American eugenicist Madison Grant (1865–1937) received two memorials from the State of California in 1931 and 1948 (posthumously) for his efforts, presumably, in the conservation of the California Redwoods as a co-founder of Save the Redwoods League (established in 1918). This article will chronicle the efforts and campaign of historians David G. McIntosh (SENMC), Rena M. Heinrich (USC), and Paul Spickard (UCSB), who petitioned the California State Park system to reconsider these memorials, specifically the Madison Grant Forest and Elk Refuge in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County. Efforts are ongoing to reimagine the memorial at Founders Grove in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which commemorates the founders of Save the Redwoods League.

In 1948, the State of California chose to honor Madison Grant by designating a portion of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County as the Madison Grant Forest and Elk Refuge and by erecting a plaque on a large rock in his honor. This distinction was ostensibly for Grant’s work in promoting environmental causes, which included co-founding Save the Redwoods League (SRL). Grant is also honored by the Founders Tree, one of the world’s tallest, in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.1

In January 2019, my colleague David McIntosh, a historian of race and science at Southeast New Mexico College (SENMC) went looking for the Madison Grant Forest and Elk Refuge in Northern California after having been rained out on an unsuccessful fishing trip. He had read about a commemorative memorial to American eugenicist and conservationist Madison Grant in Alexandra Stern’s Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America (2016), though he imagined that the rock had long since been removed.2 Upon discovering that its original location was at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, located just six miles north of his fishing destination, McIntosh went to see for himself what, if anything, remained of Grant’s memorial.

He found the marker for the Madison Grant Forest and Elk Refuge prominently displayed at Boyes Prairie in the Prairie Creek park. A little under a mile past the turnoff from Redwood Highway, he had noticed a medium-sized rock at the edge of the prairie, which fit the description that he had read. As he drove closer, pulled off to the side of the road, and approached the rock on foot, he realized it was, in fact, a formidable granite boulder that was only slightly smaller than a Volkswagen Beetle. Mounted to the rock was a bronze plaque bearing the following inscription:

















The Madison Grant Forest and Elk Refuge was a project initiated by Grant’s brother De Forest after Madison had passed away in the late 1930s.4 De Forest, a member of the Boone and Crockett Club along with Madison, wanted to commemorate his brother—potentially to preserve his legacy as a conservationist and to diminish his involvement with eugenics and Nazi scientists.5 By 1946, an excerpt from Madison Grant’s 1916 racist tome, The Passing of the Great Race: Or the Racial Basis of European History, which aggrandizes Nordic peoples whom he considered to be the apex category of the white race in Europe, had been entered as Exhibit #51 in support of the defendants in the Doctors’ Trial (United States of America v Karl Brant et al.), the first of the Nuremberg trials. De Forest had by then enlisted the help of Henry Fairfield Osborn, president of the New York Zoological Society, who had co-founded Save the Redwoods League along with the late Grant and John Merriam. Together, De Forest and Osborn spearheaded a fundraising campaign to purchase land in the heart of redwood country from various lumber companies on California’s North Coast. By May 8, 1948, they had received significant contributions from John D. Rockefeller Jr., Archer M. Huntington (son of railroad magnate Collis Huntington and cousin of Henry E. Huntington, the founder of the Huntington Library), and three organizations, all dedicated in some fashion to the environment: the Boone and Crockett Club, the National Audubon Society, and the American Wildlife Foundation. Additionally, De Forest donated a little over $15,000, and Osborn, with the New York Zoological Society, contributed $20,000 to the cause. They forwarded the money to Save the Redwoods League, who purchased the land for the forest and refuge. The majority of the funds (approximately half of the entire $700,000 cost), however, was supplied by the State of California Park Commission.6

By this time, De Forest and Osborn had also put plans in place for the memorial’s formal dedication and a “Conservation Dinner,” which was to be held in late July of that year.7 Save the Redwoods League carried out the arrangements under the supervision of Vice President Arthur E. Connick. The celebration of the establishment of the memorial was held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco on July 29, 1948.8 Speakers included the chair of the California Park Commission; the director of the National Park Service; the president of the National Audubon Society; Osborn, representing the New York Zoological Society as its president; and De Forest Grant, representing the Boone and Crockett Club. The gala was a momentous affair aimed at honoring, in the eyes of its attendees, a great man of letters.

