Gerald W. Williams is a native of Oregon and earned degrees from Southern Oregon University (B.A., Sociology; M.A. General Studies Social Science) and Washington State University (Ph.D., Sociology). Williams worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1979 until his retirement in 2005. From 1979 to 1993, he was a sociologist with the Umpqua and Willamette National Forests in Oregon; in 1993-1998, he served as the regional sociologist for the Pacific Northwest Regional Office in Portland; and from 1998 until his retirement in 2005. He was the national historian for the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C. Williams designed and implemented a regional and national history program for the Forest Service which culminated in his appointment as national historian. He has published more than 75 books, chapters, book reviews, and articles and conference papers exploring a variety of historical topics such as the Native American use of fire to manage environments, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the U.S. Army's Spruce Production Division during World War I.