Gifford Pinchot (pĬn´shō), 1865–1946, American forester and public official, b. Simsbury, Conn. He studied forestry in Europe and then undertook (1892) systematic work in forestry at the Vanderbilt estate in North Carolina. He became (1896) a member of the National Forest Commission and served (1898–1910) in the division of forestry, which in the period of his service became a bureau and then the Forest Service. He was dismissed (1910) by President Taft because he publicly criticized Secretary of Interior Richard A. Ballinger's administration of coal lands in Alaska. Pinchot's dismissal helped widen the rift in the Republican party and the estrangement between President Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. In 1912, Pinchot joined Roosevelt in forming the Progressive party. After he helped found the Yale school of forestry, Pinchot was (1903–36) professor there while serving on numerous conservation commissions. He was twice (1923–27, 1931–35) governor of Pennsylvania. In his first term Pinchot directed the reorganization of the state government. He wrote many books on forestry and timber; his autobiography, Breaking New Ground (1947), sums up many years of his study of conservation.
See biographies by M. N. McGeary (1960) and M. L. Fausold (1961, repr. 1973); studies by J. L. Penick (1968) and H. T. Pinkett (1970).