Bernheim Foundation Records, 1929-1979

Accessions: 1981-042, 1985-014
Extent: 11.75 linear feet
Restrictions: None.
Copyright: Copyright for some items has not been transferred to the University of Louisville.

Administrative History

In 1929 Kentucky distiller and philanthropist I.W. Bernheim directed the creation of a foundation and a fund bearing his name. He intended for this corporation to oversee the development of an arboretum, natural forest, and nature center on a 14,000-acre tract in Bullitt and Nelson counties. This privately-financed development would be open to the public to strengthen its visitors' love of natural beauty.

Bernheim's specific plans for this project apparently originated during the early 1920s, as he reflected upon his life and family during long walks in the woods that surrounded his home. He envisioned the creation of a place where wildlife and forest would not be managed for production, but left basically unspoiled. Perhaps Bernheim had been influenced by the growing public concern for conservation of natural resources as America's frontier period came to an end. He undoubtedly believed that nature provided a tonic for the corrupting influences of society. Within the bounds of Bernheim's wooded legacy, discussion of religion and politics, the sale of merchandise, and racial and economic discrimination would be prohibited.

The founder's wonderful vision for the forest outran the funds available for its development. During their first decade, the trustees of the foundation devoted their primary attention to work on the wilderness aspects of Bernheim's dreams: the construction of fire lanes, building of access roads, and enforcement of game laws. Personnel problems, strained relations with the forest's neighbors, and confusion about the founder's goals and wishes impeded their progress. By the end of the 1930s, however, the trustees had sponsored several studies outlining the area's future development, gained a more realistic understanding of the task ahead of them, and made substantial improvements in the tract from a forester's viewpoint. Yet little had been done to develop the park-like provisions that Bernheim envisioned: an arboretum, recreational facilities, and a nature museum.

During the period after World War II, the development of Bernheim Forest came into better focus. Bernheim died in 1945 at age ninety-six, at which time his long-time personal secretary Robert Paul became executive director of the foundation. In 1950 Frank Bunce became the chief forester and provided solid leadership for many years thereafter. This period saw the regular opening of the forest to the public, the building of a nature museum, and the development of an arboretum. A growing concern with the quality of the environment, coupled with increased leisure time and greater mobility, strained all the nation's parks during the post-war period. The administrators of Bernheim Forest were not strangers to this development. By the 1960s, a growing interest in camping, picnicking, and other outdoor activities frequently taxed their resources.

Brief Description of the Collection

This collection contains minutes from the Board of Directors meetings at the Foundation, correspondence in regards to the Foundation and Bernheim Forrest, and also legal and financial records for the Foundation and Forrest. Planning materials and reports concerning Bernheim Forrest and articles written about it are also included. There are some personal documents of I. W. Bernheim included and several photographs and scrapbooks.

Processing Note

This collection was received in two parts. The first set of materials was arranged in 1983-1984 and fills boxes 1 through 8. The second set of materials, received in 1985, fills boxes 8-11. These newer materials were not interfiled, but have been assigned to the series designations established with the first, larger, accession.

Series Descriptions

Series I: Minutes

The Bernheim Foundation has been governed by a board of directors since its incorporation in 1929. Most of the foundation's business has been conducted by the board's executive committee, the full group meeting with less regularity. The minutes contain a thorough, consistent account of the Bernheim Forest's development.
View a listing of the folders in this series

Series II: Correspondence

Foundation and forest personnel have carried on correspondence on a variety of issues and with a great number of people since 1929. Letters and accompanying material include communications to and from such firms as Olmstead Brothers landscape architects; Robert Paul, Bernheim's long-time personal secretary who became foundation director after the benefactor's death; and Fran Bunce, who served as forest manager for several decades following World War II. Subjects include development of the forest's natural beauty; the erection of buildings, monuments, and other man-made aspects of the forest site; as well as legal and financial matters.
View a listing of the folders in this series

Series III: Legal Documents

The Bernheim Foundation has been involved in a variety of legal matters beginning with the drafting and execution of the benefactor's original will and other plans for the forest. Various heirs contested Bernheim's will; from time to time the directors of the foundation sought to have it modified; and the question of tax exempt status has been a persistent one with the Bernheim Foundation.
View a listing of the folders in this series

Series IV: Financial Records

This series concerns returns from the Bernheim Trust, audits of accounts, and expenditures for the running of the forest. Materials in Box 10 are still in their original envelopes; they were not refoldered and are unnumbered.
View a listing of the folders in this series

