Tuesday, March 06, 2018

UIS emeritus professor writes a book tracing the history of the Upper Delaware Forest

Robert McGregor, emeritus professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield, has written a new book on the historical significance of the forests along the Upper Delaware Valley.

The book, published by McFarland Press, is titled “The Story of a Forest: Growth, Destruction and Renewal in the Upper Delaware Valley.”

McGregor said the book grew out of his passion for teaching environmental history at UIS coupled with his dissertation research from 35 years ago.

“The book traces the development of forests along the Upper Delaware River in New York and Pennsylvania, beginning at the close of the last glaciation,” said McGregor.

 McGregor’s book is an analysis of how the forests were first modified by Native Americans to promote hunting and limited agriculture, followed by the disappearance as Europeans clear-cut farmland and fed sawmills and tanneries.

Railroads accelerated the demand and within 30 years, industry had left barren hillsides.

The book goes on to explain the forest’ subsequent recovery nearly a century and a half later.

McGregor taught environmental history, early American history, and the history of popular culture, before he retired after 26 years of teaching at UIS, in 2012. He now lives in Corning, New York.

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