Author talk delves into history of the forest service
CAMDEN — Author Bibi Gaston will speak at Camden Public Library, Friday, Feb. 15, at 3 p.m.
Her latest book, Gifford Pinchot and the First Foresters: The Untold Story of the Brave Men and Women Who Launched the American Conservation Movement tells the story of her great-granduncle Gifford Pinchot. Pinchot served as chief forester of the U.S. Forest Service from 1905 to 1909.
In 2005, six tattered blue boxes were unearthed in the Library of Congress’s Pinchot Collection in Washington D.C. Inside were 5,000 pages of letters describing the work of early resource conservation professionals. The letters were labeled simply “The Old Timers.”
The letters, penned between the years 1937 and 1941 by the first class of American Forest Rangers to serve under President Theodore Roosevelt and first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, offered a mirror to the America we once were, and an optimistic guidebook for the road ahead.
These narratives tell of extreme hardship, fearless struggle, confrontations with cattlemen, miners, loggers, and the challenges of turning confrontations into cooperation and gratitude. It wasn’t an easy life by any means, but to these men and women, a life of service was the best life they could imagine, according to the Camden Public Library, in a news release. To a one, they were grateful for the chance to live a meaningful life in a time of struggle.
"We owe our country’s natural beauty to the Old Timers," said Bibi Gaston, in the release.
Bibi Gaston’s first book, The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries and Her Granddaughter's Search for Home was published by William Morrow / Harper Collins in hardback in 2008 and by Harper Perennial in a paperback edition in 2009.
Copies of both of Gaston's books will be available for sale and signing.