Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Reel , Jerome V.
Grant , Roger
Institutional histories, be they about colleges, public agencies, or corporations, are generally impersonal affairs. The story of the Clemson Experimental Forest and its history, however, is intensely personal. While manning his post as head of the department of agricultural economics and rural sociology, George Aull labored daily to ensure that the people of the Fant's Grove community, the heart of the Clemson Project's land, could achieve better lives, that the land--severely damaged by overfarming and droughts--could return to productivity, and that Clemson College could apply its research initiatives in agriculture, forestry, economics, and sociology to the people living around it. Aull contacted local business leaders, college administrators and faculty members, former advisors and instructors at the schools where he earned his Master's and Ph. D. degrees (University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin, respectively), politicians, and federal and state officials. Aull begged, borrowed, and wrote constantly. In the end, it was Aull's willingness to work and endure the slings and arrows of personal attacks that made the Clemson College Community Conservation Project and, ultimately, the Clemson Experimental Forest a reality. It is through copies of the documents that passed between Aull and his contacts that I tell the story of the 'CCCCP,' framed as a personal quest that Aull refused to let go, even after his return to the classroom full time and corresponding separation from the Land Use Project and its parent organization, the Resettlement Administration, in 1936. The first chapter, 'Mr. Aull Answers His Calling,' relates the story of a young George Aull finishing his education, beginning his career at Clemson, and joining the Resettlement Administration. The second chapter, 'Mr. Aull Goes to `War,'' picks up Aull's career with the Resettlement Administration as it ended and he returned to the classroom, only to find his beloved project attacked by federal administrators. His 'war,' then was the almost daily fight that Aull put up to secure the Clemson project's long-term prospects and his college's role therein. The third chapter, 'Mr. Aull and His Divided House,' provides the story of the Clemson project as its lease neared finalization and enemies from within the Clemson party sought to block its progression. The conclusion, 'Mr. Aull Gets Disappointed' (hopefully) illustrates to the reader that George Aull was dedicated to public life and worked for the people of the Upstate, South Carolina, the South, and the United States as a whole, even in the face of resistance.
Crunkleton, Paul, "MR. AULL'S GRAND EXPERIMENT" (2012). All Theses. 1408.