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Special Collections: Guide to the Austin Cary Papers

Arranged and described by Brenda Howitson Steeves

Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department

January 2004

Introduction and Summary Information

Collection Title: Austin Cary Papers.
Dates of the Collection: 1893-1953 (inclusive); 1909-1935 (bulk).
Provenance: Unknown.
Collection Number: MS 86.
Box Numbers: 1-3 (formerly Boxes 603, 1663-1664).
Size and Arrangement: The collection consists of one archival record carton and two document boxes of material (1.8 cubic feet).
Conservation Note: The collection has been re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Documents have been surface cleaned as needed and metal fasteners removed. Prior to their arrival at the Library, many items were water damaged.
Preferred Citation: Austin Cary Papers, Special Collections, Raymond H. Fogler Library, The University of Maine.
Restrictions on Access and Use: Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.


The collection contains papers of Austin Cary, a noted forester with a forty-five year career in forestry research and administration.

Austin Cary was born in 1865 in East Machias, Maine. He received an A.B. degree from Bowdoin College in 1887, an A.M. degree in 1890, and an honorary Sc.D. in 1922. He also studied biology at Johns Hopkins and Princeton. He was an instructor in the Department of Geology and Biology at Bowdoin in 1887 and 1888, taught at the Yale Forest School in 1904 and 1905, and was an assistant professor of forestry at Harvard from 1905 to 1909.

Cary was one of the first people to enter the new profession of forestry. He was first employed as a surveyor and investigator, working in Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin. In 1895 he spent a season in the woods near the Androscoggin River gathering information for the state land agent’s report. In 1898 he became a forester at the Berlin Mills Company, later the Brown Company, the first person to hold such a position in an American business. He worked for the company for six years, surveying, mapping and cruising the company lands in Maine.

He was appointed Superintendent of State Parks for New York State in 1909, resigning a year later. In 1910 he was appointed as Logging Engineer for the United States Forest Service, and his interests and influence broadened to include every forest region in the country. In 1917 he made his first trip to the South; he became increasingly interested in this region as a timber growing area. He also became interested in the naval stores industry in the South after making a trip to Spain and France in 1924 with representatives of the American Naval Stores Commission.

Cary was a prolific author, publishing technical papers and articles of interest to workers in various lumber and woodworking industries. He also published five editions of his “Manual for Northern Woodsmen.” He prepared management plans for many private owners in the South and Northeast and became an authority on turpentining timber.

Cary retired from the Forest Service in 1935, settling in Lake City, Florida. Ever active in the forestry field, he then worked as a consulting forester for various private companies, mostly in the South. He also was himself a forest land owner with several thousand acres in Florida.

Austin Cary died in 1936 while on a visit to the Forestry Department at the University of Florida.

Scope and Content Note

This small collection reflects the life-long involvement of Austin Cary in the areas of forestry and forest management.

The collection contains correspondence, mostly incoming, 1893-1936, from professional colleagues writing to Cary about areas of common interest. It also contains a file of memos and letters Cary prepared for presentation to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934.

The collection continues with drafts and prints of articles by Cary, reflecting his work with the New York Department of Forestry and the United States Forest Service. Diaries and field notes, 1897-1910, contain Cary’s observations on his numerous travels in forest regions prior to his employment with the Forest Service. A series of files, 1911-1931, contain reports written by Cary for various companies for which he did consulting. A few subject files and pamphlets on forestry are also included in the collection.

The collection ends with biographical information about Cary and documents concerning his estate.

The user should note that the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, also holds papers of Austin Cary, as well as an extensive collection of his published writings.

Box List

Box 1


Papers of Austin Cary

1                      Letters, 1893, 1900-1919

2                      Letters, 1920-1932

3                      Letters, 1933

4                      Letters, 1934

5                      Drafts of memo to President Roosevelt, 1934

6                      Letters to Henry H. Wallace, Secretary of Agriculture, 1935

7                      Letters, 1935

8                      Letters, 1935

9                      Letters, 1936

10                    Letters, undated

11                    Addresses given by Cary, 1914-1935, undated

12                    Drafts of articles and memos by Cary, 1919-1936, undated

13                    Annual report of the New York Dept. of Forestry, 1909, by Austin Cary, Superintendent, State Forests

14                    “Good naval stores practice” by Austin Cary [USDA leaflet no. 41, May, 1929] plus memos

15                    Articles by Austin Cary, 1921-1935, undated

16                    Notebook of travels in Europe, 1896, plus other notes

17                    Diaries and field notes, 1897-1904

18                    Frank Patten’s report of West Branch drive, 1902

19                    Field notes, New Brunswick and Gaspe, undated

20                    Plan of work, Northern Pacific estimates, 1909 [by Cary?]

21                    Field reports, 1910: Kanikav Forest and Clearwater National Forest

22                    Brooks Bros. timber sale, 1911: notes by Cary

23                    Papers on logging costs at Camps E & F, Washington, 1911-1913 [by Cary?]

24                    Overhead logging at Madera Sugar Pine Co., 1912

25                    Cary’s notes on Brown Co. forests, 1924 [transcription, Jan. 19, 1953]

26                    Notes, blueprints for Finch, Pruyn & Co., [1931?]

27                    Notes on West Side Lumber Co, Portland, Oregon

28                    Report on operation of Scandinavian gang saws installed at ... Tumwater Lumber Mills Co.,
                       Olympia, Washington [by Cary?]

29                    Elements of wood and bark, plus other notes

30                    Miscellaneous field notes

Box 2


Papers of Austin Cary cont.

1                      Work records, lumbering

2                      Notes, etc.

3                      Papers, memos, etc.

4                      Photographs: Trout Brook, East Branch, August 1926; 1 unidentified, undated photograph

5                      Subject file: forest conservation, lumbermen’s codes, etc.

6                      Subject file: lumber code

7                      Subject file: private cooperation, 1919-1932

8                      Clippings, articles, etc. re: forestry

9                      Maps

Box 3

Pamphlets on forestry with notes by Cary

2                      Pamphlet: Why Canada should prohibit export of unmanufactured wood [published by Frank J.D. Barnjum], undated

2a                    The New Jersey Forester, Vol. 1-3 [Austin Cary copy]

3                      Biographical information about Cary, 1935

4                      Documents concerning estate of Austin Cary, 1937

5                      Booklet: A list of the materials in the Austin Cary Memorial Forestry Collection in the University of Florida, 1942

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: | Revised: 03/17/2015
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