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Forestry, Department of

Identifier: CA09.45

Scope and Content Note

The records of the Bates Forestry Department contain correspondence, reports, maps and drawings, and financial and legal documents. These records detail the activities concerning the operation of the Department as well as the forest lands owned by Bates College. Much of the correspondence is to and from President Clifton D. Gray. Included herein are files pertaining to a suit brought by the town of Lyman, Maine, as well as the action that eventually ended the existence of the Bates Forest and the Forestry Department.


  • 1909 - 1939


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Historical Note

The Bates College Department of Forestry was established in 1917 through a bequest from Benjamin Clark Jordan of Alfred, Maine, a prominent businessman in the lumber industry for over 40 years. At the time of his death in 1912, Jordan had accumulated more than 11,000 acres of timber land in York County, the bulk of which he planned to present to Bates College.

In December of 1917, Bates accepted the title of the land with three conditions outlined in Jordan's will: (1) to establish and maintain a Forestry Department of instruction at the college, (2) to care for the land according to scientific methods of forestry cultivation and (3) to pay Jordan's daughter a life-time annuity in cash in place of annual stumpage rights.

In that same year, the College formed the B. C. Jordan Lumber Company to care for the land and yield a profit to fund the Forestry Department. When the Department was established, courses were added to the catalog gradually, creating a four-year course of study that would result in a Bachelors degree in Forestry Science. The courses ranged from Elementary Forestry and Forest Protection to Advanced Silviculture and Forest Physiography.

In addition to the extensive equipment required for the new Department, a nursery was established on campus for experimentation with seedlings, and plans were made for an arboretum. Special care was taken to maintain the liberal arts objectives of the College by emphasizing the cultural aspects of forestry as well as the technical. The faculty of the Department included Lawrence Rich Grose from 1918-1920 and Bernard Emerson from 1920-1922.

After 1922, however, a decline in the lumber business caused the income of the Bates Forest to drop below the expense of its maintenance, leaving nothing to fund the Department. From 1923 through 1933, the only course offered was entitled "General Forestry," a purely cultural class taught by Professor Frank Dean Tubbs of the Geology Department.

During that time, the Bates Forest was managed by Raymond E. Rendall, who succeeded in decreasing the deficit somewhat, but it soon became clear that the College could no longer to afford to maintain the land or the Department. The Jordan Lumber Company was liquidated in 1932, and a committee was formed to investigate the possibility of discontinuing the College's management of the Forest. The subsequent legal proceedings carried all the way up to the Maine Supreme Court, when in 1934, Chief Justice William R. Pattangall signed a decree relieving Bates College of both the title and responsibility for the land, effectively terminating the Department of Forestry.


2 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 oversize box, 3 ledgers)

Language of Materials



These records contain correspondence, reports, maps and drawings, and financial and legal documents, and detail the activities concerning the operation of the Department as well as the forest lands owned by Bates College. Included are correspondence and reports from and by President Clifton D. Gray, and Raymond E. Rendall, the administrator of the Bates Forest.

Organization and Arrangement

The files are arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Guide to the Forestry, Dept. of, 1909-1939
Edited Full Draft
Pat Webber
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in: English
Edition statement

Repository Details

Part of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library Repository

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston Maine 04240 United States of America
207-755-5911 (Fax)