Rosenberry Graduate Fellowship

Walter S. Rosenberry (1931-2005), a long-time supporter and Forest History Society Board member, provided the Society’s first endowment in support of its awards program. Rosenberry received a BA degree in history from Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1953. He taught English and history at the Kent Denver School from 1959 to 1981. In addition to his career in teaching, Rosenberry was known widely for his community service and philanthropy.

Fellowship Details

Offered by the Forest History Society, the Walter S. Rosenberry Fellowship provides a $15,000 stipend to support the doctoral research of a graduate student attending a university in North America whose research contributes to forest and conservation history. Research focus on the historic relationships between humans, forests, and related resources is required. Examples of acceptable topics include:

  • forest landscape change and history
  • invasive species
  • forest and ecosystem management
  • forest policy and institutions
  • resource-dependent communities
  • private land ownership
  • science and technology developments
  • sustainability

Proposals are judged in terms of overall significance, achievability, quality of presentation, academic record, and relevance to forest history. A panel of judges that includes members of the FHS Board of Directors is convened to select the recipient. The fellowship is awarded on an annual basis with payments usually scheduled quarterly.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Provide a cover letter that states the title of the proposed research, a one-paragraph summary of the significance of the project, and a description of the historical nature of the project.
  2. Prepare a narrative description of the research project (up to eight pages), including significance of topic, research approach, author's background, research and writing schedule, and budget (how you plan to use the fellowship if awarded). Attachments are not required but may include previous publications, written chapters, and basic bibliography, etc.
  3. Supply curriculum vita, academic transcript, and 2–3 letters of recommendation from persons knowledgeable of your research. Letters of recommendation should address the student's qualifications and may describe the significance of the topic to forest and conservation history. Please have your recommendation letters sent directly from their authors to the FHS office or via email to: Please include the phrase "Rosenberry Fellowship" in the Subject line.
  4. Send an electronic copy of the proposal in PDF format to Jennifer Watson. Please include the phrase "Rosenberry Fellowship" in the Subject line. Applicants may, in addition, send one hard copy to: Jennifer Watson, Forest History Society, 2925 Academy Road, Durham, NC 27705.
  5. Deadline is March 15, 2024. Winner usually announced by mid-May.
Winners of this award are required to submit one bound copy of their dissertation to the FHS library; provide a copy of any books or articles that are emergent research products; recognize the fellowship in published articles, books, and oral presentations related to the research; and maintain membership in the Forest History Society.



George Andrei
His research follows the emergence of and conflicts over scientific-bureaucratic forestry as a major force shaping life and citizenship and forest use in rural Romania. Studying Romanian forestry from global and local perspectives, he reveals the networks of scientific activism that connected Romanian foresters to peers in the United States, Europe, and the colonized world and how these connections led them to develop seemingly paradoxical notions of rural citizenship based on duty, commodification, and environmental stewardship. At the same time, he evaluates the purchase of modern forestry practices among highland- and mountain-dwelling villagers whose socioecological systems were fundamentally transformed through these practices.


Sophie FitzMaurice
FitzMaurice's dissertation project, “Wood and the Making of Modern Communications: Telegraph Infrastructure in the U.S. Empire, c. 1846–1910,” examines how wood provided the material foundations for the modern forms of communication that usually associated with wire and electricity. These forms of communication all ultimately hinged on the ability of states or corporations to capture colossal amounts of wood and command cheap human and animal labor to move it. Telegraph construction transformed landscapes and disrupted animal habitats, even as insects, birds, and mammals disrupted telegraphic communication by interfering with poles. The story of modern communication is best understood not as a story of electricity but as a story of wood.


Kyuhyun Han
Her research project, "Seeing the Forest Like a State: Forest Management, Wildlife Conservation, and Center-Periphery Relations in Northeast China, 1949-1988," challenges the premise that the Mao era was devoid of environmental protection policies by considering Chinese scientific discussions and conservation policy in the context of the international development of environmental consciousness during that time.


Caitlyn Dye
Dye's dissertation, "The Water Factory: Governing Nature in an Andean Forest from the National Revolution to the Climate Crisis" is an interdisciplinary project which blends historical and ethnographic methods to investigate how foresters, park officials, and local peasants have imagined and produced the Tunari forest since it was established as a national park during the period of the Bolivian National Revolution.


Aaron Thomas (co-winner)
Thomas' work, "Controlling Christmas: An Environmental History of Natural and Artificial Trees," uses real and fake Christmas trees to understand their impact on debates about conservation and forestry management from the late nineteenth century to today.
Will Wright (co-winner)
Wright's project, "Nature Unbound: What Gray Wolves, Giant Sequoias, and Monarch Butterflies Tell Us about Large Landscape Conservation," examines how a patchwork of protected areas came to be viewed as part of a much larger landscape mosaic and are becoming increasingly important as lifeforms move in order to adapt to climate change.


Kathryn Lehman
"Life, Labor, and Violence in the Transnational Amazon" examines the history of the border area in the Amazon rainforest, shared by the Bolivian department of Pando and the Brazilian state of Acre, both in terms of changes in the physical environment over time and the conflicts over the use, preservation, and destruction of environmental resources.


Jackson R. Perry
Jackson’s project, “A New Milieu: Eucalyptus and the Modern Mediterranean, 1848-1896,” examines the first half-century of the modern history of Eucalyptus, an Australian tree genus that first spread beyond its native continent in the 19th century.


Nickolas Perrone
Perrone’s dissertation, "Hemlock Democracy: Nature and Capitalism in the Leather Industry, 1812-1911," focuses on leather tanning during the nineteenth century and how this industry affected the eastern hemlock forests.


Owen James Hyman
His dissertation project titled "Naturalized Race, Industrialized Forests: An Environmental History of Jim Crow in the Forest Industries of Louisiana and Mississippi, 1880-1960" will examine how ideas about the landscape shaped ideas about race and labor in the South after Reconstruction.