Special Collections Research Center: Greenways Archive
Charles E. Little Collection
Manuscript Collection No. MC 214
Special Collections Research Center
North Carolina State University Libraries
Processed by: Jane V. Charles, 1999
Copyright © 1999 North Carolina State University
Collection Name: Charles E. Little Collection, 1975-1990
Collection Number: M. C. 214
Gift of Charles E. Little through George F. Thompson, editor for Johns Hopkins
University Press: February 28, 1991.
Volume: 5.7 linear feet
Charles E. Little Collection, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State
University Libraries, Raleigh, NC.
Copyright: North Carolina State University does not own copyright to this collection. The Special Collections Research Center recognizes that it is incumbent upon the researcher to procure permission to publish information from this collection from the owner of the copyright.
Charles E. Little, a native Californian, graduated from Wesleyan University in 1955, and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Although he began his career as an advertising executive in New York City, Little decided in his mid-thirties to resign from advertising to become a full-time environmental activist, author, journalist, and policy analyst. Since then he has helped pass both federal and state legislation on open space, parks, and agricultural land preservation. He has also held several research and management positions in non-profit organizations and government agencies. These include: executive director of the Open Space Institute in New York, senior associate at the Conservation Foundation in Washington D.C., and head of natural resources policy at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. In 1978 Little established and became president of the American Land Forum in order to develop policy on land conservation. Little has written a number of books and magazine articles that have led to numerous changes in conservation policy, which include better approaches to cooperative planning for landscape areas, as well as national legislation for farmland protection. Books by Little include: Challenge of the Land, 1968, Space for Survival: Blocking the Bulldozer in Urban America, 1971, Green Fields Forever: the Conservation Tillage Revolution in America, 1987, Greenways for America, 1990, Hope for the Land, 1992, The Dying of the Trees: the Pandemic in America's Forests, 1995, and Discover America: the Smithsonian Book of the National Parks, 1995. Little and W. Wendell Fletcher co-authored The American Crisis: Why U.S. Farmland is Being Lost and How Citizens and Governments are Trying to Save What is Left, 1982. Little edited Louis Bromfield at Malabar: Writings on Farming and Country Life, 1988. In addition, Little co-edited An Appalachian Tragedy: Air Pollution and Tree Death in the Highland Forest of Eastern North America, 1998 with Havard Ayers and Jenny Hager. Little has contributed numerous articles about land conservation, community planning, and natural resources to the following magazines: Smithsonian, Garden, Business and Society Review, Air and Space, Country Journal, and Wilderness, for which he contributed a whole-issue essay on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1987. Little has also written pieces for the Capital Ideas department in Harrowsmith, and Conservation Commentary in the journal of Soil and Water Conservation. In addition, Little has both edited and published two periodicals: Open Space Action and American Land Forum, the prize-winning magazine that he founded in 1980. He also edited the John Hopkins series American Land Classics. Little currently resides in Kensington, Maryland with his wife, Ila Dawson Little, professor of English literature.
Scope and Content Note
This collection consists of reference materials that Little compiled and used to write his book, Greenways for America, 1990, which the Conservation Fund of Washington D.C. commissioned him to write in 1988. Greenways for America represents the first comprehensive compilation of information pertaining to greenways, a result of Little's extensive surveying of national greenways (both on-site and via mail), and countless interviews with individuals whose efforts have made these greenway projects come to fruition. Little defines greenways as (1.) linear open spaces established along natural corridors, such as riverfronts, stream valleys, ridgelines and railroad right-of-ways converted to scenic roads, recreational use, or canals, (2.) natural or landscaped trails for pedestrian or bicycle passage, (3.) open-space connectors that link parks, cultural features, nature reserves, or historic sites with each another and populated areas, and (4.) local strips and linear parks designated as parkways or greenbelts (Parkway, a term that Frederick Law Olmsted probably coined, and greenbelt, a British term, are frequently used interchangeably with the term greenway in the United states. According to Little, Edmond Bacon, a landscape designer, likely coined the term greenway, as discussed in William H. Whyte's monograph Securing Open Space for Urban America, 1959).