Series V: Plans and Reports

The Bernheim Foundation has commissioned a variety of reports on the development of the site that came to be called Bernheim Forest. These began in 1929 and continued up until the present. In addition to plans and reports submitted by outside agencies, this series includes reports by forest personnel such as Frank Bunce, as well as historical materials compiled by Robert Paul.
View a listing of the folders in this series

Series VI: Scrapbooks

In addition to four volumes of well-kept scrapbooks on the forest and foundation, this series includes loose clippings and other memorabilia.
View a listing of the folders in this series

Series VII: Photographs and Drawings

These photographs provide visual documentation of the development of Bernheim Forest beginning in the 1930s. Various drawings include architect's conceptions of the forest's development.
View a listing of the folders in this series

Collection Contents

Series I: Minutes

Box 1

  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 1, 1929-1930
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 1, 1931-1933
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 1, 1934-1935
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 1, 1935-1936
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 2, 1936-1940
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 2, 1941-1947
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 2, 1948-1949
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 3, 1950-1955
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 3, 1956-1965
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 3, 1966-1970
  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Minutes, Book 3, 1971-1973
  • Miscellaneous Trust Minutes and Related Correspondence, 1945-1962
  • Trust Minutes and Related Correspondence, circa 1945-1962
  • Resolution, Henry Offutt, 1975
  • Reports, Resolutions, Minutes, Bylaws and Agreements, 1932-1950

Box 11

  • 1. Trustees Board Meetings -- Minutes of Meetings (copies and drafts), circa 1952-1971
  • 2. Bernheim Trust and By-Laws, 1939, n.d.

Series II: Correspondence

Box 1

  • 16. Huston Quin, 1937
  • 17. Robert Paul and R.E. Bishop, 1947-1950
  • 18. I.S. Jenkins and I.W. Bernheim, 1927-1928
  • 19. I.S. Jenkins to T.W. Alexander, 1929-1930
  • 20. I.S. Jenkins orders Turkeys [sic], 1931-1932
  • 21. Correspondence, 1929-1939
  • 22. Bernheim Follow-up Correspondence re: Tax Reform Act, 1971
  • 23. To be Returned, Bernheim Office [William Tate Correspondence], 1971-1973
  • 24. Correspondence, 1929
  • 25. Correspondence, 1930-1939, #1
  • 26. Correspondence, 1930-1939, #2
  • 27. Correspondence, 1936-1950
  • 28. Correspondence, 1932-1934
  • 29. Correspondence, 1935
  • 30. Correspondence, 1943-1944
  • 31. I.W. Bernheim to Trustees re: Executive Secretary, 1936
  • 32. Correspondence and Finances re: Dam #3, 1949-1955
  • 33. Bernheim Forest: Instructions by I.W. Bernheim, 1939
  • 34. Olmsted Brothers, 1936
  • 35. Art Fund, 1950-1959
  • 36. Art Fund, 1941-1948
  • 37. Bernheim Forest, History of Site, 1950
  • 38. Internal Revenue Service, 1943-1963

Box 2

  • 1. "New Deal" Trust, 1939-1941
  • 2. Art Fund (Correspondence, Legal Documents, Financial), 1941-1946, #1
  • 3. Art Fund (Correspondence, Legal Documents, Financial), 1941-1946, #2
  • 4. Arboretum (Correspondence, Brochures, Reports), 1959-1963
  • 5. Grave Site Memorial (Correspondence, Financial), 1956-1957
  • 6. Tablet (Olmsted Brothers), 1954
  • 7. Tablet, 1954-1955
  • 8. Art Fund (Bills), 1954-1957
  • 9. Congress re Tax Reform, 1971-1972, #1
  • 10. Congress re Tax Reform, 1971-1972, #2
  • 11. I.W. Bernheim, III, 1966-1976, #1
  • 12. I.W. Bernheim, III, 1966-1976, #2
  • 13. Kentucky Division of Forestry (Correspondence, Maps, Agreements), 1953-1979
  • 14. I.W. Bernham, II, 1964-1971
  • 15. Helen Roth, 1962-1975
  • 16. Friends of Bernheim Forest, 1970-1972
  • 17. Friends of Bernheim, 1970-1971
  • 18. Legal and Financial Status, 1969-1971
  • 19. Gas and Oil Leases, 1948-1976
  • 20. Plants in the Bible, 1967
  • 21. Cave Hill Cemetery, 1952-1955
  • 22. Cave Hill Cemetery, 1937-1955
  • 23. Olmsted Brothers, 1955
  • 24. Olmsted Brothers, 1956-1957, #1
  • 25. Olmsted Brothers, 1956-1957, #2
  • 26. Wildlife Refuge, 1930-1972
  • 27. Bernheim Foundation, 1936-1951
  • 28. Kentucky History, 1967-1970
  • 29. Bernheim Foundation, 1939-1944

