Dept. of Public Works: Shade Tree Commission, 1960-2010

RECORD GROUP: Other County Records
SERIES: Dept. of Public Works: County Shade Tree Commission
DATES: 1960-2010
VOLUME: 10 cubic feet

Crabapple trees in bloom at Monmouth County Library

With the 1962 creation of the Shade Tree Commission, David C. Shaw was at the helm of the agency’s work. Through his term as Superintendent of the Commission and beyond, the records of the group came to include a wide array of textual and audiovisual materials, including slides, scrapbooks, film reels and VHS tapes, audiotapes, photographs, photo negatives, superintendent reports, brochures, directories, newsletters, and journals. The records are available upon request in the Jane Clayton Reading Room at the Monmouth County Archives.


In July 1962, the Board of Chosen Freeholders established the Monmouth County Shade Tree Commission. Under the purview of the Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering, the Division of Shade Tree currently comprises volunteer members serving five-year terms. They work to uphold the Commission’s mission “to create, promote, and provide an example for sustainable, healthy and safe community forests throughout Monmouth County, and to influence proper tree care and stewardship in New Jersey.” Some of the activities that this mission includes are tree plantings and replacements, routine trimming, hazardous and emergency tree/debris removal, major planting projects, insect and disease control, and maintenance of plant material. These plants and trees are spread across 400 miles of county roadways, at all 43 county facilities, and throughout the Monmouth County Park System, including the 22 acres of the David C. Shaw Arboretum at Holmdel Park.

The bulk of the material in this collection is from David C. Shaw’s time as Superintendent of the Shade Tree Commission from 1963 to 2002. A small portion of the visual materials, such as the slides and photographs, are dated after Shaw’s retirement from the Shade Tree Commission, but they pertain to the relevant events and work of the group and have been included.

Most of the materials were transferred (Accessions 2015-06 and 2016-33) by Ed Fitzgerald from Monmouth County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering, shortly before he retired, and his familiarity with the Commission’s organization contributed to the fullness and detail of several aspects of this collection and finding aid.


The majority of these records were created when David C. Shaw of Farmingdale was Superintendent of the Monmouth County Shade Tree Commission (1963-2002). The bulk of the collection is audiovisual and includes slides, 1960-1993; scrapbooks, 1962-1992; film reels and VHS tapes, 1963-1998; audiotapes, 1979 and undated; photographic prints 1967-2001; and photographic negatives, 1990-2001. Of the textual records, there are annual superintendent reports by Shaw, 1974-1996; brochures, 1969-1974; directories of municipal shade tree commissions, 1991-1996; newsletters, December 1962-July/August 2002; journals, 1963-1964; and miscellaneous documents, 1971-2010. The records in these subseries are incomplete within the date spans, although most are available for these years. Especially for the audiovisual materials, there are many individual items that are undated. For these items, however, it can be assumed that they fall within their discrete subseries’ date ranges. The bulk of the materials fall within the 1960-2002 timespan, rather than 1960-2010. The overall date range of the collection ends with 2010 due to the date of a single, small group of documents.

The majority of the visual materials, such as slides and photographs, are primarily taken in locations in Monmouth County, although there are also photographs and slides clearly marked as being taken elsewhere, during trips and conferences.

Additional details for each subseries are provided below:

Superintendent’s Annual Reports, 1974-1996

These reports include, but are not limited to, plantings, trimmings, and removals, with statistics; the Holmdel Arboretum; trimming and removals in parks; outreach activities, including radio programs, slide lectures, movie screenings, and Arbor Day school programs; attendance by David C. Shaw at professional meetings, including for some organizations in which he played a leadership role; the Monmouth County Nursery where trees are grown for planting; Spring and Fall Forums; reports about the newsletter; displays at high schools and fairs; reports on brochures; the gypsy moth control program; including spraying from the Commission’s helicopter; shade tree surveys; 4-H Plant a Tree Program; and damage from storms.

Brochures, 1969-1974

Brochures include such titles as Tree Planting Recommendations; How Do Municipalities Use Their Leaves; Planting Specifications; Selecting the Right Shade Tree; Method of Evaluating Shade Trees; Pruning Trees and Shrubs; Trees, Shrubs, and Evergreens; Buffers and Screenings for Industrial Sites, Parking Lots, Commercial and Business Areas; Mulches; Gypsy Moth Educational Program Teacher’s Guide; Know Your Enemy and Save Your Trees from the Gypsy Moth; Gypsy Moth Slide Talk (text); et al.

Newsletters, December 1962-July/August 2002

The newsletters generally were issued four times per year and are numbered. Gaps in the file, arranged numerically, are from both missing issues and skipped numbers when issued. There is also one instance of two issues with the same number.

Journals, 1963-1964

David C. Shaw recorded daily reports of the Commission’s work from July 1963 to October 1964. These reports are in two handwritten journals. In addition to the reports, the journals also include lists of contact information of people and companies, and notes on his ideas and questions that he had.

