Synchronize with the table of contents  INTRODUCTION



The papers were donated by Arthur H. Carhart.


The collection is open for research.


Arthur H. Carhart Papers are the physical property of the Denver Public Library.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.


[Identification of item], Arthur H. Carhart Papers, CONS88, Conservation Collection, The Denver Public Library.


Number of Boxes: 25

Number of Audiovisual Boxes: 3

Number of Oversize Boxes: 4

Number of Oversize Folders: 6

Number of Photograph Boxes: 7

Number of Oversize Photo Boxes: 3

Number of Photo Envelopes: 8




Elizabeth Happy



Claudia Jensen

July 2006

Revised 2007


Ellen Zazzarino


Arthur Hawthorne Carhart was born September 18, 1892, in Mapleton, Iowa to George William and Ella Louise Hawthorne Carhart. He received his B.S. in landscape architecture from Iowa State College in 1916 and briefly worked for a landscape architect firm in Chicago. Enlisting in the Army in 1917, he served as a public health officer in the Sanitary Corps at Camp Mead, Maryland until 1919. Carhart married Vera Amelia Van Sickle on August 16, 1918.

When Carhart joined the U.S. Forest Service in 1919 as its first recreational engineer, he and Vera relocated to Denver, Colorado, where he was stationed at the Regional Office. It was during his work for the Forest Service that Carhart traveled to Trappers Lake in the White River National Forest of Colorado to survey the area for development of cabins around the lake. His report, which recommended that the lake be kept free of development and maintained for public use, was accepted by his supervisor, setting the Forest Service on a new path. He later discussed this report at length with Aldo Leopold, advocating the concept of leaving land untouched and in an undeveloped state, as wilderness.

In 1920, Carhart completed a recreation plan for the San Isabel National Forest. Surveying the Superior National Forest in Minnesota in 1921 for potential road-building, Carhart further expanded his concept of protecting undeveloped areas as wilderness. He worked for years to insure the protection of the Superior National Forest and the Quetico-Superior Boundary Water Canoe Area against development.

Carhart left the Forest Service in 1922 after losing funding for Forest Service recreational development. Shortly afterwards he joined Irvin J. McCrary and Frank H. Culley, landscape architects and city planners (900 Exchange Building, Denver, Colorado). He left the firm in 1931 to devote his time to freelance writing.

1938 brought Carhart back to federal employment when he became co-coordinator for the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration. he served in this position until 1943. He was then employed as Regional Information Executive for the Office of Price Administration until 1946.

After World War II, Carhart continued to write, producing many works of fiction, but also numerous works of non-fiction about water, timber, hunting, fishing and conservation of natural resources. His material was published as books and as articles in sporting, conservation and home magazines. He was a member of many organizations such as the Izaak Walton League, the Desert Protective Council Educational Foundation, and helped to start the Colorado Author's League. He served on several committees including the Citizens Committee for the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission (ORRRC) and as a trustee for the J.N. Darling Fund.

In the early 1960s, when Carhart began to search for a repository that would accept his collection of conservation material, he was surprised to learn that no library or archives was working to preserve the records of persons involved in the early conservation movement. Talking with John Eastlick, Denver City Librarian, about the problem resulted in an agreement that the Denver Public Library would be an appropriate place to build such a collection. Over the next several years, Carhart worked to create the Conservation Library Center as the premier resource not only for historical information about the conservation movement, but to bring together all relevant material for researchers working in the field. In 1968 the Conservation Library Center was the recipient of the American Motors Conservation Award.

Carhart's efforts to advance the cause of conservation and to preserve the historical record was recognized by many organizations. He was the recipient of several awards, among them:

  • 1956 Founder's Award, Izaak Walton League
  • 1958 Conservation Award, Outdoor Writers of American Association
  • 1966 Conservationist of the Year, American Forest Products Industry
  • 1968 Honorary Game Protector, Colorado Game and Fish Commission
  • 1972 Distinguished Achievement Citation, Alumni Association, Iowa State University

On January 29, 1966, Carhart's wife and companion of forty-eight years, Vera Amelia Carhart, died. Within two years, Carhart suffered a stroke and shortly thereafter moved to California to be near his niece, Joy Fuenzalida, who helped care for him until his death on November 27, 1978.


The Carhart papers covers a broad span of Arthur Hawthorne Carhart's life. Early material includes college yearbooks and reports and army sanitation reports written when Carhart served at Camp Meade during World War I. The bulk of the papers, however, document his professional life beginning in 1919 when he moved to Denver, Colorado to work for the U.S. Forest Service, and continuing through his founding of the Conservation Center Library, right up to his death in 1978.

Although his professional concerns were always linked to the land and man's use of natural resources, Carhart promoted these interests in several ways through his work with: the Forest Service, as a landscape architect and city planner, and as a writer and radio host. The papers reflects all these activities through Forest Service reports, city planning reports, landscape articles, and his manuscripts and radio scripts.

