Ronald E. Ostman and Harry Littell
Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers: A Visual History of Pennsylvania's Railroad Lumbering Communities
The Photographic Legacy of William T. Clarke
Penn State UP 2016
In Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers, Ronald E. Ostman and Harry Littell draw on the stunning documentary photography of William T. Clarke to tell the story of Pennsylvanias lumber heyday, a time when loggers serving the needs of a rapidly growing and globalizing country forever altered the dense forests of the states northern tier.
Discovered in a shed in upstate New York and a barn in Pennsylvania after decades of obscurity, Clarkes photographs offer an unprecedented view of the logging, lumbering, and wood industries during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They show the great forests in the process of coming down, and the trains that hauled away the felled trees and trimmed logs. And they show the workerscruisers, jobbers, skidders, teamsters, carpenters, swampers, wood hicks, and bark peelerstheir camps and workplaces, their families, their communities. The work was demanding and dangerous; the work sites and housing were unsanitary and unsavory. The changes the newly industrialized logging business wrought were immensely important to the nations growth at the same time that they were fantasticallyand tragicallytransformative to the landscape.
An extraordinary look at a little-known photographers work and the people and industry he documented, this book reveals, in sharp detail, the history of the third phase of lumber in America.