Inventory of the Urania Lumber Company Photograph Collection, 1938 – 1939

Descriptive Summary

Abstract: Founded in the late nineteenth century by Henry Hardtner, the Urania Lumber Company gained a solid reputation in the United States as one of the earliest lumber enterprises to incorporate reforestation and sustained-yield forestry measures in its forest management policy. Under the leadership of Hardtner, the company established ties with Yale's forestry school and with the U.S. Forest Service that would last for decades.

The collection consists of 66 black-and-white photographs and accompanying negatives documenting the company's logging operations, sawmill facilities, and cooperative forestry work with the United States Forest Service's Southern Forest Experiment Station and with the Yale University School of Forestry in Urania, Louisiana during 1938 and 1939. These photographs, taken in the late 1930s after the death of Henry Hardtner, document the company's commitment to cooperative forest conservation and research.

Title: Urania Lumber Company Photograph Collection, 1938 - 1939

Creator: Urania Lumber Company

Repository: Forest History Society Library and Archives

Call Number: 7282

Language of Material: Material in English

Extent: 66 photographs with accompanying negatives


Historical Note

In the mid-1890s, Louisiana businessman Henry Hardtner (1870-1935) developed an interest in the lumber industry and purchased a sawmill and tract of land from John and Emerson Prestridge in LaSalle Parish. He re-organized the enterprise under the name of Urania Lumber Company and established a company town of the same name not far from the company's mill operations in 1898. Seeking to establish a successful operation supplied by a continuing source of timber, Hardtner sought the advice of trained American foresters about the best way to regenerate his company's cutover lands. He was one of the first American lumbermen to reforest his property, and his implementation of extensive tree planting measures earned him a national reputation as the "father of reforestation in the southern United States."

In addition to his interest in reforestation, Hardtner was well-known for fostering cooperative and experimental forestry projects with the Yale University School of Forestry and with the United States Forest Service. In 1917, professor Herman Haupt Chapman (1874-1963), who taught in Yale University's School of Forestry, accepted an invitation from Hardtner to bring his students to Louisiana for field training on Urania Lumber Company lands. Every year excepting 1918 and 1919 through at least the year 1939, Yale forestry students conducted spring field training in Urania, Louisiana, as a means of gaining practical experience in sustained-yield forest management. Beginning in 1920, students lived in tents at a permanent campsite Hardtner set up for them. Their field work included learning how to conduct surveys to assist with cruising timber, constructing topographic maps, laying out logging railroads, and measuring timber growth. In 1915, the United States Forest Service began conducting forestry experiments on Urania Lumber Company lands in Urania, Louisiana. Foresters focused on studying the impacts of prescribed burning, forest thinning, and blackjack oak limitation on the health and growth rate of longleaf pine trees. In 1921, the U.S. Forest Service's Southern Forest Experiment Station opened a branch headquarters in Urania and started to concentrate much of its field work there.

Henry Hardtner was a pioneer in employing reforestation and conservation measures to ensure a sustained-yield of timber resources on his company's forest lands. After his 1935 death in a car accident, Henry Hardtner's brother Quintin T. Hardtner (d. 1952) took over the leadership of the Urania Lumber Company. Quintin himself was well-respected within the forestry and conservation communities. He continued the reforestation policies established by his brother earlier in the century, solidifying the conservationist reputation of Urania Lumber Company.

Note: The above historical information about Henry Hardtner and the Urania Lumber Company was drawn from the following sources: (1) Chapman, Herman Haupt. "The Initiation and Early Stages of Research on Natural Reforestation of Longleaf Pine." Journal of Forestry 46 (July 1948): 505-510; (2) Demmon, Elwood L. "Henry E. Hardtner."Journal of Forestry 33 (October 1935): 885-886; (3) Hardtner, Henry E. "Pioneering in Reforestation."Southern Lumberman 121 (December 19, 1925): 151-154; (4) Maunder, Elwood R. "Milestones of Louisiana Forestry: Henry Hardtner Signs the First Reforestation Contract."Forests & People 13 (No. 1, 1963): 56-57, 124-125; and (5) "Unveil Plaque Honoring South's 'Father of Reforestation'."American Lumberman (20 May 1939): [?] p.


Collection Overview

This collection contains 66 black-and-white photographs with accompanying negatives. Scenes of forest surveying, logging railroads, log loading operations, truck logging, and sawmill structures, equipment, and machinery are included. A handwritten notice, the provenance of which is unknown, is filed with the original photographs and negatives in the Forest History Society Archives. The notice states that the images are from the 1938-1939 era and that they depict scenes of Urania Lumber Company facilities and forestry activities conducted through a cooperative project between Urania, the Yale University School of Forestry, and the United States Forest Service's Southern Forest Experiment Station. All images apparently were taken in the state of Louisiana near Urania. The notice also states that the Urania Lumber Company, through its cooperative program with the experiment station and forestry school, was a pioneer in the study of reforestation.

Collection Arrangement

  1. Urania Lumber Company Photographs, 1938-1939

Subject Headings

  • Forestry schools and education
  • Forests and forestry, Cooperative -- Photographs
  • Forests and forestry -- Louisiana -- Photographs
  • Logging -- Machinery -- Photographs
  • Lumber trade -- Louisiana -- History
  • Milling machinery -- Photographs
  • Mills and mill-work -- Photographs
  • Sawmills -- Equipment -- Photographs
  • Southern Forest Experiment Station (New Orleans, La.)
  • United States. Forest Service
  • Urania Lumber Company
  • Yale University. School of Forestry -- Field trips -- Photographs
  • Yale University -- Students -- Photographs


Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Urania Lumber Company Photographs, 1938-1939.

These photographs are available through the online image gallery for the Urania Lumber Company Photograph Collection.


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright Notice

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Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Urania Lumber Company Photograph Collection, Library and Archives, Forest History Society, Durham, NC, USA.

Processing Information

Processed by Elizabeth Arnold and Michele Justice, August 2003

Encoded by Amanda Ross, January 2009

Funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission supported the encoding of this finding aid. Support for digitization and outreach provided by the Alvin J. Huss Endowment.