Lock Haven dean documents the life of Mira Lloyd Dock

Mira Lloyd Dock was the first woman in the world to sit on a public forest commission, in this case the Pennsylvania State Forest Commission from 1901-1913. She also was the first woman to hold a Pennsylvania state government office, either elected or appointed.

Dock was from Harrisburg, a botanist and a reformer for municipal clean-up and women’s rights as well as a conservationist. Her allies included J. Horace McFarland, the president of the American Civic Association; Gifford Pinchot, the U.S. Chief Forester during the Theodore Roosevelt Administration; and Vance McCormick, mayor of Harrisburg and Woodrow Wilson’s campaign manager.

Three PA Conservation Heritage documentaries, “Mira Lloyd Dock: A Beautiful Crusade,” Gifford Pinchot’s “Conservation Legacy” and “Straight Talk: The Ralph Abele Story,” produced by the Harrisburg public television station, WITF, will premiere at 8:30 p.m. Thursday on WITF-TV.

Of those documentaries, Dr. Susan Rimby, dean of the college of liberal arts and education at Lock Haven University, is Mira Lloyd Dock’s biographer.

Her book, “Mira Lloyd Dock and the Progressive Era Conservation Movement,” was published by Penn State University Press in 2012. During the summer of 2014, WITF interviewed Rimby in the Stevenson Library on the Lock Haven University campus to discuss Dock’s life and work.

Rimby received her Ph.D. in United States history from the University of Pittsburgh. She taught history, women’s studies, and social studies education at Shippensburg University from 1992-2013.

She has been the Founding Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education at Lock Haven since 2013. Rimby became interested in the Dock family during her Scholar-in-Residency at the Pennsylvania State Archives in 2001. She originally had planned to write a biography of Lavinia Lloyd Dock, a nursing educator, peace activist and women’s rights advocate. However, she realized Mira Lloyd Dock’s story also was important and needed to be told.