Figure 1.

Gala Program Cover. (Courtesy of Wildlife Conservation Society Archives)

Figure 1.

Gala Program Cover. (Courtesy of Wildlife Conservation Society Archives)

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Figure 2.

Gala Dinner Attendees. (Courtesy of Wildlife Conservation Society Archives)

Figure 2.

Gala Dinner Attendees. (Courtesy of Wildlife Conservation Society Archives)

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The boulder that bore a plaque, listing the aforementioned benefactors of the memorial, was installed at Boyes Prairie, where it lay—honoring a white supremacist whose racist ideas inspired Adolf Hitler as well as early twentieth-century immigration restriction and anti-miscegenation laws in the United States—when David McIntosh found it.9 He was certainly not the first to come upon the memorial, nor the first to be dismayed by its presence. On January 17, 2019, he took a picture of the boulder and its plaque and sent the image to historian Paul Spickard of University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), who, in turn, sent an email to a group of ethnic studies scholars on January 19 with the following text: “For those of us who know the history of racial ideas in the United States, this news may be striking (and perhaps dispiriting).…David McIntosh, while on a retreat to fish and camp…has found a monument to the über-racist theorist Madison Grant in the Northern California forest.10

I immediately sat upright when I received the email. I was horrified that the State of California was using public funds to commemorate a leading restrictionist and eugenicist, whose core beliefs were the bedrock of a social hierarchy of hate, exclusion, and inequality. Madison Grant is arguably the architect of the racial structures that continue to haunt our cultural values, our national discourse, and the very fabric of our lives. My first thought was of the work of my colleague Kelli Coleman Moore, a performance studies scholar. In her examination of Washington DC’s National Cathedral, Moore explores the performative genealogy of material objects and architecture that continuously (re)perform their genealogical traces in the eyes of their spectators. These viewers unwittingly, or perhaps wittingly, become “actors” in the performance of this genealogy. Moore astutely observes that “[w]hen Peggy Phelan decisively named the ontology of performance as its ‘disappearance’ she laid bare the unrelenting passage of time that negates the possibility of repetition; but in the cathedral, it is material that is unrelenting, and its form demands repetition.”11 In other words, the material remains—the architecture and the artifacts in the National Cathedral—continue to “perform” their prescribed narratives because the remains are not evanescent; they do not disappear. Consequently, the observers of these objects transform into both spectators and actors, who determine the performances produced in their “seeing and moving” while, at the same time, they read and interpret the “spatial-temporal spectacles as they manifest in that given time and place.”12 Moore frames these moments of performativity as rituals of civic religion that cling to—in my application—the mythology of the figure or event memorialized and participate in the concomitant erasure of truths that would break the spell of the ritualized myth. However, it is the traces of these hard truths that nonetheless remain and, though silently unacknowledged, continue to agitate, cushioned in the silence of myth. Moore continues, “materials can and do perform.”13 Simply put, the genealogy of racialized exclusion that undergirds environmental conservation has been silently reenacted in the spectatorship of every unwitting park visitor who has gazed upon Grant’s rock over the past seventy-three years.

The performative genealogy of the Madison Grant memorial was the first coherent conclusion I reached after my initial shock and horror. This was followed by a deep desire to act. I responded to the email with the following question: “Is there anything we can do to start the process of appealing this name?”14 I was sitting in a theater in the School of Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC) when the second email arrived, bearing the actual photograph of the memorial from McIntosh, which I responded to by saying, “I’m sitting in an audience at USC, just dying about this.”15

Spickard looped McIntosh into a joint email thread, and the three of us agreed to compose a letter to the state asking for the memorial to be taken down. Though we were well acquainted with Grant and his work, we immediately dove deeper into his legacy not only in eugenics but also in conservation. Spickard had formulated an initial action plan by January 25 in which we would compose the letter, seek out signatories in support, and send the correspondence to various state representatives. We had drafted a series of main points to be developed into the letter by January 27, and the three of us continued to work on a draft remotely through early February. Initially, we had thought to send the letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, then-Director of California State Parks Lisa Mangat, Senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, and Senate President Toni Atkins. We asked that the state take down the plaque honoring Grant and remove his name from the forest and refuge. Failing that, we also asked that a committee of historians be tasked with providing alternative interpretation at the same site on a larger marker. As the spring term got underway, however, our academic duties and personal research deadlines began calling, and we tabled the project for the next nine months.