In Greenways for America Little traces the history of the greenway movement both here and abroad. He attributes the present American greenway movement to Olmsted, who designed the grounds for the University of California's Berkley Campus in 1865, as well as the parkways, or green, linear corridors, which Olmsted envisioned cutting through Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York in 1866. Olmsted oversaw several other projects that resulted in preserved strips of parkland for pathways and scenic drives, including the famous Emerald Necklace of Boston, a parkway of open space proposed in 1887. According to Little, the concept and construction of modern greenways took shape in the 1960s in the name of open-space action. The national movement to convert abandoned rails to trails also began in the 1960s. Although efforts to secure open, green spaces declined in the 1970s and early 1980s, the greenway movement, experienced a boon in the mid 1980s, when a lack of federal funds forced concerned citizens to take matters into their own hands. As a result, proactive Americans have established scores of diverse greenways across the land. In two major chapters Little profiles a number of these greenway projects, and describes the efforts of several people who have created and preserved greenways throughout the United States. Many citizens tout these greenways as sorely needed networks of green that provide exercise, recreation, preservation of natural corridors for wildlife migration, protection of scenic and historic routes from commercial development, economic prosperity and growth, and an improved environment. Little subsequently devotes five chapters to the basic types of greenways: riverfronts and urban river greenways, paths and trails, ecological corridors, scenic drives and historic routes, and greenway network programs. According to Little, the idea of linking greenways together, thus creating a nationwide system of greenways, has become at present an integral component of the movement. Linkage, Little notes, is an important concept to greenway advocates because of its potential to take local grass-roots efforts to a higher level. These advocates believe that the creation of trails and open spaces connecting towns, cities, and parks from one end of the country to the other will eventually build a truly cohesive community, offering both ecological and social benefits for all. Finally, in the closing chapters of his book, Little pragmatically outlines and discusses the step-by-step process of developing greenways, as well as the overarching theme of the greenways imperative: to raise environmental consciousness.
The first series of the collection, called Chapter Files, contains reference material and drafts of chapters for Greenways for America. A copy of Little's bibliographic data base search for articles on greenways, as well as the various greenway maps included in the book, are also housed here. The second series, Project Files, consists of professional correspondence, newspapers articles, essays, studies, reports, surveys, design projects, maps, plans, proposals, brochures, flyers, pamphlets, assessments, newsletters, magazine articles, and journals that Little amassed in order to depict the various greenway projects across America. The third series, Reference Files, consists of general reference material, such as reports, foundation lists, magazines, brochures, essays, articles, conference programs, and newsletters. These papers contain information relating to local, state, and national organizations and programs. Reference Files also contains correspondence pertaining to the progression of the greenway projects, and information on related conservation and environmental interest groups.
These include several drafts of the chapters in Greenways for America, with
comments and corrections from Little's colleagues. This series also contains material
that Little referred to in order to write the book, such as drawings, essays, reports,
maps, Little's notes and outlines, information on the Olmsted Historic Landscape Act, a
master list of the Olmsted Firm's Design Projects, 1857-1950, professional correspondence,
articles, newsletters, various publications, pamphlets, plans, manuals, reports, press
releases, conference programs, court cases, brochures, business cards, journals, fact
sheets, studies, and a Land Trust manual. Maps of the various greenways featured in the
book, as well as a copy of Little's bibliographic data base search, are housed in this
series. The chapters are arranged in chronological order. Placement of other papers in
this series reflects subject matter arrangement (e.g., the bibliographic data base search
is located before the chapter files; the greenway maps are located at the end of the series).
Note: chapter arrangement corresponds with how Little numbered the chapters in the final
version of his book.
Information pertaining to the various greenway projects that Little researched,
visited, and outlined in his book is included here. As outlined in the Introduction
of Greenways for America, Little identifies five major types of greenways.
They are: (1.) urban riverside greenways, (2.) recreational greenways, which feature
trails and paths that are based on natural corridors, canals, abandoned railbeds,
and other public rights-of-way, (3.) ecologically significant natural corridors
established along rivers, streams, and ridgelines, which provide wildlife migration,
nature study, and hiking, (4.) scenic and historic routes along roads, highways, and
waterways, and (5.) comprehensive greenway systems or networks, usually based on
natural landforms, designed to create an alternative municipal or regional green
infrastructure. Little assembled information about greenway projects in the
following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida,
Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, North Carolina,
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,
Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Types
of material housed here include: plans, reports, studies, surveys, assessments, maps,
professional correspondence, business cards, newsletters, transcribed interviews with
greenway developers and advocates, Little's notes taken while visiting greenways
throughout the United States, Little's greenway project surveys, brochures, pamphlets,
flyers, a masters thesis, press releases, guides, and other publications. Several
newspaper, magazine, and journal articles are also located in this series. This series
is arranged alphabetically, according to the state that the greenway is located in,
followed by the name of the greenway project. Note: Linking Countryside and City:
the Uses of Greenways, an article by Charles Little that appeared in the May-June
1987 issue of the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, is located in
folder #30, labeled "Chapter Eight-Reference Material", in Box #3. Two photographs
of Charles E. Little are located in the folder labeled "Oconee River Greenway,
Georgia" in box #8. Also, two copies of greenway bylaws are located in folders
labeled "Yakima Greenway, Washington", and "Platte River Greenway, Wyoming" in box #16.
