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R. Nevan McCullough papers

Identifier: Coll 170

Scope and Contents note

The R. Nevan McCullough Papers consist of subject files, personal diaries, U.S. Forest Service daily diaries, other forestry-related material, and a large collection of photographic negatives. It is recommended that researchers read the article about McCullough printed in Time (box 6, folder 2) and the national forest district history he wrote, Interpretive Study of the White River Drainage, box 20). These will introduce the reader to convictions held by McCullough and themes and issues of concern to him.

Subject files are arranged alphabetically and are comprised of correspondence, notes, and publications. Correspondence and documents found within each are in chronological order. Files of special note include those on Robert Cantwell, editor of Sports Illustrated, Hollis Day, owner of the Day store chain, Senator Henry M. Jackson, and Dr. Fritz Querengasser, a German forestry scientist.

Several of the trip diaries are accounts of vacations but most revolve around pack trips McCullough led. While these expeditions were initially recreational, the diaries show that they served to reinforce his notion that designation of wilderness areas is counterproductive. McCullough's personal diaries are both reflective and descriptive. The Forest Service daily diaries are logs of work done in fulfillment of jobs McCullough was contracted to carry out. Included among these are diaries kept by his father, W.A. McCullough, and one by his brother, A.J. McCulluogh. All of the diaries are arranged chronologically.

McCullough's history of the White River Drainage appears in typescript. Also included is a diary of a family ancestor named Kirkpatrick. Finally, a large group of forestry-related negatives have been transferred to the Photograph Collection.

The photographs include approximately 3,000 images of historical forestry, family, and McCullough's pack trips through the wilderness.


  • 1903-1982


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

R. Nevan McCullough was born in 1904 on a forest homestead three miles from Mount Rainier National Park, in Washington State. His father, William A. McCullough, an Irish immigrant, found "stump-farming" too heartbreaking and joined the U.S. Forest Service in 1903, serving until 1922.

Nevan McCullough began working for the Forest Service as a trail builder and fire guard in the early 1920s, and was appointed District Ranger in the White River Ranger District of the Snoqualmie National Forest on April 21, 1928. He served in this position until March 31, 1959. During his thirty-one years in office, McCullough developed a thorough knowledge of the history and geography of the White River area, and came to be highly regarded in the Forest Service for efficient fire safety and timber sales management. During his term of service, McCullough saw sweeping changes in Forest Service implementation of "multiple use" policies, and foresaw the development of a struggle between industry and environmental interests. He was featured in the February 14, 1955 issue of Time magazine ("Woodsman, Chop That Tree," pp. 20-21) as representative of a new breed of "timber manager" forest rangers.

After his retirement in 1958, Nevan McCullough worked as a forestry consultant and trail building contractor, maintained a string of pack-horses with which he led a number of wilderness expeditions, and took part in several historical societies. He built up a fine collection of over 3,000 photographic negatives of historical interest, mostly of forestry subjects, for which he often received use requests from newspapers and magazines.

In 1970, the Forest Service History Project commissioned McCullough to write a history of his district. The result was a publication entitled Interpretive Study of the White River Drainage.

In his last two decades, R. N. McCullough was active in public debate over multiple use and wilderness designation, attempting to state the timber industry's viewpoint in a rational manner, believing in the efficacy of a debate in which each side should be willing to learn from the other. He died in 1983.


19 linear feet (37 containers)

Language of Materials



R. Nevan McCullough (1904-1983) was a U.S. Forest Service ranger, serving as District Ranger of the White River Ranger District of the Snoqualmie National Forest from 1928 to 1959. The collection contains subject files, correspondence, notes, and diaries.

Arrangement note

Collection is arranged in the following series:

Subject Files (correspondence, notes, publications)Trip DiariesPersonal DiariesForest Service Daily DiariesOther MaterialsPhotographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of R. Nevan McCullough in 1982.

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Richard S. Bear.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the R. Nevan McCullough papers
In Progress
Finding aid prepared by Richard S. Bear
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA