Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers
A Visual History of Pennsylvania’s Railroad Lumbering Communities
By Ronald E. Ostman and Harry Littell, Introduction by Linda A. Ries.
Hardcover, 10.5x9", 252 pages, 121 duotone illustrations. 2016.
"Here's a brilliant photographic history that is not to be missed. The fabulous late nineteenth-century original photographs are rich with insight and context. Augmented with great storytelling, the images and text come together to create a beautifully haunting history of Pennsylvania's railroad lumbering companies." - Bonnie Brennen, author of Picturing the Past: Media, History, and Photography
"In Wood Hicks and Bark Peelers, authors Ostman and Littell draw on the stunning documentary photography of William T. Clarke to tell the story of Pennsylvania's lumber heyday: a time when loggers serving the needs of a rapidly growing and globalizing country forever altered the dense forests of the state's northern tier.
"Discovered in a shed in upstate New York and a barn in Pennsylvania after decades of obscurity, Clarke's 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 workers - cruisers, jobbers, skidders, teamsters, carpenters, swampers, wood hicks, and bark peelers - their 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 nation's growth at the same time that they were fantastically - and tragically - transformative of the landscape.
"An extraordinary look at a little-known photographer's work and the people and industry he documented, this book reveals, in sharp detail, the history of the third phase of lumber in America."
Prologue: Discovery and Procedures
Introduction: The Salvation of William T. Clarke
Linda A. Ries
1 The Black Forest
2 The Machine in the Garden
3 Wood Hicks, Bark Peelers, and Other Woods Workers
4 Camp Life
5 Community Life
6 The Pennsylvania Desert
7 A Mighty Transformation
Appendix: Notes on the Photographs