Dickerman, Ernest M. Papers, 1936-2005

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Summary Information

Repository:
Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Creator:
Ernest M. Dickerman, 1910-1998
Title:
Ernest M. Dickerman Papers
Collection No.:
SC 0143
Date:
1936-2005
Extent:
4 boxes, 1 rolled storage container, 1 flat file, 5.07 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
English
Abstract:
The Ernest M. Dickerman Papers, 1936-2005, contain a wide variety of materials that document Dickerman's efforts to obtain Congressional designations of wilderness for various tracts of public land, primarily in Virginia. The collection also contains papers of the Virginia Wilderness Committee (VWC), a grass roots conservation group that Dickerman led.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box # folder #], Ernest M. Dickerman Papers, 1936-2005, SC 0143, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

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Bio/Historical Note

Ernest M. Dickerman was born December 22, 1910 in Austin, Illinois, and moved to the Adirondacks in New York at three years old. When he was about six years old, the family moved to Richmond, Virginia where his mother died of tuberculosis when Dickerman was nine. Sometime later, the family moved to Roanoke. Dickerman attended Gettysburg Academy and Oberlin College (class of 1931). In 1934 he began working for the newly created Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in Knoxville, Tennessee. Immediately, he fell in love with the Great Smoky Mountains, met conservationist Harvey Broome, and became deeply involved in the battles to preserve the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from development. He was a 1936 charter member of The Wilderness Society and knew many of the greatest conservationists of the day, including Bob Marshall, Sigurd Olson, Olaus Murie, and Howard Zahniser.

After a few years at TVA, Dickerman took a job with a plastics molding firm (apparently called the Patent Button Co. of Tennessee), also in Knoxville. He retired from a position as production manager in 1966, and in 1969 moved to the headquarters office of The Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C. as a staff organizer. He traveled frequently to teach citizens how to identify, map, and build support for wilderness areas throughout the East and Midwest. He also lobbied Congress on numerous wilderness bills, wrestled with federal land managing agencies (Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service), and was highly instrumental in passage of the 1975 Eastern Wilderness Bill. During the 1960s Dickerman also served as manager for the Robert Marshall Wilderness Fund, as evidenced by a notebook of typed minutes from the first thirteen years of the Fund (established by the will of Robert Marshall), 1940-1953, in which are inserted several 1968 letters to and from Dickerman.

When he retired from The Wilderness Society in 1976 and moved to his nephew's newly acquired mountain farm near Buffalo Gap in Swoope, Augusta County, Virginia, he was almost immediately elected president of the Virginia Wilderness Committee. At that time he inherited the organization's files prior to 1976. The Virginia Wilderness Committee (VWC) had been founded in Williamsburg at William & Mary College by a small group of private citizens in 1969 to promote the federal designation of wilderness in Virginia according to the 1964 Wilderness Act. The VWC also became involved in various other issues relevant to preservation of the natural landscape. VWC volunteers donate issues of the newsletter and occasional other VWC documents to keep these current in Dickerman's papers.

Although he held an official position in the VWC only until 1979, Dickerman was the guiding spirit in the movement for Virginia wilderness both before and long after those dates. He was widely renowned for his combination of optimism and canny strategizing, his politeness in dealing with adversaries, and his sense of humor. He died on July 31, 1998. In 1999, friends and colleagues produced a book of tributes titled Ernie Dickerman, 1910-1998: A Tribute.

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Scope and Content

The Ernest M. Dickerman Papers, 1936-2005, contain a wide variety of materials that document Dickerman's efforts to obtain Congressional designations of wilderness for various tracts of public land, primarily in Virginia. The collection also contains papers of the Virginia Wilderness Committee (VWC), a grass roots conservation group that Dickerman led. These papers include correspondence, maps, field notes, reports, news clippings, wilderness proposals, minutes, financial statements, newsletters and other materials, 1940 - current, with most materials dating 1962-1999. The collection documents Dickerman's activities as a leader of the movement to designate wilderness areas on public lands in the eastern United States under the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Eastern Wilderness Act of 1975. Operating papers of the Virginia Wilderness Committee, a grass roots conservation group of which Dickerman served as president for several years, are also included.

Series 1: Places and Policies, 1962-2001, contains maps, reports, conference agendas, environmental assessments, congressional testimony, and some correspondence dealing with specific places, topical issues, and policies of public land agencies. The Laurel Fork, Virginia folders hold the largest body of materials; Laurel Fork was Dickerman's favorite place in Virginia, and he worked intensively (and successfully) against a proposed gas line through it.

Series 2: Correspopndence and Personal Files, 1940-1999, includes carbon copies of Dickerman's outgoing letters, original incoming letters, notebooks, texts for speeches, data sheets he composed about various issues, and other items. One folder contains personal Christmas messages, biographical articles, obituaries, and remembrances.