Miscellaneous Documents, 1971-2010

The larger part of the miscellaneous documents are the folders of Gypsy Moth Pesticide Plans, or Ground Crew Plans. They include tables, maps, and other information about the pesticide being used, spray locations, teams, zones, spray blocks, and school shut-down times, in order for the crews assigned to different townships to carry out a thorough pesticide spraying. Other documents include postcards, handwritten notes and lists of contact information, business cards, and other printed material.

Slides, 1960-1993

The subject matter of the slides include aerial surveys and sprayings; tree removals, plantings, trimmings, and transplantings; tree, shrub, and flower specimens; tree issues, diseases and problems; weather damage; arboretums; tree workers and equipment; insects and pests (particularly the gypsy moth); parking lots and beautification; flower shows in various cities; Arbor Day and Earth Day events and ceremonies; Nurserymen’s Dinners and other events. Some of the slides are images taken during ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) and Society of Municipal Arborists (SMA) conferences in various cities across the United States. Even outside of conference events, many of the images are part of the research that the Shade Tree Commission undertook to examine examples of planting methods, tree specimens, tree issues, etc. to bring back and implement in the county. Some of these slides are part of a slide show grouping or training program, and are physically accompanied with their corresponding audiocassette tapes, typewritten list of captions, and publications.

Some arboretums and gardens in particular include: the Holmdel Arboretum (NJ), Longwood Gardens (PA), the United State National Arboretum (Washington, D.C.), Arnold Arboretum (MA), Brooklyn Botanic Garden (NY), Holden Arboretum (OH), Rutgers Gardens (NJ), Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens (Canada), and Sterling Forest (NY).

Some New Jersey locations in particular include: Asbury Park, Holmdel, Little Silver, Freehold, Belmar, Rumson, Ocean Port, Morris Township, Middletown, Englishtown, Neptune Township, Atlantic Highlands, and Wrightstown. Locations from other states include: Washington Crossing, PA; Norfolk, VA; Richmond, VA; Lakeside, WA; Silver Spring, FL; Tampa, FL; Clearwater, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Cleveland, OH; Buffalo, NY; Hartford, CT; Wichita, KS; Dayton, OH; and Washington, D.C.

Scrapbooks, 1962-1992

There were seven scrapbooks in total, with a folder of miscellaneous news clippings. Some of scrapbooks pages were interspersed with unattached clippings, which were intended for inclusion. The dates of the clippings are not strictly chronological in each scrapbook, or across scrapbooks. The scrapbooks have been photocopied with the goal of content in mind. Items in the scrapbooks pertain to the pesticide spraying, pests (particularly the gypsy moth), notable persons part of, or affiliated with, the Shade Tree Commission, community events, gardening tips, and other horticulture-related items. There are not only news clippings, but also letters, event invitations and programs, photographs, and notes. These items have been excerpted from the scrapbooks and correspondingly foldered. Each photocopied page is annotated with numbers and letters to indicate scrapbook number, page number, and loose-item association. This is intended to, in some way, reflect the original order of the scrapbooks and to account for the loose news clippings in between pages.

Film Reels and VHS Tapes, 1963-1998

There are fifteen film reels of various types, and forty-two VHS tapes. They include educational films, training videos, event footage, public service announcements, and demonstrations. Most of the videos are informational. For example, there are training and educational videos about hemlock, Lyme disease, pesticide worker safety information, plant health care, pruning standards and practices, pests, tunneling and trenching, and roping and rigging techniques. There are a few event tapes, which include various International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Jamborees events from several different years.

Audiotapes, 1979

There are twenty-three audio reels and audiocassettes in the collection. Rather than standing alone, the audiotapes are typically meant to accompany the visual footage of either the film reels or slide shows found elsewhere in the collection. Some of the audiotapes include narratives pertaining to gypsy moths, pesticide safety, and plant pathology.

Photographs, 1967-2001

This subseries consists of black and white, color, Polaroid, and digital prints of varying sizes. Subjects include, but are not limited to, Arbor Day events, tree specimens, tree problem examples, equipment and equipment demonstrations, and arboretums. Individuals include David C. Shaw, Superintendent, Monmouth County Shade Tree Commission; Freeholders Carmen Stoppiello and Thomas C. Lynch Jr.; Charles Timm Jr., General Supervisor, Monmouth County Shade Tree Commission; and David A. Herbert, aircraft pilot. Several other people were identified by Ed Fitzgerald with his organizational knowledge of the Commission and its staff.

Photo Negatives, 1990-2001

The photo negatives in the collection are in forty individually sleeved envelopes. A little more than half of the envelopes are dated and captioned. Some of the available captions refer to: the Atlantic Highlands storm, moving a moon tree, street plantings, seashore damage, an ice storm, Arbor Day, the Holmdel Arboretum, a rigging course, and an aerial pesticide spraying.

This collection is open to researchers.

The records are available upon request in the Jane Clayton Reading Room at the Monmouth County Archives, which is open for research from 9am to 4pm, Mondays through Fridays, except holidays. Appointments are advised.

