William O'Farrell Fellowship Awarded

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Submitted by David

NHF is pleased to announce that the 2012 award goes to Oliver Gaycken, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of English. The Fellowship provides a stipend of $1,500 to support research at NHF.

Gaycken’s work will focus on the role film played in the depiction and development of forestry culture during the middle part of the twentieth century, roughly 1935-1985. That period saw the rise and predominance of scientifically managed forestry practices. Gaycken will use NHF’s holdings to investigate the promotional, industrial, and government sponsored films that were adjuncts to the transformation of the timber industry. Specifically, how did film play a part in effecting a shift from more locally based, smaller-scale businesses to larger-scale, scientifically managed industries. How did film portray this change from older practices and craft traditions to practices that were increasingly mechanized and rationalized? What role did film play in disseminating and defending this new approach? To what extent did universities and government agencies use film either in place of or in addition to other media (pamphlets, extension officers, fair exhibits)? And, finally, what role did amateur filmmaking play in reflecting or contesting this cultural shift?

From our start, working on the 1930 amateur industrial film From Stump to Ship, the forest industry has been very well represented in our collections. The individuals who worked in the woods, the paper companies who processed the raw materials, and the states who promoted these activities have provided us a wealth of moving images documenting this industry and the role it played in the region’s history.

See a sample of From Stump to Ship: http://oldfilm.org/content/stump-ship-3

The results of Oliver's research will be presented at the 2013 Summer Symposium.