Series 3: Virginia Wilderness Committee, 1969-2005, includes operational documents including minutes, financial reports, newsletters, Virginia Wilderness coalition notes, the 1984 Virginia Wilderness Bill, and wilderness proposals.

Series 4: Maps, 1936-1991, contains 25 maps described at an item level in the container list.

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Organization

This collection is arranged in five series:

Series 1: Places and Policies, 1962-2001

Series 2: Correspondence and Personal Files, 1940-1999

Series 3: Virginia Wilderness Committee (VWC), 1969-2005

Series 4: Maps, 1936-1991

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Administrative Information

Revision Description

PUBLIC "-//James Madison University::Carrier Library::Special Collections//TEXT (US::ViHarT::vihart00022::The Ernest M. Dickerman Papers)//EN" "vihart00022.xml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).converted to conform to eadVIVA.dtd by vivastrict.xslConverted to schema conforming EAD by dtd2schema.vh.xsl. Feb 19, 2004Feb 25, 20042013-11-21

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Acquisition Information

Donated by Ernest M. Dickerman in November 1994. After Dickerman's death in 1998, several additions of papers were donated by his nephew and executor, Robert Dickerman.

Processing Information

In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SC 3085. The collection was minimally reprocessed in early 2018, at which time the finding aid to the Wilderness Society Papers at the Denver Public Library was removed and added to the collection control file.

Location

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL: https://www.lib.jmu.edu/special/

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Related Materials

Related Material

Wilderness Society Records, CoONS130, Conservation Collection, The Denver Pubilc Library.

Ernie Dickerman, interviewed by Dominic Pisciotta, 1994, Sd-Arch 6-3, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Separated Material

A duplicate copy of Elizabeth Murray's, ed. Ernie Dickerman, 1910-1998: A Tribute (The Wilderness Society, 1999) was removed from the collection and added to the Special Collections rare book holdings. A copy is also retained in the collection.

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Index Terms

Subject

  • Dickerman, Ernest M., 1910-1998
  • Dickerman, Ernest M., 1910-1998 -- Correspondence
  • United States. Forest Service -- History
  • Virginia Wilderness Committee
  • United States. Wilderness Act
  • United States. Wilderness Act of 1984
  • United States. Wilderness Act of 1988
  • United States. Eastern Wilderness Areas Act of 1975
  • Sierra Club. Virginia Chapter
  • Wilderness Society
  • Wilderness areas -- Virginia -- Management
  • Wilderness areas -- Law and legislation
  • Environmental protection -- Shenandoah River Valley (Va. and W. Va.) -- Citizen participation
  • National parks and reserves -- United States -- Southern Region
  • National parks and reserves -- United States -- Virginia
  • Forest reserves -- Multiple use
  • Forest reserves -- Recreational use
  • Forest management
  • Wildlife management
  • Wildlife refuges -- United States -- Southern Region
  • Forest policy -- United States -- History
  • Forests and forestry -- History
  • Lobbying -- Law and legislation
  • Lobbyists -- United States
  • Wildlife conservationists -- Virginia
  • Saint Mary's Wilderness (Va.)
  • James River Face Wilderness Area (Va.)
  • Ramsey's Draft Wilderness (Va.)
  • Mountain Lake Wilderness Area (Va.)
  • Peters Mountain Wilderness Area (Va.)
  • Rich Hole Roadless Area (Va.)
  • George Washington National Forest (Va. and W. Va.)
  • Jefferson National Forest

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Bibliography

"Grandad of the Eastern Wilderness," Sierra Magazine, Nov/Dec, 1986.

Bolgiano, Chris. The Appalachian Forest, A Search for Roots and Renewal. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1998.

Murray, Elizabeth, ed. Ernie Dickerman, 1910-1998: A Tribute. The Wilderness Society, 1999.

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Places and Policies, 1962-2001

