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The Biltmore Estate


Biltmore Estate Forestry Department Manager's Records, 1895-1909


The records are mainly made up of business and personal letters to Forest Manager Dr. Carl Alwin Schenck from colleagues around the country; managers of the Biltmore Estate; prospective, current and former students of the Biltmore Forest School; vendors; lumber merchants; and landowners communicating about the sale of tracts adjoining or within the boundaries of George Vanderbilt's lands. The letters are arranged in their original order: alphabetically by correspondent's last name (or the institution/business name) and then chronologically. The collection also includes e.g. reports, a ledger book, and the Biltmore Forest School newsletter and bulletin, Biltmore Doings. The Biltmore archives also contains Schenck's outgoing correspondence in chronological order bound in letter books. It is possible, therefore, to recreate an exchange between Schenck and one of his correspondents based on the dates of the letters.

Series A:

Correspondents include George P. Ahern, Chair of Forestry at the Military Department of Montana College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts and later head of the Philippine Forestry Service; C.C. Andrews, Chief Fire Warden for the State of Minnesota; and W.W. Ashe, State Forester of North Carolina and founder of the first North Carolina Forestry Association.

Series B:

Correspondents include Sir Dietrich Brandis, Dr. Schenck's mentor; Chauncey Beadle, the Landscape Department Superintendent and Nursery Manager of the Biltmore Estate; and Dr. S. Westray Battle, a prominent Asheville physician and social figure. Series B also contains the Biltmore Forest School newsletter and bulletin Biltmore Doings.

Series C:

Correspondents include Austin Cary at the Yale School of Forestry; Allen Chamberlain, Secretary of the Massachusetts Forestry Association; Herman H. Chapman, Superintendent of the Northeast Experimental Farm at the University of Minnesota; and Agnes Moreland Campbell of Biltmore.

Series D:

Correspondents include J.E. Defebaugh, Editor of American Lumberman; Frank A. Dillingham, Secretary of the Highland Forest Company; Lewis Doster, Secretary of the Hardwood Manufacturers' Association of the United States; and the female naturalist Mira Lloyd Dock of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Series E:

This series includes e.g. one 1904 letter from Thomas A. Edison, and a 1901 letter from the Export Shipping Company of N.Y. regarding European forester uniforms.

Series F:

Correspondents include the noted scientific forester Bernhard E. Fernow, one of Dr. Schenck's mentors; and William F. Fox, Superintendent of the State Forests for the State of New York.

Series G:

Correspondents include Henry S. Graves, Superintendent of Working Plans and Acting Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Division of Forestry and the Director of Yale Forest School; Charles W. Garfield, President of the Michigan State Forestry Commission; and three Biltmore Forest School graduates.

Series H:

Correspondents include William H. Hall, Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service; Austin F. Hawes, addressing forestry in Connecticut; Ralph S. Hosmer, addressing forestry in Hawaii; A.D. Hopkins, an entomologist at the West Agriculture Experiment Station; and Clifton D. Howe, a professor at Biltmore Forest School.

Series H, Sub-series H-1:

This series consists of correspondence from Biltmore Estate Treasurer/Auditor Edward Harding regarding accounting, employee relations, real estate purchases and rental properties.

Series I:

Many of the letters in this series are from T.C. Israel, Deputy Marshall of Henderson County, who wrote about discovering and destroying illicit distilleries on George Vanderbilt's Transylvania County property. Other noted correspondents include Thomas P. Ivy and the publishing company The Inland Press.

Series J:

Correspondents include John G. Jack of Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum, Biltmore Forest Store keeper E.H. Jenney and the Hendersonville, North Carolina surveyor S.J. Justice.

Series K:

This series includes a packet of White Pine seed from Otto Katzenstein & Co. of Atlanta, Georgia; letters from Dr. Schenck's friend, John L. Kuser; and reports, memorandums and letters from E.G. Ketchum, Dr. Schenck's Secretary at Biltmore and Pisgah Forest, N.C.

Series L:

Includes letters from John Lafon Jr., a partner in the surveying firm C.A. Schenck and Co.; V.S. Lusk, who was involved in many purchases of land for the Biltmore Estate; and Frank H. Lamb, who wrote about forest fire prevention legislation in Washington and Canada.

Series M:

Correspondents include James R. Mann, Chairman of the Committee on Pulp and Paper Investigation for the House of Representatives; Silas Cheever Mason, Superintendent of Grounds and a Professor of Horticulture and Biology at Berea College; and Sarah Webb Maurey, who worked to establish a Kentucky State Forestry Association.

Series M, Sub-series M-1:

Includes letters, reports and memos from Charles McNamee, Biltmore Estate's first Manager and Attorney, concerning accounting, employee relations, forest management, real estate purchases and rental properties.

Series N:

Correspondents include The National Hardwood Lumber Association, The National Lumber Manufacturers' Association, F.H. Newell, and the Norton family.

Series O:

This series is largely made up of letters from the Biltmore Estate's landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Junior and the landscaping firm Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot.

Series P:

Correspondents include the chief of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot; T. Gilbert Pearson of The Audubon Society of North Carolina; J. Girvin Peters and Overton W. Price.

Series Q:

Contains correspondence from Queen & Co. Incorporated, Manufacturers of Scientific Instruments; as well as miscellaneous Biltmore Forest School inquiries, job applications, advertisements and requests for passes.

Series R:

Contains letters from Biltmore Forest School graduate Norman M. Ross of the Canadian Department of the Interior, and Filberth Roth, one of the first professors of forestry at the University of Michigan. The series also contains information from J.T. Rothrock, M.D., Pennsylvania's Commissioner of Forestry; and a summary of schools operating in western North Carolina in 1905-1909 provided by the teacher Mary R. Rankin.

Series S:

Contains letters from Hermann von Schrenk, a researcher of forest tree diseases at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Shaw School of Botany; forest legislation materials from congressman Charles F. Scott; information from the law firms Smith & Schenck and Smith & Valentine; and correspondence from foresters E. Stewart and George B. Sudworth.

Series T:

Includes materials from R.J. Tighe of the Audubon Society of North Carolina, the land agent C.V.R. Townsend, and the C.A. Schenck & Co. employee and surveyor H. L. Tucker.

Series U:

Contains some information from the United States Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior, and letters from Mary N. Upson, mother of the Biltmore Forest School student Clifford Upson.

Series V:

Includes letters from Edith and George Vanderbilt, Eleanor P. Vance of the Biltmore Estate, and the attorney G. H. Valentine.

Series W:

Correspondents include Z.W. Whitehead, Editor and Manager of The Southern Lumber Journal; B.L. Wiggins, Vice-Chancellor of The University of the South; and prominent Biltmore Forest School graduates George Wirt and Thomas B. Wyman.

Series X, Y, Z:

Correspondents include Charlotte L. Yale, Secretary for The Biltmore Boys' and Girls' Club and (Biltmore) Estate Industries; and Raphael Zon of the Society of American Foresters and the U.S.D.A. Forest Service.

Additional Materials:

These additional materials were originally separate from the bulk of The Biltmore Estate Forestry Department Manager's Records. They consist mainly of special correspondence with members of the Biltmore Estate management and others. The series also contains tallies of lumber, specifications for lumber, reports, a hand-drawn map, telegrams and a ledger book. There is one 1909 letter from George Vanderbilt and several letters directed to him. Documents refer to the closure of the Biltmore Estate Forestry Department and the sale of the estate's sawmills.


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Last Modified: 2010-07-22
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