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A provision of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 allowed Cornell University to acquire 500,000 acres of valuable timberland in northern Wisconsin. Although most land grant universities immediately sold the federal tracts that had been allocated to them, Cornell held the land to allow it to appreciate. While the university was guarding its rights as a trustee of this estate, dealing with the supervisors and tax collectors of several counties, and negotiating with lumbermen, it did not escape criticism for its role as an absentee landlord. As Paul Wallace Gates details in The Wisconsin Pine Lands of Cornell University, the university's perseverance paid off―the eventual sale of surface rights to the land yielded a five-million-dollar endowment and is regarded as one of the most successful episodes of land speculation in U.S. history.
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The late Paul Wallace Gates was John Stambaugh Professor Emeritus of History at Cornell University. He was the author of books including The Illinois Central Railroad and Its Colonization Work and The History of Public Land Law Development.Review:
"As land and agricultural historians know, this is the account of the manner by which the land scrip assigned to New York under the Morrill Act was located by Ezra Cornell on the pine lands of the public domain in Wisconsin. By careful management and negotiations on the part of the university there was produced a substantial endowment for Cornell. It also produced the type of situation that was bound to occur when one state owned a half million acres within the boundaries of another that were also valuable properties to which local interests, private and public, aspired."―Agricultural History
"The Wisconsin Pine Lands of Cornell University―with its careful and imaginative scholarship―is particularly valuable because it offers insights into broader themes at the grassroots of political and economic life. Gates made perceptive use of manuscripts and local newspapers."―Economic History Review
"An excellent monograph . . . thorough . . . a valuable type-study of the timber frontier in the Great Lakes region during the generation following the Civil War."―Mississippi Valley Historical Review
"Clearly written. It will be of permanent value for the history of the public lands, the land-grant college, and the lumber industry."―American Historical Review
"Makes a valuable contribution to Wisconsin history, to the history of our public domain, and to land economics."―Wisconsin Magazine of History
"The Wisconsin Pine Lands of Cornell University is a first-rate piece of scholarship by the most important twentieth-century scholar of the history of U.S. public lands."―William Cronon, Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Book Description Wisconsin Historical Society, 1965. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110870200348
Book Description Wisconsin Historical Society, 1965. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0870200348