Like the intellectual arrangement of the subseries by format, the physical arrangement of the collection is also by format. Due to the environmentally sensitive nature of audiovisual materials, they have been stored in the Archives’ climate controlled vault. The particular exceptions to this separation are in the scrapbooks and slides subseries. Since newsprint is on acidic paper, the scrapbooks were photocopied onto archival paper for access. The scrapbooks also included a small amount of material beside newsprint, so these items were retained and foldered separately. They include photographs, negatives, and letters, among other things, and were kept with the scrapbook copies. As for the slides subseries, there are a few documents and audiocassettes interspersed among the various slide groupings. Some of the slides are together as part of a slide show, and the documents and audiocassettes are part of that grouping because the triad of materials support one another and were most likely used in conjunction with each other.

Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Phone: (732) 308-3771

This record series was transferred to the Monmouth County Archives by the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in January 2014 (Accession 2014-01). Two additional folders were transferred by Ed Fitzgerald, Department of Public Works and Engineering, in 2015 (Accession 2015-06).


This original finding aid was created by Gary D. Saretzky on August 26, 2014 and revised August 24, 2015. After processing of the last two accessions by Eunice Mayfield and Amy C. Vo, Ms. Vo updated the finding aid on February 1, 2017.

For additional information, see the website for the Division of Shade Tree.


Manuscript Box

Folder Title Dates
1 Superintendent’s Annual Reports 1974-1989
2 1991-1996
3 Brochures 1969-1974
4 Directories of Municipal Shade Tree Commissions 1971-1992
5 Newsletters: 83-149 1970-1976
6      :150-175 1977-1979
7      :177-203 1980-1983
8      :204-227 1984-1986
9      :228-257 1987-1990
10      :258-288 1991-1995
11      :289-354 (the folder has “incomplete” written on it) 1996-2002



Folder Title Dates
1 Scrapbook 1 1962-1975
2 Scrapbook 2 1983-1985, 1992, 1994, 1995, undated
3 Scrapbook 3 1965, 1971-1973, 1975, undated
4 Scrapbook 4 1963, 1973, 1974, 1976-1982, undated
5 Scrapbook 5 1983, undated
6 Scrapbook 6 1963-1966, 1968-1976, undated
7 Scrapbook 7 1969-1973, 1976, undated
8 Miscellaneous Clippings 1970, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1981, 1982, undated
9 Scrapbook 1, Excerpted Materials 1962-1965, 1972, 1973, undated
10 Scrapbook 2, Excerpted Materials circa 1992
11 Scrapbook 3, Excerpted Materials 1965, 1968, 1971-1973, 1975, undated
12 Scrapbook 4, Excerpted Materials 1979, 1987
13 Scrapbook 6, Excerpted Materials 1969, 1971


Slides, Box 1

Folder Title Dates
1 Aerial Surveys 1969-1975, 1978-1981, 1989, 1993, undated
2 Gypsy Moth and Other Pests 1960, 1967, 1969-1974, 1976-1980, 1993, undated
3 1960, 1967, 1969-1974, 1976-1980, 1993, undated
4 Pesticides 1972, 1974, 1981, undated
5 Tree Workers and Equipment 1963, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977-1979, undated
6 “A Tree Hurts Too” circa 1974
7 Clemson University and David Shaw 1964, 1965, 1969, 1970, undated
8 Miscellaneous Slideshow Slides 1974-1976, 1978, undated


Slides, Box 2

Folder Title Dates
1 Tree Issues and Tree Work 1961, 1963-1980, 1984, 1985, 1991, undated
2 1961, 1963-1980, 1984, 1985, 1991, undated
3 Arboretums and Tree Specimens 1966-1970, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979-1981, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1991, undated
4 Miscellaneous 1964-1974, 1977, 1979-1981, 1984, 1991, 1993, undated


Photographs, Box 1

Folder Title Dates
1 Color Photographs 1970s
2 Color Photographs 1979-2001
3 Color Photographs 1967-1997, undated
4 Color Photographs Undated
5 Color Photographs Undated


Photographs, Box 2

Folder Title Dates
1 Color Photographs 1974-1997, undated
2 Color Photographs 1990s, undated
3 Color Photographs 1991-1995
4 Color Photographs 1996-2001, undated
5 Color Photographs, Polaroids 1995-1999, undated


Miscellaneous Paper Materials

Folder Title Dates
1 Notebooks, David Shaw Work Journals 1963-1964
2 Documents, Miscellaneous 1971, 1972, 1979, 1999, undated
3 Documents, Gypsy Moth Pesticide Plans, Colts Neck 2010
4 Documents, Gypsy Moth Pesticide Plans, Freehold 2010
5 Documents, Gypsy Moth Pesticide Plans, Howell 2010
6 Documents, Gypsy Moth Pesticide Plans, Millstone 2010
7 Documents, Gypsy Moth Pesticide Plans, Tinton Falls 2010
8 Documents, Gypsy Moth Pesticide Plans, Wall 2010


In addition to these discrete boxes, there are also 12 non-standard containers filled with slides, a box of negatives, a box of audiotape, and a box of unfoldered (although sleeved) photographs and slides. The film reels and VHS tapes are on shelves but not housed in containers.