Inventory of the Greeley Family Papers, 1908 – 2004

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: William B. Greeley (1879-1955) was a pivotal figure in the history of public and private forest management in the United States. Greeley began his distinguished career with the U.S. Forest Service in 1904, and eventually rose to become the third chief of the Forest Service in 1920. He married Gertrude Jewett Greeley (1878-1970) in 1907. One of their four children, Arthur White Greeley (1912-2004), also worked for the Forest Service, beginning his career in 1935 and eventually rising to the position of Associate Chief.

The collection includes materials documenting the life and career of William B. Greeley, his wife Gertrude J. Greeley, and their son Arthur W. Greeley. Contained in the collection are letters, notes, correspondence, published and unpublished articles, a personal diary, speeches, newspaper clippings, and photographs. The bulk of the collection documents the U.S. Forest Service careers of William and Arthur Greeley.

Title: Greeley Family Papers, 1908 - 2004

Creator: Greeley family

Repository: Forest History Society Library and Archives

Call Number: 7898

Language of Material: Material in English

Extent: 1.0 linear feet (2 archival boxes)


Biographical Note

William Buckhout Greeley (1879-1955)

William Buckhout Greeley was born in Oswego, New York, on September 6, 1879. He graduated from the University of California in 1901, and from the Yale Forest School in 1904 with a M.F. Following graduation, he began his career with the Bureau of Forestry (now U.S. Forest Service), and was quickly promoted through various positions (including serving as the first District Forester in District [now Region] One) to chief of the Branch of Forest Management in 1911. During World War I, Greeley served in Europe with the 20th Engineers (Forestry) and ended the war as a lieutenant colonel. He served as the third chief of the U.S. Forest Service from 1920 to 1928. Greeley then retired to take the influential position of secretary-manager of the West Coast Lumbermen's Association. The position allowed him to continue the work of fostering close cooperation between federal and state agencies and the timber industry, from the industry side.

After his retirement in 1946, he continued his leadership in forestry by serving as chairman of the American Forest Products Industries. Greeley had a leading role in planning and financing Yale Forest School's development program in order to meet post-war challenges. For his efforts he was posthumously honored by his alma mater with the naming of the William B. Greeley Memorial Laboratory. Greeley died on November 30, 1955.

Gertrude Jewett Greeley (1878-1970)

Gertrude Maxwell Jewett (Greeley) was born in 1878 in Redwood City, California. She attended the University of California where she met William Buckhout Greeley. She worked as a public school teacher in California for five years after graduating, before marrying William Greeley in the summer of 1907. The couple lived in Connecticut, California, Montana, Washington, D.C., and Maryland over the following decades. Mrs. Greeley raised four children: Mary Jewett Greeley, Arthur White Greeley, Henry Jewett Greeley, and David Curtis Greeley.

Arthur White Greeley (1912-2004)

William and Gertrude Greeley's son, Arthur White Greeley, was born in Washington, D.C., on August 1, 1912. Arthur Greeley received his B.S. degree in forestry from the University of Washington in 1934, and his Masters of Forestry degree from Yale University in 1935.

Greeley began his Forest Service career in 1935 as an assistant ranger on the St. Joe National Forest in Idaho. After a series of promotions, he became Regional Forester for Alaska in 1953. In 1956 Greeley moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was appointed Regional Forester of the North Central Region. In 1959 he moved to the Washington office, and in 1966 was appointed Associate Chief of the Forest Service.

Greeley retired from the Forest Service in 1971 to become a Christian minister. He graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in 1974, and served as Associate Pastor at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church in Maryland from 1973 to 1982. He was a member and president of the Order of St. Luke from 1978 until his death on June 5, 2004.


Collection Overview

The collection includes materials documenting the life and career of William B. Greeley, his wife Gertrude J. Greeley, and their son Arthur W. Greeley. Contained in the collection are letters, notes, correspondence, published and unpublished articles, a personal diary, speeches, newspaper clippings, and photographs. The bulk of the collection documents the U.S. Forest Service careers of William and Arthur Greeley.

Collection Arrangement

Collection materials are arranged into 4 series:

Series 1: William Buckhout Greeley

1.1 Diary

1.2 World War I

1.3 Articles

1.4 Correspondence

1.5 News Clippings

1.6 Events

1.7 Biographical

Series 2: Arthur White Greeley

2.1 Correspondence

2.2 Speeches

2.3 Articles

2.4 Events

2.5 News Clippings

2.3 Biographical

Series 3: Gertrude Jewett Greeley

3.1 Correspondence

3.2 Oral History

Series 4: Photographs


Subject Headings

  • Forests and forestry -- United States -- History
  • Greeley, Arthur White
  • Greeley, William Buckhout, 1879-1955
  • United States. Forest Service
  • United States. Forest Service -- Officials and employees


Detailed Description of the Collection

1. William Buckhout Greeley, 1908-1969.
1.1. Personal Diary, 1908-1909.

Personal diary of William B. Greeley, with entries dated between September 21, 1908 to March 1, 1909.

  • Box 1
    • Folder 1.1
      William B. Greeley diary.
1.2. World War I, 1917-1919, and undated.

Materials relating to Greeley's service in World War I.