Series III: Legal Documents

Box 3

  • 1. Bernheim Forest, Legal Advice re: Rules, 1950
  • 2. Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation By-Laws, 1948
  • 3. Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Articles of Incorporation, 1929
  • 4. The Bernheim Forest Park, R.E. Bishop Agreement, 1947
  • 5. I.W. Bernheim Trust Agreement, 1939
  • 6. Foundation Articles of Incorporation, 1929
  • 7. By-Laws of Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation with amendments, 1946-1951
  • 8. Trust Court Rulings, 1947-1948
  • 9. Trust, Will, Instructions to Robert Paul, 1941-1945, #1
  • 10. Trust, Will, Instructions to Robert Paul, 1941-1945, #2
  • 11. Trust, Will, Instructions to Robert Paul, 1941-1945, #3
  • 12. Court Decree, 1939-1940
  • 13. Legal documents relating to coal interests, 1918-1927
  • 14. I.W. Bernheim Estate and Wills, 1929-1933, #1
  • 15. I.W. Bernheim Estate and Wills, 1929-1933, #2
  • 16. Selligman and Greenebaum: Heirs, Suit, Tax, 1947-1949, #1
  • 17. Selligman and Greenebaum: Heirs, Suit, Tax, 1947-1949, #2
  • 18. Trust Suit, 1947, #1
  • 19. Trust Suit, 1947, #2
  • 20. .W. Bernheim Will, 1941
  • 21. Company Stock, 1932-1934
  • 22. Alfred A. Green, 1946-1949, #1
  • 23. Alfred A. Green, 1946-1949, #2
  • 24. Trust and Will Controversy, 1936-1951, #1
  • 25. Trust and Will Controversy, 1936-1951, #2
  • 26. Income Tax Dispute, 1947
  • 27. Forest: Legal Documents re: Purchase and Title (Suits), 1927
  • 28. Trust Agreement re Art Fund, 1941
  • 29. I.W. Bernheim Trust Agreement Amendments, 1939
  • 30. Foundation Description, 1954
  • 31. Art Fund Notes and Booklets, [1941], 1954

Series IV: Financial Records:

See also boxes 10 and 11

Box 3

  • 32. Bernheim Forest Payroll Ledger, 1950
  • 33. Bernheim Forest Payroll Ledger, 1951
  • 34. Bernheim Forest Payroll Ledger, 1951
  • 35. Bernheim Foundation Account Book, 1944-1949

Box 4

  • 1. Bernheim Foundation Account Book, 1945
  • 2. Bernheim Foundation Account Book, 1950
  • 3. Bernheim Foundation Account Book, 1938-1945
  • 4. Forest: Purchase of Taylor Tract, 1937
  • 5. Bernheim Trust Statement, 1946
  • 6. Bernheim Trust Statement, 1951
  • 7. Bernheim Trust Statement, 1954
  • 8. Bernheim Trust Statement, 1955
  • 9. Bernheim Trust Statement, 1956
  • 10. Bernheim Trust Statement, 1957
  • 11. Bernheim Trust Statement, 1958
  • 12. Bernheim Trust Statement, 1959
  • 13. Bernheim Trust Account, 1959
  • 14. Improvement and Emergency Fund, 1944-1946
  • 15. Trust Investment Analysis, 1969
  • 16. Budget, 1961-1962
  • 17. Budget, 1960-1962
  • 18. Budget, 1959-1961
  • 19. Trust Information, 1951-1958
  • 20. Trust, 1945
  • 21. Trust, 1958
  • 22. New Trust Agreement, 1945
  • 23. New Trust, 1939-1940, #1
  • 24. New Trust, 1939-1940, #2
  • 25. New Trust, 1939-1940, #3
  • 26. Termination of Trust with City Bank Trust Company, 1939
  • 27. 1939 Trust: Interpretation and Correspondence, 1943-1977
  • 28. Audit Reports, 1936-1956
  • 29. Audit Reports, 1957-1959
  • 30. Audit Reports, 1960-1961
  • 31. Audit Reports, 1962-1963
  • 32. Audit Reports, 1964-1965
  • 33. Audit Reports, 1966-1967
  • 34. Audit Report, 1968
  • 35. Audit Report, 1969
  • 36. Audit Report, 1970
  • 37. Audit Report, 1971
  • 38. Audit Report, 1972

