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The Applicant Is No Gentleman: Women in the Forest Service

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For much of the 20th century, the esprit de corps of the Forest Service depended heavily on the notion of the agency as an elite fraternity. The job of forester itself—a combination of lumberjack, frontiersman, explorer, and Old West sheriff—provided an opportunity for men to live the “strenuous life,” that most masculine of lifestyles. The reality, however, was that this boys' club could not have functioned nearly as well without the women in its midst. It is only within the last three decades of the 20th century that women have been admitted into the fraternity, and only after they forced their way in. The article is adapted from the book, The Forest Service and the Greatest Good: A Centennial History (Forest History Society 2005, Durham, NC) the companion book to the film, “The Greatest Good: A Forest Service Centennial Film.”

Keywords: Consent Decree; Forest Service; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; history; natural resource management; natural resources; women

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Staff Historian Forest History Society 701 William Vickers Avenue Durham NC 27701, Email:

Publication date: 2005-07-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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