Carl Alwin Schenck Papers 1890-1959

Size
40 linear feet (102 archival boxes)
Location

For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff.

Call number
MC 00035

Collection includes diaries, correspondence, field notes, manuscripts, articles, student records, photographs, negatives, photo albums, and artifacts, dating from 1865 - 1955. While the bulk of the material is in English, a substantial number of items, including a portion of the correspondence, diaries, and writings, are in German. This collection documents the professional and personal activities of Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck. These activities include his work at the Biltmore Estate and Forest and logging operations throughout Europe and the United States. In addition, this collection also provides significant information on the Biltmore Forest School and its students.

Biographical/historical note

Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck was born in 1868 in Darmstadt, Germany. The grandson of a chief forester, Schenck studied forestry at Tubingen and Giessen Universities and entered the state forest service in Hessen in 1890. Through his work experiences, Schenck became acquainted with Sir Dietrich Brandis, the foremost forester at the time. Between 1891 and 1894, Schenck spent his summers as an assistant to Brandis and Sir William Schlich during several European forestry tours. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1894, Schenck was recommended by Brandis and Gifford Pinchot to assume the role of chief forester of George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. Schenck's arrival in the United States was revolutionary in the world of forestry, as he was the first man in the country with thorough training in scientific forestry.

In 1898, with Vanderbilt's permission, the Biltmore Forest School (BFS) opened. The first school of forestry in the United States, BFS graduated 400 students in its fifteen year history, many of whom went on to successful careers in the field of forestry. Although the school flourished for a short time, enthusiasm for training in scientific forestry began to wane in 1910, and Schenck eventually closed the school in 1913.

With World War I dawning, Schenck returned to Germany in 1914. He served in the German army during the war as an officer on the Russian front, where he was severely wounded in combat. After the war, Schenck spent most of the 1920s and 1930s travelling across Europe and the United States. Between 1922 and 1924, he conducted forest tours in Germany and Switzerland for English and American students. In 1925, Schenck traveled back to the United States to lecture at several forestry schools, notably, the University of Montana in Missoula. For the next ten years, Schenck continued to give tours and lectures to forestry students around the world.

The ease with which Schenck could travel ended in 1939 with the onset of World War II. Schenck spent the entire war in Germany in the small village of Lindenfels. After the war, Schenck was appointed by the United States military government as chief forester of the new American state of Hessen. Although his appointment demonstrates his loyalty to the United States, Schenck's German citizenship still caused several problems for him after the war. For the last ten years of his life, Schenck battled the United States government in an Alien Property Custody Suit in an attempt to reclaim property and money that was confiscated at the beginning of the war. Despite the efforts of his colleagues and former students to intervene on his behalf, Schenck's efforts were unsuccessful.

In 1951, at the age of 83, Schenck returned to the United States for a nationwide tour. The trip included the dedication of several woodland groves and forests named in honor of Dr. Schenck and a reunion of the Biltmore Forest School students. Schenck would again be honored in 1952 by North Carolina State College, which awarded him an honorary Doctor of Forest Science degree.

Schenck died on May 17, 1955 at the age of 87. The author of numerous textbooks and a founding member of several professional organizations in the field, Dr. Schenck is regarded as a pioneer in European and American forestry.

1868
Born, Darmstadt Germany
1886 - 1891
Studied forestry in Tubingen and Giessen Universities
1888 - 1894
Assistant to Sir Dietrich Brandis and Sir William Schlich, noted foresters, on European forest tours
1895
Received Ph.D., summa cum laude
1895 - 1909
Forester of George W. Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate
1896
Married Adele Bopp
1898 - 1913
Biltmore Forest School
1899
Forestry for Kentucky
1900
Society of American Foresters
1913
Biltmore Forest School
1914 - 1915
Served in German Army on Russian front -- wounded and incapacitated
1921 - 1922
Participated in the American Society of Friends in post-war child-feeding program in Germany
1922 - 1924
Conducted forest tours of forestry schools in the United States, notably in Missoula, Montana
1932
Married Marie-Louise Kulenkampff
1936 - 1937
An unsuccessful attempt to find a location for a cellulose factory in northwestern United States
1939 - 1945
Resided in Germany during World War II
1945
Appointed Chief Forester of the new state of Hessen by the American Military Government
1946 - 1948
President of the German Dendrological (Tree) Society
1951
Revisited United States, alumni honored at woodland dedications
1952
North Carolina State College
1955
Died at Lindenfels, Germany

Scope/content

This collection provides a detailed look into the personal and professional life of Carl Alwin Schenck, the founder of the first American school of forestry. Information regarding Schenck's political and economic troubles with the United States government is provided, as is biographical information on Schenck. The collection contains diaries recording personal notes, schedules, and appointments made by Schenck between 1890 and 1954. Therefore, information pertaining to Schenck's tenure at the Biltmore Estate and Forest, his administration of the Biltmore Forest School, and his numerous personal and professional travels are included in these journals.