Box 5

  • 1. Audit Report, 1973
  • 2. Audit Report, 1974
  • 3. Audit Report, 1975
  • 4. Audit Report, 1976
  • 5. Audit Reports, 1976-1977
  • 6. Audit Report, 1978
  • 7. Audit Report, 1979
  • 8. Payroll Sheets, 1952-1966
  • 9. Payroll Sheets, 1961
  • 10. Payroll Sheets, 1962
  • 11. Payroll Sheets, 1963
  • 12. Payroll Sheets, 1964
  • 13. Payroll Sheets, 1965-1966
  • 14. Receipts from City Farmers Bank Trust Company, 1932-1937
  • 15. Trust Statements, 1939-1946, #1
  • 16. Trust Statements, 1939-1946, #2
  • 17. Trust Income, 1940-1948, #1
  • 18. Trust Income, 1940-1948, #2
  • 19. Bernheim Tax File (Property Taxes), 1951-1973
  • 20. Investment Policy for Trust Account, 1959-1973, #1
  • 21. Trust Statements, 1941-1945, #1
  • 22. Trust Statements, 1941-1945, #2
  • 23. Trust Statement, 1969
  • 24. Trust Income, 1971
  • 25. Improvement and Emergency Account, 1971
  • 26. Trust Income Statements, 1972
  • 27. Improvement and Emergency Account and Trust Income Statements, 1970
  • 28. Improvement and Emergency Account, 1972

Box 6

  • 1. Improvement and Emergency Accounts, 1973-1976
  • 2. Trust Accounts, 1973-1974
  • 3. Trust at the Time of I.W. Bernheim's Death, 1945
  • 4. Bullitt and Nelson Counties Tax Assessment, 1971
  • 5. Unemployment Compensation Insurance, Bernheim Trust, 1975
  • 6. Internal Revenue Service, 1950-1951, #1
  • 7. Internal Revenue Service, 1950-1951, #2
  • 8. Bullitt and Nelson Counties Tax Assessment 1970, 1970-1971, 1980
  • 9. Citizens Fidelity Bank and Trust Co.: Propose Regulations - Private Foundations, 1971
  • 10. Robert Paul Salary Paid by Trust, 1974
  • 11. Securities Transactions, Citizens Fidelity Bank and Trust Company, 1970-1976
  • 12. Securities Transactions, Citizens Fidelity Bank and Trust Company, 1977-1978
  • 13. Securities Transactions, Citizens Fidelity Bank and Trust Company, 1960-1969
  • 14. Trust Agreements, 1929-1978
  • 15. Income Tax Records, 1937
  • 16. Art Fund Expense, 1953-1954
  • 17. Art Fund Account, 1941-1959
  • 18. Forest Inventories, 1935, 1957-1959
  • 19. Forest Inventories, 1960-1962
  • 20. Forest Inventories, 1963-1967
  • 21. Art Fund, 1943-1956, #1
  • 22. Art Fund, 1943-1956, #2
  • 23. Improvement and Emergency Account, 1945-1958, #1
  • 24. Improvement and Emergency Account, 1945-1958, #2
  • 25. Foundation Payroll, 1937

Box 10

  • Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Payroll Account, 1967-1969
  • Cash Book Sheets, 1974
  • Ledger Sheets, 1974
  • Cash Book and Ledger, 1973
  • Cash Receipts, Disbursements, and General Ledger, 1965
  • Cash Receipts, Disbursements, and General Ledger, 1966
  • Cash Book and Ledger, 1972
  • Cash Book and Ledger, 1967
  • Cash Receipts, Disbursements, and General Ledger, 1964
  • Cash Receipts, Disbursements, and General Ledger, 1963
  • Cash Book and Ledger, 1971
  • Cash Book and Ledger, 1968
  • Cash and Disbursements and Ledger Sheets, 1976