The collection contains material from the Colorado Author's League which Carhart founded, the Outdoor Writers of America Association, and the J. N. "Ding" Darling Foundation. Correspondence between Carhart and his publishers often examine the themes that he felt should be presented to the public, such as the use of public lands and wildlife management.

The collection also contains Carhart's research notes, reference materials, audio tapes, film and photographs. The taped interviews are primarily with former Forest Service employees, which Carhart made as part of an oral history project for the Denver Public Library. There are also personal tapes Carhart used for corresponding with family and friends after he suffered a stroke.


Conservation Library Center Records, CONS122

Joseph Pender Papers, CONS191

Stanley Young Papers, CONS83

McCrary, Culley and Carhart Collection (Landscape Architects), WH504

Robert Frost correspondence, -M1568

Vilhjalmur Stefansson correspondence, -M1563


Colorado Historical Society: Family photograph; BPF; F-8019; F-9101-9106; F-9131-1940

Mapleton Public Library, Mapleton, Iowa: Genealogy, photographs, memorabilia, awards

University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections Department: Papers of Arthur Carhart, MsC 576


Carhart maintained an extensive correspondence with a diverse group of people. He frequently made copies of his letters and in many instances, these copies accompany the letters he received. The subject matter varies greatly, but most often centers around issues of public land management, wildlife management and government policies. Frequently, personal greetings and information are included. The correspondence in this series is arranged in chronological order, beginning in 1920 and continuing until just prior to his death in 1978.


This series contains the reference materials Carhart used in researching conservation issues. There is information on wildlife management, water rights - particularly those of the Colorado River and public land use. Reference material directly associated with Carhart's books are included with the manuscripts in Series 3.

SERIES 3 WRITINGS, BOX 9-23, 1916-1975 :

Carhart wrote on a wide range of topics - western fiction, hunting and fishing, wilderness, water rights and timber. His works were published as articles in magazines and as books. The series begins with the extensive correspondence Carhart maintained with his publishers and gives insight into the process of developing a work for publication, the varied needs and expectations of publishers, and the methods of payment for materials used. It continues with his books, first those which remained unpublished, by title, then his published books by date of publication. The series continues with Carhart's articles, first the manuscripts, then the published material. Most of the article manuscripts are undated, but some include a cover sheet documenting submissions to publishers and payment. The series concludes with Carhart's radio scripts, speeches and a small amount of poetry.


Drawing on his extensive network of people who had worked for the Forest Service or conservation organizations, Carhart solicited donations to the Conservation Library Center. His goal was to create a single resource for information related to wilderness, public land use, wildlife preservation, and the conservation of natural resources. His work is reflected in the material of this series, which includes his correspondence on behalf of the library and the awards received.

SERIES 5 PERSONAL, BOX 24-25, 1892-1979 :

A small amount of correspondence exists between Carhart and his parents, his wife Vera, and his niece Joy Fuenzalida. Additional material includes college yearbooks, scrapbooks, awards, journals and memorabilia.


Carhart created an oral history of conservation issues through a series of interviews and reminiscences. The recordings in this series contain these interviews, as well as tapes he made later in the 1970s when he was living in California. Many tapes are in response to letters he received from family and friends.


The material of this series includes galley proofs of Carhart's books Colorado and Planning for America's Wildlands. It also contains a large number of maps for roadless areas and National Forest areas. Of particular interest is the 1911 map of Superior National Forest with extensive notes describing Carhart's canoe trip through the area later known as the Boundary Water Canoe Area. A letter to his wife, Vera, about this trip is included in the Personal series (Box 24, FF3). Carhart's interest in writing extended even to children's stories. The Adventures of Pinto the Cowboy Pony is a set which includes the book written by Carhart and five small toy animals. Two sets are included in the collection.


The collection includes images of the Carhart family as well as pictures related to Carhart's many environmental concerns. Some were used to illustrate his publications. Most of these images were photographed by Carhart, but some were taken by the U.S. Forest Service or by commercial photographers. The subjects include: travel, National Parks, hunting, fishing, and forest management. Most of the negatives appear to have corresponding prints. Many of the negatives in this collection have been identified as cellulose nitrate and all are stored in the STXV freezer (photo envelope 1-8). Access to the negatives is restricted and requires the permission of the archivist.



  • Carhart, Arthur Hawthorne, -- b. 1892 -- Archives.
  • United States. Forest Service -- Officials and employees.
  • J.N. "Ding" Darling Foundation.
  • Outdoor Writers Association of America.
  • Izaak Walton League of America.
  • Colorado Author's League.
  • Lower Colorado River land Use Advisory Committee.
  • Conservationists -- United Staes.
  • Forests and forestry -- United States.
  • Water conservation -- United States.
  • Lumber trade -- United States.
  • Land use -- United States.
  • Wilderness areas -- United States.
  • Colorado River (Colo.-Mexico)
  • Superior National Forest (Minn.)
  • San Isabel National Forest (Colo.)
  • Trapper's Lake (Colo.)