Title/Description Instances
Alaska-Pipeline, etc., 1971-1973 box 1 folder 1
Assateague, 1970-1974 box 1 folder 2
Assorted State Issues, 1969-1974 box 1 folder 3
Back Creek-Pumped Storage Project, 1973-1974 box 1 folder 4
Back Bay-Vehicular Access Flight, 1970-1981 box 1 folder 5
Back Bay-Wilderness Proposals, 1974-1978 box 1 folder 6
Big Levels/St. Marys, 1972-1979 box 1 folder 7
Bull Run Mountain, 1973 box 1 folder 8
Central Atlantic Environment Center, 1972 box 1 folder 9
Conservation Council of Virginia, 1971-1975 box 1 folder 10
Crawford Mountain, 1973-1974 box 1 folder 11
Cumberland Gap, 1967-1973 box 1 folder 12
Dismal Swamp, 1972-1975 box 1 folder 13
Eastern Wilderness Bill-House, 1973-1974 box 1 folder 14
Eastern Wilderness Bill-Senate, 1973-1974 box 1 folder 15
Eastern Wilderness Bill-Senate Hearings, 1973 box 1 folder 16
Eastern Wilderness Bill-Wilderness Areas, 1975 box 1 folder 16A
Eastern Wilderness Bill-Citizens For Eastern Wilderness Memoranda, 1973-1975 box 1 folder 16B
Gathright, 1972-1973 box 1 folder 17
Hipes Dam, 1967-1972 box 1 folder 18
James River Face, Cave Mtn. Lake, 1971-1974 box 1 folder 19
Laurel Fork, 1962-1974 box 1 folder 20
Laurel Fork-Gas Line Proposal, 1975-1995 box 1 folder 21
Laurel Fork-Gas Line Proposal, 1975-1996 box 1 folder 22
Laurel Fork-Environmental Assessment, Decision Notice and Responses, 1995-1997 box 1 folder 23
Little River, 1973-1974 box 2 folder 1
Little Stoney, 1973 box 2 folder 2
Mason Neck, 1973 box 2 folder 3
Massanutten, 1974 box 2 folder 4
Mt. Pleasant, 1985-1987 box 2 folder 5
Mt. Rogers, 1971-1977 box 2 folder 6
Mountain Lake, Peters Mountain, Mill Creek, 1974, 1994 box 2 folder 7
National Forests, 1969-1989 box 2 folder 8
National Forests-Unit Planning, 1972-1974 box 2 folder 9
Ramseys Draft, 1968-1979 box 2 folder 10
Rich Hole, 1973-1977 box 2 folder 11
Roadless Areas, 1991 box 2 folder 12
Roadless Areas, 1992-1994 box 2 folder 13
Salem Church Dam, 1971-1973 box 2 folder 14
Shenandoah National Park Wilderness, 1967-1973 box 2 folder 15
Shenandoah Wilderness, 1987-2001 box 2 folder 16
Sierra Club - Virginia Groups, 1973-1974 box 2 folder 17
Virginia Environmental Cooridination Legislation, 1973 box 2 folder 18
Virginia State Parks, 1971-1973 box 2 folder 19
Wetlands, 1970-1972 box 2 folder 20
Wild Areas Bill, 1972 box 2 folder 21

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Series 2: Correspondence and Personal Files, 1940-1999

Title/Description Instances
Correspondence, 1962-1976 box 2 folder 22
Correspondence, January-June 1977 box 2 folder 23
Correspondence, July-December 1977 box 2 folder 24
Correspondence, January-June 1978 box 2 folder 25
Correspondence, July-December 1978 box 2 folder 26
Correspondence, January-April 1979 box 2 folder 27
Correspondence, May-August 1979 box 2 folder 28
Correspondence, September-December 1979 box 2 folder 29
Correspondence, 1980 box 2 folder 30
Correspondence, 1981 box 3 folder 1
Correspondence, 1982 box 3 folder 2
Correspondence, 1983 box 3 folder 3
Correspondence, 1984 box 3 folder 4
Correspondence, 1985-1987 box 3 folder 5
Correspondence, 1988-1990 box 3 folder 6
Correspondence, 1991 box 3 folder 7
Correspondence, 1992-1995 box 3 folder 8
Correspondence, 1996-1998 box 3 folder 9
Master List of Basic Statements on Wilderness, 1983-1997 box 3 folder 10
Personal: obituaries, biography, Christmas cards, and photographs, 1967-1999 box 3 folder 11
Talks by Ernest M. Dickerman, 1979-1996 box 3 folder 12
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 1965-1967 box 3 folder 13
Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, 1967-1971 box 3 folder 14
Wilderness Workshops, 1967-1968 box 3 folder 15
Dickerman's notebooks, 1966-1976 box 3 folder 15A
Robert Marshall Wilderness Fund Minutes Book, 1940-1969 box 3 folder 15B

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Series 3: Virginia Wilderness Committee (VWC), 1969-2005

Title/Description Instances
Virginia Wilderness Bill Hearings, 1984 box 3 folder 16
Virginia Wilderness Coalition, 1979-1987 box 3 folder 17
VWC Correspondence, 1970-1974 box 3 folder 18
VWC Finances, 1969-2001 box 3 folder 19
VWC Hot Line, 1971-1972 box 3 folder 20
VWC Minutes Membership, 1971-1979 box 3 folder 21
VWC Minutes Membership, 1980-1997 box 3 folder 22
VWC Newsletters, 1970-2005 box 4 folder 1
Wilderness Proposals (folder 1 of 2), 1970s box 4 folder 2
Wilderness Proposals (folder 2 of 2), 1970s box 4 folder 3
Wilderness Proposals, 1980s box 4 folder 4
Wilderness Proposals (folder 1 of 2), 1990s box 4 folder 5
Wilderness Proposals (folder 2 of 2), 1990s box 4 folder 6

