Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) in History






Lumber trade -- United States, Lumbering -- United States, Lumber trade -- Pacific Northwest



Physical Description

1 online resource (142 leaves)


The lumber industry today is both similar to and different from the nation's other major industries. The similarity stems from the fact that all of these industries have had a definite, well-defined transition period from an era dominated by many small, independent entrepreneurs to an era dominated by a small number of large corporations. The dissimilarity between the lumber industry and the other industries is that with the lumber industry the domination by the few large firms has never been as total in scope as that domination by the giants of such industries as oil and transportation. This dissimilarity has been the cause of no small amount of discussion and tension between various individuals and groups interested in the continued well-being of the lumber industry. The opponents of the large corporations claim that the trend in the lumber industry toward domination by a few firms has been just as complete as that experienced in other industries. Not only has it been complete, they claim, but the extensiveness of this domination has had a negative effect on the whole lumber industry, stifling competition and. driving the small, independent operator from the scene. Those who support the theory that this domination of the lumber industry by the few large firms has never been completed on a basis comparable to other industries can offer much factual proof to support their argument, and in doing so much evidence can also be offered to refute the theory that this rise to positions of seeming dominance by a few lumber producers has had a bad effect on the industry. These advocates of the cause for "Big Lumber” argue that if it had not been for the emergence of a few strong leaders in the lumber industry, giving to the industry the direction and guidance it so badly needed, commercial lumbering on a large scale may have been doomed in the United States. The purpose of this thesis is to open this argument once again with the intention of' proving that certain lumber producers did emerge to dominate the industry although that domination was never complete. Also, the attempt is made to present a sound case in favor of these large lumber firms as being the instruments which were actually to save the lumber industry and to guarantee its permanent future existence. The method used to prove this position will be that of a detailed historical study of the early lumber industry in the United States from colonial times until shortly after the turn of the present century. Such a study is definitely needed for it reveals the complete story of why it was possible for a few firms to gain a high degree of control over the entire industry and yet still allow for the existence of a vast number of smaller, independent competitors. Also, such a study reveals how the transition was accomplished. Finally, through the examination of' the lumber industry's early history, one is able to see quite clearly the significance of this movement to the modern lumber industry. The evidence unveiled by this study goes far in support of a major theme of this thesis, namely that the positive industrial leadership and influence generated by these few large lumber producers more than offset any ill effects their growth had on the lumber industry.


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Portland State College. Dept. of History

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