We believed that it was important to garner broad academic support for the project. In the fall, we revisited our initial research, and Spickard recommended proposing a plenary panel at the American Historical Association (AHA) Pacific Coast Branch (AHA–PCB) annual conference (which was to be held the following August) with the aim of collecting signatures to endorse the letter. McIntosh and I heartily agreed. We secured Kenneth Hough, a historian with the Hearst Castle San Simeon State Historical Monument, as the plenary chair and titled the conference proposal, “California’s Monument to Madison Grant, White Supremacist: The Past Is Always Present.” We decided to also submit the proposal to the national AHA conference. At this point, Spickard suggested that we get in touch with Brandon Seto, his former graduate student and the Senior Floor Consultant to California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, to gain more insight as to how we should proceed once the signed letter was in hand. Spickard sent the plenary proposal to the national AHA, and we waited for responses to these submissions.

The first case of SARS-CoV-2—widely referred to as COVID-19—was identified in California on January 25, 2020. By March 4, in response to the rapidly rising cases, Governor Newsom declared California in a state of emergency and the following week schools and universities closed across the state. As the possibility of reopening drifted further into the distance, summer plans also followed suit. By May, we received word that the in-person AHA–PCB conference had been cancelled and was moving online in August. Spickard, McIntosh, and I opted not to participate in the virtual convening because the opportunity to collect signatures seemed less likely. We were invited, however, to attend the AHA–PCB virtual business meeting, where we presented our proposal for the removal of the plaque to the PCB Council and asked for their endorsement. In response, the council passed a unanimous resolution in support of the removal of the memorial. We convened after the meeting, emboldened with new energy. We began again to revise the letter asking for the removal, incorporating some of the language from the PCB Council’s resolution, and Spickard resumed his conversations with Seto regarding political procedures related to the letter.

Our next series of actions revolved around navigating our state legislative system in order to ensure that the letter would make an impact. At the end of August, I reached out to elicit the help of public interest lawyer Laura MacCleery, who had successfully engaged with the California legislature on numerous social justice and public policy initiatives. MacCleery agreed to look at the final draft and to provide suggestions based on her expertise. Then, after talking to Seto, Spickard sent a revised action plan to McIntosh and me. Seto let us know that a letter would most likely not be read, but it could be effective in getting sponsorship if it came with multiple signatures attached. With this new information, our plan was to first send the letter to State Assemblymember Jim Wood and to State Senator Mike McGuire, who were the representatives from the region where the two parks were located. Secondly, we would send the letter, perhaps via Seto, to Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, the chair of the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee. Between August 29 and September 2, we continued to pass the draft of the letter back and forth, revising the copy between us. Spickard sent our final draft of the letter to his academic networks to begin collecting endorsements and to Seto for feedback, and I sent the letter to MacCleery for her input. She returned the letter with substantial edits and myriad suggestions that crystallized the framing of the argument and strengthened the case for the removal. I incorporated these recommendations and sent the new text to McIntosh and Spickard on September 10.

Meanwhile, we went to work enlisting the support of academics from multiple disciplines to demonstrate the urgency of the petition. We collected signatures for the letter from the original network of ethnic studies scholars, some of Spickard’s colleagues at UC Santa Barbara—especially in environmental studies—colleagues of mine at USC, and other drama and humanities professors from around the country. I sent it to the Latinx, Indigenous, & The Americas (LIA) Focus Group within the Association for Theater in Higher Education, but Spickard did the heavy lifting and additionally sent the letter to email lists for the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the Collegium for African American Research. Other scholars such as eugenics expert Alexandra Stern—whose book had prompted the initial search for the memorial—heard about our letter and asked to sign on. By September 8, we had collected 150 signatures. By September 21, the number has risen to 206. In total, we compiled 212 signatories, the majority from California, from across the country and around the world.

