Date of Award

Spring 2021

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Kurk Dorsey

Second Advisor

Ann M Little

Third Advisor

Char Miller


The traditional narrative of the Forest Service places the mythic “two-fisted” male ranger as the focus of its history. The reality is that without women he would not have gotten the job done. Women’s work as advocates, foresters, rangers’ wives, clerks, information and education specialists, scientific researchers, and lookouts reveals that although women were excluded from the male domain of forestry, they created a distinct female tradition within the Forest Service—what one called a “feminine forestry” that proved without women, the Forest Service would not have achieved its accomplishments or growth throughout the twentieth century. Throughout their work, women spread their version of the “greatest good” by promoting the conservation cause, a civic and moral responsibility to conserve nature and people’s relationship with the land for the future benefit of American life and values. From the beginning, they played a critical role in pioneering, building, maintaining, and supporting the agency’s forest management infrastructure, information base, conservation education, scientific research, and fixed-point fire detection system, helping to shape the Forest Service’s mission and management of caring for the land and its people into the twenty-first century.