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Charles R. Ross Papers, 1933-2001

By Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Nielsen.

Collection Overview

Title: Charles R. Ross Papers, 1933-2001

Predominant Dates: 1936-1964

ID: MSS Ross

Primary Creator: Ross, Charles R. (Charles Robert), 1908-

Extent: 3.8 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Charles R. Ross Papers document the work of Ross as an Extension Forester with Oregon State University, a position he held from 1946 until 1970; his prior work in forestry in Alabama and the Carolinas; and his writings during retirement.

Scope and Content Notes

The Charles R. Ross Papers consist primarily of his publications and writing on forest resources, cultivation, harvesting, and timber marketing; land conservation, preservation of open space, and population growth; and the geography and culture of the southern Appalachians. These include reports prepared during his work in the southeastern United States from 1936 to 1946; publications written as an Extension Forester in Alabama and Oregon; and editorials, letters, and columns written from the 1930s through 2001 on various forestry, social, environmental, and political topics.

The reports document forest resources in Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Missouri; several of the reports include photographs. Field notebooks which Ross used to record information on forest acreage on private lands, people involved in harvesting of trees, and milling operations are included.

The Extension publications include materials produced at Oregon State University as well as by the Alabama Extension Service pertaining to farm forestry.

The editorials, letters and columns include original typescripts, photocopies of published items, and original newspaper clippings. Clippings of The Ranger's Corner columns that Ross wrote as an Assistant U.S. Forest Service Ranger in Georgia in 1937 and of his Let the Trees Grow columns for the Oregon Farmer are part of the collection.

An addition to the Ross Papers (Accession 2011:074) consists of materials documenting the writings, thoughts, and activism of Extension Forester Charles Ross and is made up of biographical materials, class notes, correspondence, maps, newspaper clippings, notebooks, photographs, and publications. Among the items reflecting Ross' work for the Extension Service include annual reports and drafts of publications such as "Trees to Know in Oregon." A collection of letters to the editor penned by Ross that were published in local newspapers is also part of this transfer. Most of the materials pertaining to Ross' activism illustrate his involvement in the preservation of land around the Corvallis area as open space for use by the public. Of particular interest in documentation of Ross' land use activism is his work with the Greenbelt Land Trust (GLT- which he co-founded) and interaction with the Corvallis city government. Dating from 1962 to 1995, the notebooks contain writings and drawings by Ross documenting property surveys, minutes of GLT meetings, notes from various presentations and tours, ideas for Toastmaster talks, thoughts on political/economic news stories, population growth information, quotes, and notes on forestry in Sweden. Numbering 106 slides and 3 negatives, the photographs depict a large oak on the Ross' tree farm and Oregon wildflowers and shrubs featured in presentations and publications. Biographical information on Ross and his family is featured in an award packet compiled for Ross in recognition of being named "Oregon Tree Farmer of the Year."

A second addition to the Ross Papers (Accession 2012:032) consists of materials pertaining to various types of trees that were collected and generated by Ross as a part of the research and writing of the OSU Extension publication "Trees to Know in Oregon." Made up of drawings, newspaper clippings, notes, and publications, these files include chapter drafts and correspondence with researchers, U.S. Forest Service staff, and others for assistance with editorial review and information. Ross worked as an Extension Forestry Specialist for OSU from 1946 until 1970.

A third addition to the Ross Papers (Accession 2013:022) consists of newspaper clippings, notebooks, photographic slides, sound recordings, and speeches. Numbering 585 slides, the images were prepared by Ross for presentations on land use "man-to-land ratio" and related issues of population growth, open public spaces, pollution, and poverty. These slides are a combination of views of urban/rural landscapes throughout the world, text written by Ross, reproductions of print media ads/articles, and city maps showing parklands. Among the images include views of the Corvallis waterfront and other parts of town. The 22 notebooks, dating from 1996 to 2001, contain notes from Greenbelt Land Trust and Corvallis Open Space Commission meetings, quotes/topics for speeches at Toastmaster events, notes from lectures, drafts of speeches, statistics about population growth, sketches of property boundaries/locations, and contact information for various people. The sound recordings are two cassette tapes that contain speeches by Ross on "a concept for Eastern states" and the "future of forestry." The clippings contain stories about Ross' work and recognition as a tree farmer, forester, and land preservation efforts.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Charles R. Ross served as Extension Forester for Oregon State University from 1946 until his retirement in 1970. He earned his B.S. in forestry from the University of Georgia and M.S. from the University of Washington. From 1936 until 1946, he worked in the southeastern United States for the U.S. Forest Service, the Extension Services in South Carolina and Alabama, and as a regional consultant for the American Forestry Association.

Ross authored the popular OSU Extension publication, Trees to Know in Oregon and numerous other publications on 4-H forestry, tree planting, and forest management. He was also a prolific writer on land use and population issues; his letters were published in local and regional newspapers as well as the The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and other national publications.

A founding member of the Greenbelt Land Trust in Corvallis, Ross was instrumental in the preservation of forests and farmland surrounding Corvallis and helped with the purchase of land that would become Chip Ross Park and the Fitton Green Natural Area. Ross died in Corvallis in 2006.

Administrative Information

Accruals: Additions to the collection are expected.

More Extent Information: 100 photographs, 691 slides and 3 negatives; 6 boxes, including 1 oversize box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Related Materials: The Horner Museum Oral History Collection (OH 010) includes an oral history interview conducted of Ross in 1987. Biographical information for Ross is included in the OSU Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC). Additional materials pertaining to forestry extension in Oregon are available in the Forestry Extension Records (RG 103) and the Extension Service Records (RG 111). The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holdings include numerous other collections pertaining to forestry topics.

Preferred Citation: Charles R. Ross Papers (MSS Ross), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Ross, Charles R. (Charles Robert), 1908-
Alabama Polytechnic Institute. Extension Service
American Forestry Association
Appalachian Forest Experiment Station (Asheville, N.C.)
Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina. Extension Service
Oregon State College. Extension Forestry Program
Oregon State College. Federal Cooperative Extension Service
Oregon State University. Extension Forestry Program
Oregon State University. Extension Service

People, Places, and Topics

Forestry extension--Alabama.
Forestry extension--Oregon.
Forestry extension--South Carolina.
Forests and forestry--Alabama.
Forests and forestry--Georgia.
Forests and forestry--Multiple use--Oregon.
Forests and forestry--South Carolina.
Natural Resources
Ross, Charles R. (Charles Robert), 1908-
University History

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