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This research paper looks at the life and career of Henry S. Graves (1871-1951), the founding dean of the Yale Forest School who, along with Gifford Pinchot, lead efforts to professionalize forest science in the United States. In working to bring a new applied science to the U.S., Graves sought to legitimize forestry within academia, federal bureaucracy, and the communities of the American West. Graves’ diverse career adds rich context to the environmental history of forestry and the history of professionalization. Drawing on Graves’ extensive archives, from his work at the Yale Forest School to his time as second chief forester of the U.S. Forest Service, this paper argues that American forestry grew out of broader national trends toward professionalization and practical education in the early 20th century. In turn, this research sheds light on the unique development of forestry within the university system and federal government, and argues for a fresh look at Graves’ significance in that field. National forestry practice was promoted via both professional and informal channels of power, and Graves’ career highlights the great successes and many limitations of forestry’s first major institutions.

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This Article is Open Access