Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7143
Ashbrook, F. G. (Frank Getz), 1892-1966
Frank G. Ashbrook Papers, circa 1915-1965
The Bureau of Biological Survey, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), developed an interest in the production of fur-bearing animals when fur prices began rising in the late 1890s and early 1900s and the depletion of wild fur-bearing animals increased. In 1911 the Bureau proposed that the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., conduct experiments in the breeding of minks. Experiment stations and research projects were later established in Saratoga Springs, New York (1923), Fontana, California (1927), and Petersberg, Alaska (1937). Cooperative research projects with Swarthmore College and Cornell University were started in 1938, and fur fiber investigations were initiated at Beltsville, Maryland, that same year. In 1924 the Bureau established the Division of Fur Resources to coordinate and conduct research investigations and gather statistics on fur farming.
Under the Reorganization Act of 1939 the Division along with the Bureau became part of the Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of Interior. In 1946-1947 the Division's functions related to the breeding, producing, and marketing of domestically raised fur-bearing animals were transferred to the Animal Husbandry Research Division of the Department of Agriculture.
Most of these records belong to the files of Frank G. Ashbrook. Ashbrook was appointed Junior Animal Husbandman, USDA, in 1914. He was placed in charge of the fur animal experiment station in Saratoga Springs in 1923 and in 1924 became in charge of the newly organized Division of Fur Resources.
Ashbrook was appointed by Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson in 1930 as commissioner general to represent the United States at the International Fur Trade Exposition and Congress held in Leipzig, Germany. In 1942 he advised the War Department on the use of furs during wartime. Ashbrook transferred to the Department of Interior under the Reorganization Act of 1939 and in 1949 became civilian-in-charge of Wildfur Animal Investigations, Branch of Wildlife Research, Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1953 he was elected fur man of the year. Ashbrook retired from government service in 1957.
A small amount of material filed into the records belongs to Stanley P. Young and Richard H. Manville, former directors of the Bird and Mammal Laboratory located in the National Museum of Natural History.
These records include correspondence, statistics, journal articles, and newspaper clippings concerning the fur industry, fur farming, and fur resources; research investigations on domestically raised fur animals; laws and tariffs concerning textiles and fur trading; correspondence concerning the China dog-skin case, 1934-1942; correspondence regarding the history of the fur trade and the Division of Fur Resources; Reorganization Act of 1939; the transfer of the Division's functions concerning domestic fur animals to the Animal Husbandry Research Division, 1946-1947; and reports by Frank G. Ashbrook and other staff members on trips to fur animal experiment stations, wildlife refuges, private fur farms, and fur association meetings.
Correspondents include Frank G. Ashbrook, Gerald J. Boileau, Ned Dearborn, James F. Donnelly, Herbert L. Dozier, Robert K. Enders, Ira N. Gabrielson, William Temple Hornaday, Harold L. Ickes, Joseph R. Jackson, Marvin Jones, Charles E. Kellogg, Charles D. Lawrence, Richard H. Manville, Merle H. Markley, Harold N. Marsh, David C. Mills, Urban C. Nelson, Martin R. Nicholson, Walter J. Scott, Harold D. Smith, Frank K. Sturgis, Edwin R. Theis, Henry Wagner, Henry Wallace, Edwin M. Watson, M. L. Wilson, Stanley P. Young.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Ashbrook, F. G. (Frank Getz), 1892-1966
- United States. Department of Agriculture
- United States. Department of Agriculture. Division of Fur Resources
- United States. Bureau of Biological Survey
- United States. Department of the Interior
- United States. Department of Agriculture. Animal Husbandry Research Division
- Fur Animal Experiment Station (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- United States. Reorganization Act of 1939
- International Fur Trade Exposition and Congress (1930: Leipzig)
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7143, Frank G. Ashbrook Papers