Manufactured by
Worn by
Mobley, Melody Starya, American, born 1958
Subject of
United States Forest Service, founded 1905
Mount Baker–Snoqualmie National Forest, American, founded 1897
ca. 1980
leather and metal
H x W x D: 2 1/8 × 37 5/8 × 3/8 in. (5.4 × 95.6 × 1 cm)
Melody Starya Mobley was the first African American female forester of the USDA Forest Service (USFS), serving from June 1977 until her retirement in March 2005. She also was the first African American woman to graduate (in 1979) from the University of Washington College of Forest Resources (later renamed the School of Forest Resources in the College of the Environment). During her 28 years with the USFS she served in national forests all over the country. Most notably for this collection, she served in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington state from 1980-1982, Cleveland National Forest in Southern California from 1982-1986, held a temporary assignment in Klamath National Forest in Northern California, and finally served in Ocala National Forest in central Florida from 1986-1987. From 1988 until her retirement in 2005 she served in the USFS headquarters in Washington, D.C. In the mid-1990s, Mobley was given a temporary detail to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada where she served as Deputy Forest Supervisor.
Leather belt used by Melody Starya Mobley as part of her forester uniform while serving in the United States Forest Service. The belt has a gold toned, single tongue buckle with a leather belt strap embossed with wildlife scenes. The gold tone finish of the buckle has slightly worn off and the silver tone below shows through. A relief mark on buckle is the letter [M] inside an oval. The belt strap has seven (7) notches. Embossed on the front of the strap is a repeating pattern of animals, including rabbits, bucks, mountain lions, and ducks in flight, set against a background with trees, bushes, lakes, and mountains. The belt straps slightly dips into a “V” shape at the center. The buckle is secured to the strap with two (2) metal rivets. The back of the leather is plain with a rough texture.
Place used
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington, United States, North and Central America
Cleveland National Forest, San Diego County, California, United States, North and Central America
Klamath National Forest, Siskiyou County, California, United States, North and Central America
Ocala National Forest, Florida, United States, North and Central America
District of Columbia, United States, North and Central America
Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Nevada, United States, North and Central America
Clothing - Fashion and Historical
belts worn at the waist or below
American West
Clothing and dress
Credit Line
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Melody Starya Mobley
Object number
Restrictions & Rights
No Known Copyright Restrictions
Proper usage is the responsibility of the user.

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