The RIAS expands its archival collection with historical US Forest Service Records, enhancing focus on environmental history.

We are happy to announce the recent acquisition of an extensive collection of historical documents from the United States Forest Service as part of our ongoing effort to expand our archive collection to include materials connected to US environmental history. This effort is consistent with the RIAS’s expanding research interests and goal, highlighting the importance of environmental history in understanding the United States’ development and global role.

What’s Inside

The addition to our archives comprises the minutes of the Service Committee of the Forest Service, spanning from 14 March 1903 to 16 October 1935. This large collection, which includes around 6,000 pages reproduced on eight microfilm rolls, has been digitized to make it easier for researchers to access.

Established in 1905, the US Forest Service has played a pivotal role in managing and conserving national forests and grasslands throughout the United States. The Service Committee, initially known as the Divisional Committee, advised the Forester and other heads of offices, branches, or divisions on various matters. The minutes of the meetings provide valuable insights into the administrative history of the Forest Service, the growth of forestry as a profession, and the history of federal management of national forests.

These records´ content is expansive, covering an array of topics that include major interests and activities of the Forest Service, as well as specific information on various environmental conditions, such as fires, erosion, road damage, road building, and boundary changes in national forests.

A key figure in the Forest Service’s early history was Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, who served from 1905 to 1910. Pinchot was instrumental in shaping the agency’s policies and practices, pioneering scientific forest management, and laying the groundwork for its future endeavors.

Valuable Resource

This collection, alongside other sources related to US environmental history, will be a valuable resource for researchers and historians to understand the impact of environmental policies and practices on the nation’s development. We invite you to explore these newly acquired records and delve into the fascinating stories they reveal.

To go to the US Forest Service Records, click here.

To learn more about the rich history of the US Forest Service and its contribution to environmental conservation, book a research visit to the RIAS. Please email us at