The Old Timers Collection. Part of the Gifford Pinchot Collection housed in the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

The letters between the First Foresters and their Old Chief reveal a sense of mutual respect between employer and employed, and between two parties engaged in a common mission. The narrative of Alva von der Linde, who served in Washington, D.C., and in the Denver Regional Office beginning in 1908, was written from Mercy Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Her narrative describes a sense of gratitude, as well as the acknowledgment that working in conservation was never easy:

"My first intimation that we were not, as I had supposed, universally liked, came soon after our arrival here, when on being introduced at a party as a Forest Service member I was asked, "Are you then also one of those disgusting 'Pinchot' people?" On inquiry I was informed that we were autocrats, robbers, etc., setting up laws and regulations in a country which had gotten along famously without us and our interferences.

It took years for public opinion to change in our favor. One event which greatly helped to bring about this change was the disastrous fire season of 1914, and the capable, heroic manner in which our men handled the situation. Gradually the West began to realize the necessity of timber survey, of grazing regulations, of fire protection, etc. until today there is no government institution more highly esteemed, and to wear a Forest Service badge is to wear a badge of honor."

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