to work for the sustainability of logging communities and the forest instead of corporate profits. Their activities demonstrate the long history of unions pressing for the environmental agenda of their members.

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(c) Western Historical Quarterly

2015

Reid, Jack (John). "The ‘Great Migration’ in Northern Arizona: Southern Blacks Move to Flagstaff, 1940-1960." The Journal of Arizona History 55 (Winter 2014): 469-498. In the 1940s and 1950s a wave of African Americans from the South moved westward to Flagstaff, Arizona, to work in the growing lumber industry in the region.

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(c) Journal of Arizona History

2014

Turner, Nancy J., Douglas Deur, and Dana Lepofsky "Plant Management Systems of British Columbia's First Peoples." BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly 179 (Autumn 2013): 107-133. Considers largers scale management techniques such as the use of fire to clear prairies and subalpine meadows as well as very focused actions, such as the pruning of individual shrubs.

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(c) BC Studies

2013

Rajala, Richard. "’Streams Being Ruined from a Salmon Producing Standpoint’: Clearcutting, Fish Habitat, and Forest Regulation in British Columbia, 1900-45.” BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly 176 (Winter 2012/13):93-132. Analyzes the conflict between forestry and fisheries in British Columbia during the first half of the twentieth century. Looks at fish habitat degradation, attempts at regulatory action, and the work of local forest managers and fisheries officials.

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(c) BC Studies

2012

Davis, Lynne. "Home or Global Treasure? Understanding Relationships Between the Heiltsuk Nation and Environmentalists." BC Studies: The British Columbia Quarterly 171 (Autumn 2011): 9-36. Looks at attempts to create a wilderness park in the Great Bear Rainforest area of British Columbia. Davis examines the tensions between environmentalists and the local indigenous Heiltsuk peoples who were directly impacted by the project.

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(c) BC Studies

2011

Sutter, Paul S. "What Gullies Mean: Georgia's 'Little Grand Canyon' and Southern Environmental History." The Journal of Southern History 76, No. 3 (August 2010): 579-616. Examines Providence Canyon State Park in Georgia and its human-produced canyon of soil erosion resulting from poor agricultural practices during the 19th century. Looks at the preservation of this landscape of environmental degradation and explores the importance of soil to the study of southern environmental history.

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(c) Southern Historical Association

2010

Swanson, Drew Addison. “Fighting over Fencing: Agricultural Reform and Antebellum Efforts to Close the Virginia Open Range.” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 117, No. 2 (2009): 104-139. Swanson revisits the literature and offers a reinterpretation of the drive for enclosure in the antebellum South based on concerns about productivity and fertility, rather than class.

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2009

Dant, Sara. “Making Wilderness Work: Frank Church and the American Wilderness Movement.” Pacific Historical Review 77, No. 2 (May 2008): 237-272. Argues that Church was not only at the vanguard of the evolving definition of wilderness in America but also established a viable process for designating wilderness areas. Church's coalition-building vision of wilderness as a communally defined natural space, not necessarily “untrammeled by man,” became the standard for wilderness designation

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2008

Hsiung, David C. "Food, Fuel, and the New England Environment in the War for Independence, 1775-1776" published in The New England Quarterly 80, No. 4 (December 2007):614-651. Discusses the impact of agricultural and forest products on the first year of the Revolution and the importance of local production and supply systems on the fight for control over the rebelling colonies.

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2007

Willis, Roxanne. "A New Game in the North: Alaska Native Reindeer Herding, 1890-1940." Western Historical Quarterly 37 (Autumn 2006): 277-301. Assesses the introduction of domesticated reindeer to Alaska by the missionary Sheldon Jackson, ostensibly for the benefit of native communities. Explores new ground with a compelling narrative and a keen sense for the complexities of the interaction between Native Alaskans, do-gooding Anglo-Americans, and the shifting economy of the far north.

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2006

Fiege, Mark. "The Weedy West: Mobile Nature, Boundaries, and Common Space in the Montana Landscape." Western Historical Quarterly 36 (Spring 2005): 22-47. Examines the movement of weeds across human boundaries in Montana during the 20th century, and how collective responses to that movement created common geographic space in which people adjusted land allocation to ecology.

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2005

Feldman, James. "The View from Sand Island: Reconsidering the Peripheral Economy" Western Historical Quarterly 35 (Autumn 2004): 285-307. An intriguing assessment of the relationship between local communities and their economies and the broader sweep of western environmental history.

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2004

Senter, Jim. "Live Dunes and Ghost Forests: Stability and Change in the History of North Carolina's Maritime Forests." North Carolina Historical Review 80 (July 2003): 334-371. Argues that sea level rise and increased storm frequency since the end of the Little Ice Age, rather than human activity during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, have been the primary causes of vegetation change on the barrier islands along the coast of North Carolina.

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2003

Wondrak, Alice K. "Wrestling with Horace Albright: Edmund Rogers, Visitors, and Bears in Yellowstone National Park. Part I; Part II" 52 Montana the Magazine of Western History (Autumn; Winter 2002): 2-15; 18-31. On the establishment and difficulties of prohibiting bear feeding practices within the Yellowstone National Park during the 1930s and 1950s.

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2002

Ewert, Sara E. "Evolution of an Environmentalist: Senator Frank Church and the Hells Canyon Controversy," Montana the Magazine of Western History 51 (Spring 2001): 36-51. Examines the gradual evolution of the views toward environmental politics held by Senator Frank Church of Idaho.

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2001

Andrew H. Fisher. "Working in the Indian Way: The Southwest Forest Firefighter Program and Native American Wage Labor," Arizona History, Vol. 41, No. 2, (Summer 2000):121-148.

2000

Stacy Mitchell. "Union in the North Woods: The Timber Strikes of 1937," Minnesota History, Vol. 56, No. 5, (Spring 1999): 262-277.

1999

Taylor, Joseph E., III. "El Nino and Vanishing Salmon: Culture, Nature History, and the Politics of Blame" in Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 4, (Winter, 1998):437-457.

1998

Fisher, Andrew H. "The 1932 Handshake Agreement: Yakama Indian Treaty Rights and Forest Service Policy in the Pacific Northwest" in Western Historical Quarterly , Vol. 28, No. 2, (Summer 1997): 187-217.

1997

Outland, Robert B., III. "Slavery, Work, and the Geography of the North Carolina Naval Stores Industry, 1835-1860" in Journal of Southern History , Vol. 57 (February 1996): 27-56.

1996

Mccullough, Robert I. "A Forest in Every Town: Vermont's History of Communal Woodlands" in Vermont History , Vol. 64 (Winter 1996):5-35.

1995

Pyne, Stephen J. "Nataraja: India's Cycle of Fire" in Environmental History Review , Vol. 18 (Fall 1994): 1-20.

1994

Rajala, Richard A. "The Forest as Factory: Technological Change and Worker Control in the West Coast Logging Industry, 1880-1930" in Labour/Le Travail , Vol. 32 (Fall 1993): 73-104.

1993

Cronon, William J. "A Place for Stories: Nature, History, and Narrative" in Journal of American History , Vol. 78 (March 1992): 1347-1376.

1992

Duncan, Colin A. M. "On Identifying a Sound Environmental Ethic in History: Prolegomena to Any Future Environmental History" in Environmental History Review , Vol. 15 (Summer 1991): 5-30.

1991

Dilsaver, Lary M. and Douglas H. Strong. "Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks: One Hundred Years of Preservation and Resource Management" in California History , Vol. 69 (Summer 1990): 98-117.

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