For anyone who makes even a passing study of the subject, the arc of Civilian Conservation Corps history swings right through John A Salmond’s book The Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942: A New Deal Case Study. Open any scholarly work on the subject of the CCC and odds are good you’ll see Salmond listed in the notes. I refer to Salmond’s book nearly every time I fire up the computer to write and I have done so for more than 20 years.
Occasionally I will conduct an internet search for Dr. Salmond and it was in this way that I contacted him by email back in early 2006. In a gracious response to a stranger’s email from overseas Dr. Salmond expressed surprise over the long-running success of his book, writing, “…it has always surprised me that my little book, now long out of print, remains the standard work on the Corps.” To my great surprise and satisfaction, Dr. Salmond also agreed to help me with my CCC writing efforts, including the book on which it seems I have been “working” for years. Sadly, while I remain optimistic that I will actually complete my own book on the Civilian Conservation Corps, John Salmond will definitely not be writing the forward for that book as I had originally hoped.
Last week, during one of my occasional internet searches for “John A. Salmond,” I found a La Trobe University tribute to the late professor, which you can view here. It seems Dr. Salmond passed away last summer.
It is no exaggeration to say that John Salmond’s work is the foundation upon which some 40 odd years of Civilian Conservation Corps scholarship rests. When a historian, scholar or freelance researcher works on CCC history, they stand on John Salmond’s shoulders. My interest in the CCC was fired initially by my grandfather’s work for the Forest Service in the 1930s but my ongoing work and research of the CCC has been propelled forward because, early on, in an Arizona State University library, I discovered John A. Salmond’s valuable contribution to the study of our beloved Civilian Conservation Corps. Godspeed, Dr. Salmond, and thank you.
Photo of John A. Salmond is from the La Trobe University website. Image of the book cover, from the author’s collection.
©Michael I. Smith, 2014