General reference information is housed here. Included in this series is an extensive list of national, regional, and state foundations, all potential funding sources for greenway projects. A toolbook called Tools for the Greenbelt: A Citizen's Guide to Protecting Open Space is also located here. This guide contains information on greenway policies, development procedures, and case studies. General reference material includes information on national, regional, and state organizations and agencies. Such materials include lists, brochures, studies, essays, plans, newspaper articles, professional correspondence, newsletters, reports, flyers, and a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers list. Information on national organizations and agencies represented in this series includes: American Farmland Trust, American Trails Network, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Bureau of Land Management, Rails-to-Trails, American Rivers, United States Department of Agriculture, New England Forestry Foundation, the Conservation Fund (Greenways for America Program), National Park Service, National Center for Nonprofit Boards, National Endowment for the Arts, the Conservation Foundation, National Parks and Conservation Association, and the Land Trust Exchange. A list of greenway-related organizations, such as the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Nature Conservancy, the National Institute for Urban Wildlife, and the Walkways Center, which includes addresses and telephone numbers, is also located in this series. This series is arranged alphabetically, with general reference material placed at the end of the series.
Bibliographic Data Base Search
Chapter Four-Reference Material
Chapter Six-Reference Material
Chapter Eight-Reference Material
Chapter Ten-Comments and Drafts
Pima County River Parks, Arizona
Pima County River Parks, Arizona
Santa Margarita River, California
Illinois Greenways-Masters Thesis
Northern Route 128 Corridor, Massachusetts
Brooklyn-Queens Greenway, New York
Mohonk Preserve, New York
French Broad Riverfront, North Carolina
Forty Mile Loop, Oregon
Kingsport Greenbelt, Tennessee
The Report of the President's Commission. Americans Outdoors: The Legacy, the Challenge: With Case Studies. Covelo, California: Island Press, 1987.
Diamant, Rolf, J., et al. A Citizen's Guide to River Conservation. Washington, D.C.: Conservation Foundation, 1984.
Diamond Henry L., et al. with Douglass Lea. Greenways in the Hudson River Valley: A New Strategy for Preserving an American Treasure. Tarrytown, New York: Sleepy Hollow Press, 1988.
Dykeman, Wilma. The French Broad. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc., 1955.
Federal Highway Administration. Scenic Byways. Washington, D.C.: 1988.
Greenbelt Alliance. Reviving the Sustainable Metropoli. San Francisco: n.d.(1989?).
Houle, Marcy Cottrell. One City's Wilderness: Portland's Forest Park. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press, 1988.
Land Trust Exchange. 1989 National Directory of Conservation Land Trusts. Alexandria, Virginia: 1989.
Mackintosh, Gay, ed. Preserving Communities and Corridors. Washington, D.C.: Defenders of Wildlife, 1989.
Mitchell, John G. High Rock. New York: Friends of High Rock, 1976.
The President's Commission on Americans Outdoors. A Literature Review. Washington, D.C.: 1986.
Shoemaker, Joe, with Leonard A. Stevens. Returning the Platte to the People. Denver, Colorado, The Platte River Greenway Foundation, 1981.
Simpson, Jeffrey. An American Treasure: The Hudson River Valley. Tarrytown, New York: Sleepy Hollow Restorations, Inc, 1986.
Stokes, Samuel N., et al. Saving America's Countryside: A Guide to Rural Conservation. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. National Water Quality Inventory: 1986 Report to Congress. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987.
Treasures of the Greenbelt: A Celebration of the Countryside in the San Francisco Bay Region, 1986.
Whatever Befalls the Earth...Collin County Cares, Collin County Public Works, McKinney, Texas.
Charles E. Beveridge
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