Term: Winter 2015
Associate Professor in the Department of History and School of Journalism at Michigan State University
I am writing a book called Dead Tree Media: The Industrial Newspaper in the Twentieth Century. In the book, I follow the printed newspaper from its arboreal origins, through the industrial production process, and into the hands of readers. In writing what I am calling an industrial and environmental history of the newspaper, a good deal of my research has involved studying the histories of forestry and conservation. As newspaper circulations rose dramatically in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the increasing demand for newsprint caused many paper manufacturers in the northern United States to deplete many of their readily available wood sources. At the policy level, this resulted in an ultimately successful campaign to get pulp and paper from Canada under favorable trade conditions. It also resulted in significant concerns and projects within the US Forest Service to better regulate domestic timber resources. The era that saw the creation of the modern mass circulation newspaper also saw the creation of the modern conservationist movement, and my book tries to weave together these often unconnected histories.
“I had a great experience at Grey Towers. The setting is beautiful, even in February, and the staff is fantastic. Prior to coming, I was able to spend several days in Washington working with Gifford Pinchot’s papers at the Library of Congress and in several collections at the National Archives in College Park, MD. Once here, I found it to be easy access from Milford to New York City, and I was able to make a quick research trip to the New York Public Library while in residence. All in all it was wonderful place to spend a month. The setting and the people made it an ideal setting to work and write. I can’t say enough good things about the US Forest Service and the Grey Towers Heritage Association for sustaining this fellowship program.”