In addition to Schenck's diaries, the collection includes letters addressed both to and from Schenck written between 1895 and 1955. The letters include professional correspondence, correspondence with former students from the Biltmore Forest School, and general correspondence. For most of his professional life, Schenck continued to correspond with many of his colleagues, many of whom are considered to be the founders of the profession of forestry.

Writings, such as Schenck's field notes of logging operations throughout Europe and the United States, as well as several manuscripts of professional literature and poetry written by Schenck, are contained in this collection. Schenck's technical reports on European forests, his doctoral dissertation, miscellaneous publications, and a collection of legends and fairy tales that he compiled are included here as well. Throughout his life, Schenck traveled for both business and pleasure, and information on these journeys is provided.

Documents pertaining to Schenck's term as head forester at George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate and Forest, which contain general information regarding the house and forest, are included, as are technical reports, budgets, and maps compiled by Schenck. These materials provide an in-depth, detailed look into the inner workings of one of America's largest private homes.

The collection contains a wealth of archival information on the Biltmore Forest School, the first forestry school in the United States. In addition to general information on the history of the school, the collection contains several publications produced by the school, as well as describing the students' experiences at the school. Biographical information students for many students is also included, the majority of which were written by the students themselves for inclusion in The Biltmore Immortals. Correspondence from students to their families and fellow classmates can be found in this series as well.

Photographs, including black and white prints, negatives, and albums, cover many topics, ranging from personal to professional travel, the Biltmore Estate and Forest, and the Biltmore Forest School. Included among these photographs are pictures of Schenck, his wife, forestry colleagues, the Vanderbilts, and BFS students. Finally, the collection contains artifacts pertaining to Schenck's personal life and the Biltmore Forest School.

Physical description

102 archival boxes

Arrangement

The collection is divided into nine series. The first of these, Diaries, is comprised of journals kept by Schenck between 1890 and 1954. Schenck's personal Correspondence makes up the second series. The next series is comprised of Schenck's Writings in both English and German between 1890 and 1954. Next, the Personal and Professional series provides information on Schenck's life and achievements, his problems with the United States government in the Alien Property Custody suit, and his numerous travel experiences. The fifth series details Schenck's experiences as head forester at George Vanderbilt's Biltmore Estate and Forest. Information regarding the Biltmore Forest School and its students is provided in the sixth series of the collection. The seventh series of the collection is comprised of Photographs, including black and white prints, glass plate negatives, and numerous photo albums. Artifacts relating to Schenck's personal life as well as the Biltmore Forest School are included in the eight series. Finally, a number of Oversize Materials are located in the last series of the collection.

Use of these materials

North Carolina State University does not own copyright to this collection. Individuals obtaining materials from the NCSU Libraries' Special Collections Research Center are responsible for using the works in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

  • Asheville (N.C.)
  • Berry, Swift
  • Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.)
  • Biltmore Forest School
  • Brandis, Dietrich, Sir, 1824 - 1907
  • Cadillac (Mich.)
  • Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Coos Bay (Or.)
  • Darmstadt (Germany)
  • DuBois, Coert
  • E. Merck (Firm)
  • Forest mapping
  • Forest surveys
  • Forestry schools and education -- Germany -- History
  • Forestry schools and education -- North Carolina -- History
  • Forestry teachers -- Germany -- History
  • Forestry teachers -- United States -- History
  • Forests and Forestry
  • Forests and forestry -- Alaska -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Canada -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Europe -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Finland -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Germany -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Maps
  • Forests and forestry -- Mensuration
  • Forests and forestry -- Michigan -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Montana -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- North Carolina -- Biltmore
  • Forests and forestry -- North Carolina -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- North Carolina -- Management
  • Forests and forestry -- North Carolina -- Pisgah National Forest -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Oregon -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Russia -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- United States -- History
  • Germany -- Economic conditions
  • Germany -- Politics and government
  • Krinbill, Howard
  • Lindenfels (Germany)
  • Merck, George W. (George Wilhelm), 1894 - 1957
  • Missoula (Mont.)
  • New Bern (N.C.)
  • North Carolina State University
  • Olmstead, Frederick Law, 1822 - 1903
  • Olmstead-Schenck Redwood Grove (Calif.)
  • Peterson, J. Harold
  • Pinchot, Gifford, 1865 - 1946
  • Pisgah National Forest (N.C.)
  • Price, Overton
  • Raleigh (N.C.)
  • Schenck, Adele Bopp
  • Schenck, Carl Alwin, 1868 - 1955
  • Schenck, Marie-Louise Kulenkampff
  • Schlich, William, Sir
  • Society of American Foresters
  • Sunburst (N.C.)
  • Tupper Lake (N.Y.)
  • Vanderbilt, George Washington, 1862 - 1914
  • Weyerhauser, Fred
  • Wirt, George
  • World War, 1914 - 1918
  • World War, 1939 - 1945

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Carl Alwin Schenck Papers, MC 00035, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Source of acquisition

The Carl Alwin Schenck Papers was received in a number of accessions from 1959 - 1990, given by the Forest History Foundation, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1959. Additional items from various donors received in 1965, 1968-1969, 1971, 1982, 1987, 1989 and 1990. For additional information, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff

Sponsor

The processing and encoding of this collection is supported with federal Library Service and Technology Act (LSTA) funds made possible through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources through the North Carolina ECHO, 'Exploring Cultural Heritage Online' Digitization Grant Program.

The entire collection, including materials not available online, may be viewed in the Special Collections reading room in D.H. Hill Library.

Access to the collection

This collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice.

For more information contact us via mail, phone, or our web form.

Mailing address:
Special Collections Research Center
Box 7111
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7111

Phone: (919) 515-2273

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Carl Alwin Schenck Papers, MC 00035, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Use of these materials

North Carolina State University does not own copyright to this collection. Individuals obtaining materials from the NCSU Libraries' Special Collections Research Center are responsible for using the works in conformance with United States copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

  • Asheville (N.C.)
  • Berry, Swift
  • Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.)
  • Biltmore Forest School
  • Brandis, Dietrich, Sir, 1824 - 1907
  • Cadillac (Mich.)
  • Carl Alwin Schenck Memorial Forest (Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Coos Bay (Or.)
  • Darmstadt (Germany)
  • DuBois, Coert
  • E. Merck (Firm)
  • Forest mapping
  • Forest surveys
  • Forestry schools and education -- Germany -- History
  • Forestry schools and education -- North Carolina -- History
  • Forestry teachers -- Germany -- History
  • Forestry teachers -- United States -- History
  • Forests and Forestry
  • Forests and forestry -- Alaska -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Canada -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Europe -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Finland -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Germany -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Maps
  • Forests and forestry -- Mensuration
  • Forests and forestry -- Michigan -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Montana -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- North Carolina -- Biltmore
  • Forests and forestry -- North Carolina -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- North Carolina -- Management
  • Forests and forestry -- North Carolina -- Pisgah National Forest -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Oregon -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- Russia -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- United States -- History
  • Germany -- Economic conditions
  • Germany -- Politics and government
  • Krinbill, Howard
  • Lindenfels (Germany)
  • Merck, George W. (George Wilhelm), 1894 - 1957
  • Missoula (Mont.)
  • New Bern (N.C.)
  • North Carolina State University
  • Olmstead, Frederick Law, 1822 - 1903
  • Olmstead-Schenck Redwood Grove (Calif.)
  • Peterson, J. Harold
  • Pinchot, Gifford, 1865 - 1946
  • Pisgah National Forest (N.C.)
  • Price, Overton
  • Raleigh (N.C.)
  • Schenck, Adele Bopp
  • Schenck, Carl Alwin, 1868 - 1955
  • Schenck, Marie-Louise Kulenkampff
  • Schlich, William, Sir
  • Society of American Foresters
  • Sunburst (N.C.)
  • Tupper Lake (N.Y.)
  • Vanderbilt, George Washington, 1862 - 1914
  • Weyerhauser, Fred
  • Wirt, George
  • World War, 1914 - 1918
  • World War, 1939 - 1945