Box 11

  • 3. Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Personal Investment Records -- Ledger A, 1923-1945
  • 4. Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Personal Investment Records -- Ledger B, 1944-1963
  • 5. Forest Lodge Furnishings Donation, 1941-1973
  • 6. Arboretum Center Development, 1964-1965
  • 7. New Trust -- Fidelity and Columbia Trust Company (1942-44)

Series V: Plans and Reports:

Box 6

  • 26. Forest: Consultant's Reports, 1947, 1949
  • 27. Comments on Policies and Plans of the Bernheim Forest by Charles G. Sauers, 1949
  • 28. Isaac W. Bernheim Estate, The Bird Study, n.d.
  • 29. Olmsted Brothers Report, 1932
  • 30. Isaac W. Bernheim Estate, Nurseries, T.W. McKinley, Managing Forester, 1934
  • 31. Comments on Policies and Plans of the Bernheim Forest, by Charles Sauers, 1949
  • 32. Bernheim Forest Park, a Planning Report, 1948

Box 7

  • 1. Lafon Report on Clermont Farm, 1929
  • 2. Forest: Consultant's Report on Development Possibilities, 1929
  • 3. Foresters' Annual Reports, 1933-1939
  • 4. Olmsted Brothers, 1932/Lafon Report, 1929
  • 5. [Forest] Manager's Reports (1929-1932) and Bishops' (1948), 1929-1948
  • 6. Brush Fire Report, 1946
  • 7. Report on Main Approach and Museum Site, 1934
  • 8. Bishop Report, 1948
  • 9. I-64 Public Hearings, 1961
  • 10. Bunce Master Plan, 1951
  • 11. Exhibits for Bunce Master Plan, 1951
  • 12. Bunce Master Plan Supplement, 1963
  • 13. McClure Report, Spring, 1971
  • 14. Bunce Master Plan, 1971
  • 15. Olmsted Brothers Report, 1955
  • 16. Art Fund Specifications, 1955-1956
  • 17. Grave Site Report, 1956
  • 18. History of Bernheim Forest, Filson Club [Bunce history and reference materials], n.d.
  • 19. Plants of Bernheim Forest, 1955
  • 20. Forest: Histories by Paul and Bunce, circa 1945
  • 21. Bernheim Forest: Description by Robert Paul, 1945
  • 22. Kentucky State Parks Report by Richard E. Bishop, 1948
  • 23. "Historical" [file compiled by Bunce], circa 1960s

Box 9

  • 1. Natural History Museum of the Isaac W. Bernheim Foundation Inventory, 1930-1940
  • 2. Correspondence re: J.D. Figgins, 1959-1972
  • 3. J.D. Figgins Recommendations Re: Museum, 1935-1936
  • 4. Clipping: Plaster Casts of Indians, n.d.
  • 5. Museum Specs and Cost, 1934, 1952

Series VI: Scrapbooks:

Box 7

  • 24. Bernheim Foundation Scrapbook, #1, 1929-1962
  • 25. Bernheim Foundation Scrapbook, #2, 1929-1962
  • 26. Bernheim Foundation Scrapbook, #3, 1929-1962
  • 27. Bernheim Foundation Scrapbook, #4, 1929-1962

Box 8

  • 1. "In Bloom at Bernheim," circa 1950s to 1970s [folder not found] - found in box 7
  • 2. Clippings, 1929-1938

Box 11

  • 8. Clippings re: Forest, 1929
  • 9. Museum -- Figgins, 1935-1972
  • 10. Articles about IWB [I.W. Bernheim] and Forest, 1938, 1952-1955
  • 11. Plants in the Bible (research and publication), circa 1966
  • 12. Articles about Bernheim Forest, 1950s-1970s
  • 13. Kentucky History Articles, 1960s and n.d.

Series VII: Photographs and Drawings

Box 8

  • 3. Isaac W. Bernheim Estate, random shots [sic], 1930-1934
  • 4. Forest: Museum models [photographs of animal displays from other museums], n.d.
  • 5. Sketch Plans and Elevation: Museum Building, 1934
  • 6. Forest: Photographs taken by T.W. McKinley of Bernheim Estate, 1934 building, circa 1934
  • 7. Miscellaneous Architectural Drawings, circa 1950s
  • 8. Forest: Models: Sharon Woods -- Cincinnati Museum, n.d.
  • 9. Olmsted Brothers Drawings, 1950s, #1
  • 10. Olmsted Brothers Drawings, 1950s, #2
  • 11. Insignia (Fire Tower), n.d.

Box 11

  • 14. Bernheim Forest -- Photos and Graphics