The need to reimagine the site after the memorial’s removal became clear in various responses we received. Two scholars in Germany dissuaded us from simply asking for a name change without recontextualizing the removal. Specifically, Heike Raphael-Hernandez, Professor of American Studies at the University of Würzburg, wrote the following:

Can I suggest something for your initiative? While I think this is very important, I also see a danger of just asking to remove the names. Why are you not also asking for some kind of information at the park that will let people know about this removal and the reasons for this so that history does not get repeated? I actually had young students in my classroom at Berkeley who never heard of the Holocaust.…If we only remove and delete and take down injustice, how do we know that people learn from this and understand why this is injustice? Perhaps your colleague[s] and you could be pioneers in all these otherwise very necessary initiatives.16

With this in mind, the three of us met to confirm the next steps in the action plan. We sent the finalized letter to state lawmakers on October 6. We began the letter as follows:

Names matter. We are historians and scholars who write to seek your urgent support for introduction of a legislative measure to remove the name of a leading eugenicist and racist, Madison Grant, from the Madison Grant Forest and Elk Refuge in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and from the Founders Tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County, California. State parks in California are a treasure provided by state taxpayers that are to be enjoyed and welcome every resident of our diverse state. It is, therefore, unconscionable and offensive that today they are named after the author of a racist and anti-Semitic screed that Hitler identified as “my Bible.”

After elucidating Grant’s complex history with eugenics, anti-immigration and anti-miscegenation law, and conservation and environmental efforts, we closed the letter with the following statement:

Despite his work as a conservationist, because of the centrality of his racist perspective and its despicable influence, Grant’s name does not belong on public lands and a refuge, and its presence aggrandizes a toxic worldview that we must repudiate. It shamelessly honors a man whose very work and core beliefs embody exclusion and inequality. Until such monuments to hate are addressed and remedied, they will continue to haunt our cultural values, national discourse, and lives.

As a sanctuary state with the passage of SB 54, the California Values Act, California is a national leader in upholding the dignity and respect of all human beings and promoting the protection of all immigrants. California demonstrated this sentiment with the removal of the statue “Columbus’ Last Appeal to Queen Isabella” from its state capitol rotunda on July 7, 2020, as well several other memorials around the state in recent months.

We call on you to sponsor legislation to urgently and immediately take steps to remove Madison Grant’s name from the Forest and Elk Refuge in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and from the Founders Tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The removal of eugenicist Madison Grant’s name from the Madison Grant Forest and Elk Refuge in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and from the Founders Tree in Humboldt Redwoods State Park is a logical next step. It would again place California at the national forefront in remedying past injustices. It would acknowledge the state’s past, while also recommitting the state publicly to a more inclusive and equitable California.

The letter attracted the attention of several parts of the California state government. We sent the letter to Assemblymember Jim Wood and State Senator Mike McGuire as planned, and Brandon Seto connected us with staffers for Assemblymember Wood, Assemblymember Garcia, and Senator McGuire. The following day, October 7, we received an email response from Senator McGuire’s legislative director, Christopher Nielsen. He asked us whether or not we knew if the California State Parks and Recreation Commission (which handles the naming of State Parks) had considered renaming the site. Prompted by this inquiry, I volunteered to contact the Commission and sent our letter to Vicki Perez, the State Park and Recreation Commission Liaison.

Concurrently, through Seto’s referral, we met with Keith Cialino, the Senior Consultant for the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee. This meeting was significant because the committee has jurisdiction over the Department of State Parks and Recreation, and Assemblymember Garcia—in his capacity as the committee chair—served as an ex officio member on the California State Parks and Recreation Commission. During our meeting, Cialino also recommended that we contact the Commission directly. Meanwhile, I had heard back from Perez, who referred me to the California Department of Parks and Recreation Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, Marivel Barajas. I reached out to Barajas, who informed me that State Parks had begun an inventory of racist names of features or markers within the park system and was developing a process to assess the flagged items and to solicit input on potential name changes. The state’s Tribal Affairs Program would additionally assist with the compiling of discriminatory names of concern to California Native American tribes and would make recommendations for redress. At this point, Barajas affirmed that State Parks would follow up with various stakeholders who could provide socio-historical contextualization and that our contact information was of interest. In the interim, Spickard sent a copy of our letter to the new State Parks Director Armando Quintero and to Governor Gavin Newsom, who, we had learned, sought to expand representation on the California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names, the body tasked with recommending geographic name changes in California (though we initially received no reply from their offices).

