George Henry Hepting Papers 1902-1993

Summary
Contents
Names/subjects
Using these materials
Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.
Creator
Hepting, George H. (George Henry), 1907-1988
Size
26.75 linear feet (53 archival boxes, 1 archival half box)
Call number
MC 00169

Reprints and papers used by George Hepting in preparation of his book Diseases of Forest and Shade Trees of the United States (1971). Also included in this collection are similar later reprints, reprints of Hepting's own articles, Hepting's resume, and a few other papers.

George Henry Hepting (1907-1988) retired from the United States Forest Service as Chief Plant Pathologist at the Southeastern Forest Experiment Station in 1971. From 1967 through 1984 he served as Visiting Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the School of Forest Resources at North Carolina State University. Hepting did research on heartrot diseases of forest trees; the impact of fire scars, basal wounds, and stump sprouts on infection and spread of decay in many species of trees; the mechanisms by which trees restrict the development of decay and discoloration in tree stems; fusarium wilt disease of Mimosa; the role of mating types in oak wilt fungus; fungal discolorations in felled timber and lumber of southern pines; the impact of discolorations and decay on the strength of wood veneers used in military aircraft; rust, twig, and foliage blights; pitch canker disease of southern pines; sweetgum blight; the ineffectiveness of actidione as a control for white pine blister rust; development of practical controls for annosus root rot and for management of nursery diseases with fumigant chemicals; cause of a serious dieback disease of pines in New Zealand; aspects of littleleaf disease of southern pines. He also directed pioneering research on the role of ozone and other photo-chemical oxidants as causes of diseases in forests.

Biographical/historical note

George Hepting, Chief Plant Pathologist at the Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 1, 1907. He attended Cornell University and received a B.S. degree in forestry in 1929 and a Ph.D. in forest pathology in 1933. Under the guidance of H. H. Whetzel, Hepting began to study the processes by which fungi and other pathogens induce disease in forest trees.

Even before completing his Ph.D., Hepting joined a cadre of scientists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture who were charged to protect American forests against disease. He rose through the ranks of the U.S. Forest Service from Field Assistant in 1931 to Chief of the Division of Forest Disease Research at the Southeastern Forest Experiment Station, 1953-1961, to Principal Research Scientist affiliated with the Forest Service’s Washington Office, 1962-1971.

Hepting retired from the Forest Service as Chief Plant Pathologist in 1971. From 1967 through 1984 he served as Visiting Professor and advisor to more than 30 graduate students in the Department of Plant Pathology and the School of Forest Resources at North Carolina State University.

Hepting’s first research was on the heartrot diseases of forest trees. He determined the impact of fire scars, basal wounds, and stump sprouts on infection and spread of decay in many species of trees. He was the first to describe the mechanisms by which trees restrict the development of decay and discoloration in tree stems to "tissues extant at time of wounding."

He studied the fusarium wilt disease of mimosa and developed wilt-resistant genotypes. He discovered the role of mating types in the oak wilt fungus. Before and during World War II, he studied fungal discolorations in felled timber and lumber of southern pines. He also quantified the impact of discolorations and decay on the strength of wood veneers used in military aircraft.

Hepting pursued research on many rust, twig, and foliage blights and discovered the pitch canker disease of southern pines. His research contributed to an understanding of sweetgum blight. He blew the whistle on the ineffectiveness of actidione as a control for white pine blister rust. He provided leadership for development of practical controls for annosus root rot and for management of nursery diseases with fumigant chemicals. He resolved uncertainty about the major cause of a serious dieback disease of pines in New Zealand.

Hepting organized research teams to investigate different aspects of littleleaf disease of southern pines and stimulated both industry and government to provide support for these efforts. It took years to understand the many causal agents that were involved-- a complex interaction between certain soil conditions, feeder-root pathogens, land use practices, stand density, and a progressive deficiency of nitrogen that developed in many pine stands as the trees increased in age--and to develop management practices to address them.

Hepting also directed pioneering research on the role of ozone and other photo-chemical oxidants as causes of diseases in forests. His 1963 paper on "Climate and Forest Diseases" is a classic in both climatology and forestry.

He developed the first computerized system for information retrieval in forestry. His 1971 book on Diseases of Forest and Shade Trees of the United States provides a comprehensive encyclopedia of knowledge on these topics. He wrote a definitive history of efforts to control both chestnut blight and the so-called Dutch elm disease after they were introduced on the North American continent.

Long before the concepts of integrated pest management became fashionable, Hepting emphasized the need to integrate disease-hazard evaluations and knowledge of disease-development processes into economically and biologically sound forest management systems. He also championed the need for basic research as a foundation for practical understanding and management of disease in forests. His role in the Timber Resources Review of 1953 permanently altered scientific understanding of the nature and magnitude of disease losses in forests. He was co-founder of the Southwide Forest Disease Workshop.

Hepting’s achievements in science were recognized by many honors and awards. In 1969, he became the first forester elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He also received the Superior Service Award of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1954 and the Barrington Moore Award for outstanding achievements in forestry research in 1963. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters in 1965 and of the American Phytopathological Society in 1966. He received the Weyerhaeuser Award for Outstanding Historical Writing from the Forest History Society in 1974.

Hepting became an international leader and spokesman for forest disease problems worldwide. He traveled extensively and pursued research assignments in Europe, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and St. Croix. He also served as a consultant to the forest products industries of New Zealand and Australia.

Hepting died in Asheville, North Carolina, on April 29, 1988.

Scope/content

Reprints and papers used by George Hepting in preparation of his book Diseases of Forest and Shade Trees of the United States (1971). Also included in this collection are similar later reprints, reprints of Hepting's own articles, Hepting's resume, and a few other papers.

The reprints in this collection cover a variety of topics including tree fungi and the use of fungicides, insect pets like wood bore beetles, the effect of air pollution on trees, tree genetics, tree diseases like Dutch Elm disease and oak wilt disease, developing disease resistant trees, and various aspects of hardwood trees like chestnut, hickory, and oak. A few articles discuss more agricultural topics like diseases affecting corn, grapes, and rice.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in series: 1. Hepting Publications and Files, 2. Reprints

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], George Henry Hepting Papers, MC 00169, Special Collections Research Center, NC State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Related material

Source of acquisition

Received from the NC State University Departments of Plant Pathology and Forestry through Professor Larry Grand, August 2007 (Accession no. 2007-0241)

Processing information

Processed by Linda Sellars, 2007 August and Cate Putirskis, 2008 February; Encoded by Linda Sellars, 2007 August, Updated by Cate Putirskis, 2008 March

Collection reprocessed by Angelique Marrero, Arianna Hinton, Mark Klose, Hank Johnson, James Stephens, Ashton Reddish, Stacey Minter, Carter Claiborne, Katherine Russo, Laura Lethers, Oliver Robinson, and Rachel White, 2019 October; finding aid updated by Clara Wilson, 2019 October.

Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.

The collection is organized into two principal series:

Please note that some historical materials may contain harmful content and/or descriptions. Learn how we’re addressing it.

Access to the collection

This collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice. Because of the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to digital files may require additional advanced notice.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], George Henry Hepting Papers, MC 00169, NC State University Libraries Special Collections Research Center

Use of these materials

The nature of the NC State University Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NC State University Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.