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Series 4: Maps, 1936-1991

Title/Description Instances
Maps 1-5, 7-9, 15-24, 1936-1991, undated Map Case 1 Drawer 3 folder 1
Map 1: Thornwood Gas, Inc.; Pipeline Gathering Route Location Map; Pocahontas, Pendleton and Randolph Counties, West Virginia; Scale 1=2000, undated
Map 2: US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service; George Washington National Forest; Virginia and West Virginia, 1936
Map 3: United States, Department of the Interior, Geological Survey; Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Vicinity; Tennessee and North Carolina, Scale 1:125000, 1949

With lines probably indicating proposed wilderness.

Map 4: Proposed Southern Nantahala Wilderness Area; Hightower Bald G.A.-N.C. and Dillard G.A.-N.C., 1946
Map 5: United States, Department of the Interior, Geological Survey; Tennessee Valley Authority, Maps and Surveys Branch; Shooting Creek Quadrangle 159-SW, Rainbow Springs Quadrangle 159-SE, Prentiss Quadrangle 167-SW, North Carolina, 7.5 Minute Series (Topographic), undated
Map 7: United States, Department of the Interior, Geological Survey; Thornwood Quadrangle, Snow Mountain Quadrangle, WVA-VA, 1969
Map 8: United States, Department of the Interior, Geological Survey; Commonwealth of Virginia; Snowden Quadrangle, 1966
Map 9a-9b: Proposed Whitetop Mountain Wilderness Area and Addition to the Lewis Fork Wilderness Area, Scale 1 = 200. 9b , undated

Overlay with proposed wilderness boundaries.

Map 15: Proposed Chattachoochee Wilderness Area, United States, Department of the Interior, Geological Survey; Jacks Gap Quadrangle, Tray Mountain Quadrangle, Georgia, 1950, 1957
Map 16: United States Geological Survey; Shenandoah National Park (Central Section), 1969
Map 17: United States Geological Survey; Shenandoah National Park (Southern Section), 1969
Map 18: United States Geological Survey; Shenandoah National Park (Northern Section), 1969
Map 19: Three Ridges Proposed Wilderness Area, United States Geological Survey Quadrangles: Big Levels, Sherando, Massies Mill, Horseshoe Mountain, Citizen Proposal compiled by James Madison University Geography Department, December 1990
Map 20: Mount Pleasant Proposed Wilderness Area, United States Geological Survey Quadrangles: Forks of Buffalo, Montebello, Citizen Proposal compiled by James Madison University Geography Department, February 1991
Map 21: Kelley Mountain-Big Levels Proposed Wilderness Area, United States Geological Survey Quadrangles: Big Levels, Sherando, Citizen Proposal compiled by James Madison University Geography Department, February 1991
Map 22: Skidmore Fork Proposed Wilderness Area, United States Geological Survey Quadrangles: Brandywine, February 1991
Map 23: The Priest Proposed Wilderness Area, United States Geological Survey Quadrangles: Massies Mill, May 1991
Map 24: Ramsey's Draft Addition Proposed Wilderness Area, United States Geological Survey Quadrangles: Palo Alto, West Augusta, McDowell, December 1990
Maps 6, 10-14, 25, 1965-1984 Storage 1
Map 6: James River Face Wilderness and Vicinity, March 1976
Map 10: Beartown, Roadless and Undeveloped Area, Jefferson N.F. VA., 9/15/77, Hutchinson Rock and Tazwell South Quads, Scale 1:24000, 1977

With attached information.

Map 11: Mountain Lake Wilderness Study Area, Virginia, Jefferson N.F., Scale 1:24000, 1965
Map 12: Little Wilson and Thunder Ridge Roadless and Undeveloped Areas, Jefferson N.F. VA., 9/15/77, Trout Dale Quad, Scale 1:24000, 1977

With attached information.

Map 13: Devils Fork and Roaring Branch Roadless and Undeveloped Areas, Jefferson N.F. VA., 9/15/77, East Stone Gap Quad, Scale 1:24000; Roaring Branch, Roadless and Undeveloped Area, Jefferson N.F. VA., 9/15/77, Appalachia & Big Stone Gap Quads, Scale 1:24000, 1977

With attached information.

Map 14: Little Dry Run and Lewis Fork Roadless and Undeveloped Areas, Jefferson N.F. VA., 9/15/77, Speedwell, VA Quad, Scale 1:24000; Lewis Fork, Roadless and Undeveloped Area, Jefferson N.F. VA., 9/15/77, Whitetop Mtn. Quad, Scale 1:24000, 1977

With attached information.

Map 25: Rough Mountain and Rich Hole, George Washington N. F. Va., 1/25/1984, Scale 1:24000, 1984

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