It was crucial to keep up the momentum while our inquiry was eliciting a response on multiple fronts. I followed up with Barajas again and expressed our gratitude for the California Parks’ inventory and for the Tribal Affairs Program’s involvement in rectifying the naming of public lands. I also expressed our hope that the Yurok tribe would be directly involved in the renaming of the grove and refuge in question, since it sat on their traditional, ancestral land. On November 6, Barajas emailed to let us know that the new California Parks website for California’s “Reexamining Our Past” initiative—a redress effort called for by Governor Newsom and California’s Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot that looked “specifically at contested place names, monuments and interpretation” within State Parks—had gone live that day.17 Additionally, Spickard, McIntosh, and I formally met with Christopher Nielsen and Emily Cornett from Senator McGuire's office. Nielsen and Cornett expressed interest in our efforts and in our next steps, which I communicated to Barajas. Two days later, I received an email from the California Department of Parks and Recreation asking for our availability to schedule a meeting.

Being routed to California State Parks and Recreation proved critical because the department could engage with the Commission on our behalf and had already begun a process of redress at our sites of inquiry. Specifically, our letter had landed on the desk of Leslie Hartzell, the Chief of Cultural Resources at California Parks. Barajas and Hartzell arranged a meeting in December with several top administrators at California Parks, including Victor Bjelajac, the District Superintendent of the North Coast Redwoods District, where the forest lies. Bjelajac had studied anthropology at San Francisco State University with the legendary Dean of Ethnic Studies Jim Hirabayashi.18 During the December meeting, as we made our case for removal, it was clear that our words were falling on sympathetic ears. Along with an “unnaming” of the forest and refuge, we expressed our desire to have the name of the forest reverted back to its original Yurok name (if known) or to give the Yurok people the authority to rename the forest. To our surprise, Bjelajac disclosed that California Parks had recontextualized the founders commemorated by Founders Grove with additional interpretative materials at the site. In fact, a collaboration between State Parks, Save the Redwoods League, and students at Humboldt State University had generated new interpretations that better contextualized the eugenicist legacy of Save the Redwoods League’s founders Madison Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn.

After the meeting, Bjelajac immediately sent us the image of the new interpretative panel installed at Founders Grove, which widened the definition of “founders” to include and acknowledge Indigenous peoples and the women of the Women’s Save the Redwoods League formed in 1919. The panel—installed in the parking lot of Humboldt Redwoods State Park that previous fall—was part of a plan to reimagine the entire site and the park visitor’s experience at Founders Grove. A second panel was scheduled to be installed at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park near the Grant memorial in 2021. It seems that McIntosh, Spickard, and I had intervened at the right moment. Hartzell also expressed a desire to partner with our network of scholars, such as the signatories from the letter, to get assistance in researching potentially derogatory place names from the ongoing inventory. Spickard offered to bring graduate or undergraduate students on as student researchers under the supervision of his scholar colleagues.

Following the California State Parks meeting, we received a formal response from Parks Director Quintero via Hartzell on December 23. The beginning of the letter read as follows:

Thank you for your letter requesting the removal of Madison Grant’s name from the Madison Grant Forest and Elk Refuge in Prairie Creek and the Founders Tree at Humboldt Redwoods state parks. You shared a clear and well-reasoned argument for the removal of public honorifics named for Grant, given his historical role as a proponent of racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-miscegenation legislation. You rightly point out that his legacy of exclusion and inequality is not a legacy that should be honored with public memorials such as these. We welcome your offer to meet and further engage on the topic and consider ways that scholars like yourselves might help inform the renaming process. Pursuant to State law and Department policy, I intend to submit to the State Park and Recreation Commission (SPRC) my recommendation to change the dedication of these memorial groves. This is a public process that includes formal consultation with tribes.

Bjelajac affirmed that he was developing another panel for Boyes Prairie at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, which he invited us to work on in January 2021.

