Tales of the United States Forest Service

The Shared History program has begun a collaboration with the Office of the Chief Historian of the United States Forest Service (USFS) on an oral history project to collect stories from former USFS employees. The project has two components, a summer workshop on oral historical research to be taught by Federal public historians and a fall semester story collection campaign.

The workshop is open to all members of the University community. Members of the University community who are interested in the practicalities of oral historical research and who might like an opportunity to practice the collection of oral histories are encouraged to attend the workshop and, if they wish, consider volunteering for the collection story campaign. Students are more than welcome to participate in the project and to receive training in oral history.

Undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in a deeper dive into oral history practice and oral history theory — how to do oral history, considerations around the practice and use of oral histories, how oral histories differ from other forms of historical knowledge — are encouraged to enroll in HIST 485/685, Oral History, to be taught during the fall semester of 2022.


As part of this project, Shared History is hosting an oral history workshop. The goal of the workshop is to introduce oral history best practices to anyone in the University community — students or faculty — interested in undertaking oral historical research or just curious about it. The workshop will also serve as an introduction to the collaboration for potential volunteers who might wish to gain some practice in oral history. Students enrolled in HIST 485.685, Oral History, will also participate in the project as a practicum component of the course.

The UNR SH/USFS Oral History workshop is June 11th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The program will be in Lincoln Hall but also available on Zoom.

The workshop will be two parts. An introduction to practicing oral history as a Federal public historian presented by the U.S. Park Service’s oral historian, Lu Ann Jones, will begin at 10 a.m. and continue to noon. After a lunch break, we will return at 1 p.m. to see Lincoln Bramwell’s presentation on the U.S. Forest Service oral history program which will run to 3 p.m. Lincoln Bramwell is the chief historian of the USFS.

Lu Ann Jones’s presentation will be of interest to anyone thinking about state/Federal careers as historians. She trained at the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently responsible for oral historical research and training for the United States Park Service in Washington D.C. Previously, she directed “An Oral History of Southern Agriculture” at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Her previous research may be of interest to anyone with food and foodways in their heart. Attending might be a good opportunity for any students to make connections that also might prove useful in the future either for research or career reasons.

Lincoln Bramwell’s presentation will be more focused on the United States Forest Service and the joint UNR Shared History/USFS oral history project. During his presentation, he will talk about work as a Federal historian of the land, so anyone interested in land/land-use issues and history may find his presentation of value, too. Lincoln Bramwell trained in Public History at UNLV and has served as the United States Forest Service’s chief historian for a number of years with responsibilities in Washington D.C. and in the field. He has run the USFS’s oral history program during his tenure. His current research focuses on American agriculture and the role of forest conservation. Lincoln Bramwell’s responsibilities include interacting with Congressional committees to provide the U.S. Congress with historical perspective.

Story collection campaign

The story collection campaign will begin the in September 2022. Most of the stories will be collected during a conference event to be held in South Lake Tahoe September 13-17. If you are interested in volunteering to collect stories, please let us know at the workshop.

Students enrolled in HIST 485 or HIST 685 will participate in story collection and analysis as a practical component of the course.

For more information, please contact Christopher von Nagy, Ph.D., Head, Shared History Program.

For similar history story collections:

Story Collections