  • Box 1
    • Folder 1.2
      Typed transcripts of letters home from Europe; "The American Lumberjack in France"; July 1918 issue of American Forestry including Greeley's account of the work of the 10th and 20th Engineers in France.
    • Folder 1.3
      "A Forester at War: Excerpts from the Diaries of Colonel William B. Greeley, 1917-1919"
1.3. Articles, 1923-1955, and undated.

Articles written by William Greeley.

  • Box 1
    • Folder 1.4
      "Henry S. Graves, Chief Forester" (2 copies); "Back to the Land".
    • Folder 1.5
      A response to William Gregg: "The Forest Service is Sticking to Its Job"; Editorials on Gregg's original article.
    • Folder 1.6
      USFS Service Bulletin, May 7, 1928; March 1955 issue of American Forests including article by Greeley.
1.4. Correspondence, 1919-1955.

Letters and correspondence of William Greeley.

  • Box 1
    • Folder 1.7
      Copy of April 25, 1919 birthday letter to daughter Mollie Greeley; letters and correspondence related to Forest Service work, West Coast Lumbermen's Association, and a proposed book on the history of American forestry.
1.5. News Clippings, 1923-1957, and undated.
  • Box 1
    • Folder 1.8
      Clippings of newspaper articles and press releases concerning William Greeley.
1.6. Events, 1946.
  • Box 1
    • Folder 1.9
      Program from event honoring William Greeley, January, 25, 1946, in Portland, Oregon.
1.6. Biographical, 1956-1969.

Various materials providing biographical information on William Greeley.

  • Box 1
    • Folder 1.10
      Brief biographical essay prepared by Frank Harmon; March 1958 issue of American Forests featuring Greeley article and cover image; Yale Forest School News, January, 1956, including obituary.
    • Folder 1.11
      "William B. Greeley: A Practical Forester, 1904-1928", a master's thesis by George T. Morgan, Jr. University of Oregon, 1960.
2. Arthur White Greeley, 1953-2004.
2.1. Correspondence and Notes, 1956-1970.

Letters, notes, and correspondence of Arthur Greeley.

  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.1
      Letters discussing 1959 appointment to Assistant Chief of the Forest Service.
    • Folder 2.2
      Various notes and correspondence.
2.2. Speeches, 1953-1975.

Speeches delivered by Arthur Greeley from 1953 to 1975, including his time as regional forester in Alaska, as Associate Chief, and while minister at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church.

  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.3
      Alaska speeches, 1953-1954.
    • Folder 2.4
      Alaska speeches, 1955-1956.
    • Folder 2.5
      Speeches given as Deputy Chief and Associate Chief of the Forest Service, 1964-1970.
    • Folder 2.6
      Proceedings from 1969 Roanoke Symposium; December 1975 issue of American Forests including text of invocation given by Rev. Arthur Greeley at opening of American Forestry Association Annual Meeting.
2.3. Articles and Papers, 1954-1969.

Articles and papers written by Arthur Greeley.

  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.7
      Various papers and articles discussing topics of forestry, timber management, and multiple-use.
2.4. Events and Awards, 1957-1970.

Documents related to event appearances and awards ceremonies.

  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.8
      Materials relating to May 1959 dedication of William B. Greeley Memorial Laboratory at Yale University.
    • Folder 2.9
      Honored Alumnus at University of Washington Foresters Alumni Association banquet, 1966; Program from U.S. Department of Agriculture's Honor Awards Ceremony, 1970.
2.5. News Clippings, 1953-1966, and undated.
  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.10
      News clippings and press releases discussing the work and career of Arthur Greeley.
2.6. Biographical, 1970-2004, and undated.
  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.11
      Various biographical essays; Summer 2004 issue of SourDough Notes including Arthur Greeley obituary.
3. Gertrude Jewett Greeley, 1960-1961.
3.1. Correspondence, 1960-1961.
  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.12
      Letters to Mrs. William B. Greeley discussing book by George Morgan and oral history interview.
3.2. Oral History, 1960.
  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.13
      Transcript of oral history interview with Mrs. William B. Greeley, June 28, 1960.
4. Photographs, 1912-1976, and undated.
  • Box 2
    • Folder 2.14
      Photographs featuring Arthur Greeley; 46 black and white prints, and 6 color prints.
    • Art Greeley in 1936, while working as District Forest Ranger at Clarkia, Idaho.

    • Folder 2.15
      Photographs of William Greeley together with Arthur Greeley; 2 black and white prints, and 1 color print.
    • Folder 2.16
      Photographs featuring William Greeley and Gertrude Greeley; 3 black and white prints.
    • William B. Greeley with wife Gertrude in 1947.

    • Folder 2.17
      Photographs of Astronaut Stuart Roosa with "moon tree" seeds at Arthur Greeley's Washington, D.C. office, April 1971; 12 black and white prints.
    • Folder 2.18
      Miscellaneous photographs; 10 black and white prints.


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the Forest History Society's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Forest History Society claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Greeley Family Papers, Library and Archives, Forest History Society, Durham, NC, USA.

Acquisitions Information

Received from Janet Conner in May 2011

Processing Information

Processed by Eben Lehman, September 2011

Encoded by Eben Lehman, September 2011