We continued to engage with California Parks and Recreation and to develop a partnership in the new year. In January 2021, I followed up with Hartzell regarding assigning classes to assist with the inventory research. Since academic spring terms were about to begin, we inquired about starting a preliminary process to look at some of the place names in question and to figure out which to prioritize. The following month we formally met (virtually) with Director Quintero, Hartzell, Bjelajac, and other Parks personnel to make our arguments in support of the removal and renaming. Quintero voiced his approval and reiterated his support of our appeal.

In the ongoing efforts, we understood that there were other community stakeholders with whom we needed to engage. We were grateful for the collaboration with District Superintendent Bjelajac in these undertakings, such as discussing with us the input he had received from Yurok tribal elders about the proposed changes. He and I pored over archival documents to establish that State Parks, not Save the Redwoods League, had the authority to determine the name of the grove. Additionally, he sent us the draft of the new interpretative panel to be installed in the memorial’s stead. Spickard, with input from McIntosh and me, provided feedback and toughened up the language for the panel. The revisions we proposed contextualized Grant as a restrictionist, eugenicist, and a contributor to the Nazi movement. The final version of the panel was shared with the Yurok tribe, Save the Redwoods League, and the National Park Service.

We then met with Sam Hodder, Save the Redwoods League CEO, and Jessica Carter, Save the Redwoods League Director of Parks and Public Engagement, to further discuss Grant and advocate for the removal of the memorial. We found Hodder to be sympathetic and eager to discuss strategies for redressing Save the Redwoods League’s fraught history. The League had been working for the last few years to reconcile the history of its founders, and we were grateful for the opportunity to provide more historical context for him and his efforts going forward. We also expressed our concerns about the current interpretative panel that had been installed at Founders Grove in the fall of 2020 and inquired whether a revision of the panel might be considered. Although they were surprised, Hodder and Carter affirmed that this could certainly be a possibility. Talks about this revision are ongoing.

Figure 3.

“The Tangled Roots of Redwood Preservation” Interpretive Panel. (Courtesy of North Coast Redwoods District, California State Parks)

Figure 3.

“The Tangled Roots of Redwood Preservation” Interpretive Panel. (Courtesy of North Coast Redwoods District, California State Parks)

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In April 2021, we received an email announcing that California State Parks had officially decided to rescind Grant’s name from the Prairie Creek site and rename the forest and refuge under the Yurok tribe’s guidance. It was a momentous day. On June 15, the rock and plaque were removed in an informal ceremony attended by all the stakeholders and community partners who worked to bring the event to pass, including key California State Parks personnel and Yurok elders. Among the attendees were Sherri Provolt, Orick Councilmember, and Nicole Peters, both representing the Yurok Tribe; Vicky Ozaki, National Parks Liaison; Joanna Di Tommaso Maggetti, Executive Director of the Redwood Parks Conservancy; Sam Hodder, CEO of Save the Redwoods League; Marnin Robbins, Interpretive Program Manager for the North Coast Redwoods District; Erin Gates, Lead Interpreter and Acting Deputy Superintendent for the Redwood National and State Parks; Kyle Achziger, Interpreter for the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park; Maiya Rainer and Princess Colgrove, Interpreters for Sue-meg State Park; James Wheeler, Interpreter; Leslie Hartzell; Victor Bjelajac; Paul Spickard; David McIntosh; and me. Various family members were in tow, including Hartzell’s husband, Spickard’s wife, and my two daughters.

For other scholars looking to engage in this type of activism, our suggestions are twofold. Our success would not have been possible without assistance from our personal and professional networks. These networks were essential for finding the expertise and support needed to institute this kind of change at the state level. For us, having the expertise and insight of Brandon Seto and Laura MacCleery proved invaluable. Their insider knowledge provided us with a road map for navigating various legislative structures. Specifically, Seto’s connections to various government offices and MacCleery’s assistance in strategizing the most effective campaign were essential. Additionally, as a theater professor, I relied on my knowledge of navigating the entertainment industry to inform the ways in which we pursued each line of inquiry. Once we began to dialogue with various individuals, I realized quickly that negotiating conversations with entertainment professionals and government agencies is quite similar and that it was crucial to pursue each pathway that was suggested to us. Every time we were referred to a new person, we introduced ourselves with this referral and followed up with every inquiry within two weeks. This proved useful in creating a sense of urgency and demonstrated a history of consistent communication with different offices. We also relied on each conversation to refine and deepen our understanding of bureaucratic procedures. We remain deeply grateful for the partnerships created and strengthened through this process, especially for the other contributors to this series of essays. We are in ongoing talks with Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks officials about the Founders Tree, and other parks in the system in order to reexamine the histories and nomenclature of California’s public lands as well as how we continue to think about access and public memory.


The tree is dedicated to Grant and his SRL associates, John C. Merriam and Henry Fairfield Osborn.


Alexandra Minna Stern, Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America, 2nd ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016), 150.


See Figure 1 in David G. McIntosh, “Commemorating Madison Grant in California State Parks: Conservationist, Author, and Eugenicist Extraordinaire” in this issue.


William G. Sheldon, “A History of the Boone and Crockett Club: Milestones in Wildlife Conservation” (self-published, 1955), 89. The earliest evidence of the project this author has found is a handwritten source in the Wildlife Conservation Archives from 1945 that lists possible donors. It is unclear who dated this source, however, by 1946, the project was well underway.


President Theodore Roosevelt, also an associate of the Grant brothers, founded the Boone and Crockett Club, which was dedicated to the love of big game hunting in 1887.


De Forest Grant to Henry Fairfield Osborn, May 8, 1948, Grant Elk Refuge, 1946–1951, folder 3, box 8, Fairfield Osborn records collection, New York Zoological Society, Office of the President, Wildlife Conservation Society Archives, Bronx, New York.


Donald T. Carlisle to De Forest Grant, May 6, 1948, Grant Elk Refuge, 1946–1951, folder 3, box 8, Fairfield Osborn records collection, New York Zoological Society, Office of the President, Wildlife Conservation Society Archives, Bronx, New York and Henry Fairfield Osborn to De Forest Grant, May 18, 1948, Grant Elk Refuge, 1946–1951, folder 3, box 8, Fairfield Osborn records collection, New York Zoological Society, Office of the President, Wildlife Conservation Society Archives, Bronx, New York.


On July 29, 2020, the Wildlife Conservation Society (formerly the New York Zoological Society, which had been co-founded by Grant) denounced the beliefs of their founders in a public statement, released 72 years to the day of the gala.



According to William Sheldon, De Forest Grant selected the site of the memorial. See William G. Sheldon, “A History of the Boone and Crockett Club: Milestones in Wildlife Conservation” (self-published, 1955), 91.


Paul Spickard, “Fwd: Madison Grant,” email, January 19, 2019.


Kelli Coleman Moore, “The Bully Pulpit: Debating Civil Religion at the Washington National Cathedral,” unpublished manuscript, courtesy of the author. 4. Moore’s emphasis.


Ibid., 4.


Ibid., 5.


Rena Heinrich, “Re: Fwd: Madison Grant,” email, January 19, 2019.


Rena Heinrich, “Re: Madison Grant Picture,” email, January 20, 2019.


Heike Raphael-Hernandez, “Re: Stop Honoring White Supremacy,” email, September 7, 2020.


Reexaming Our Past Initiative,” California Department of Parks and Recreation,


James A. Hirabayashi (1926–2012), an anthropologist educated at Harvard and the University of Washington, was a pioneer in the field of ethnic studies. Incarcerated as a teenager along with 120,000 other Japanese/Japanese Americans, Hirabayashi was a quiet, thoughtful, and tenacious fighter for racial justice throughout his life. After risking his career at San Francisco State University by siding with students in the Third World Strike of 1968–69, Hirabayashi ultimately became the chair of Asian American Studies and then the founding Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies. He taught anthropology, Asian American studies, and ethnic studies at San Francisco State for many years, as well as stints in Japan, Canada, and Nigeria. He is best known for pungent essays on controversial topics, such as “‘Concentration Camp’ or ‘Relocation Center’—What’s in a Name?” Japanese American National Museum Quarterly 9, no. 3 (1994). For further discussion, see “Hirabayashi, Dean of First Ethnic Studies School, Dies,” Nichi Bei, May 31, 2012,; “Jim Hirabayashi (1926–2012),” Densho, May 29, 2012,; “James Hirabayashi” Discover Nikkei, June 2014,