Frank Elmer Masland Jr. (1895-1994)

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Frank Elmer Masland Jr. was a prominent industrialist, conservationist, explorer, philanthropist and pillar of the Carlisle community throughout the twentieth century. Born to Frank Elmer Masland and Mary Esther Gossler on December 8, 1895, he was the grandson of Charles Henry Masland, founder of the Carlisle carpet company C. H. Masland & Sons.1 As president of the family business, Frank Masland Jr. brought a sense of community to Carlisle industry, enriching the town economically and culturally.

During World War I, Masland attended Dickinson College and graduated in 1918.2 That same year, he became an ensign in the United States Naval Reserve.3 While he did not fight overseas, he searched for German U-boats along the east coast of the United States.4 Masland served in the Navy for four years and was honorably discharged on April 29, 1921.5

Masland played a pivotal role in the relocation of C. H. Masland & Sons from Philadelphia to Carlisle. He and his brother, Robert Paul, attended Dickinson College and became well acquainted with the town. In 1919, when C. H. Masland & Sons sought an alternative headquarters due to labor troubles in Philadelphia, the brothers recommended Carlisle. Masland would later claim that he turned over the first shovel of dirt for the new building on July 1, 1919.6 From 1930 to 1961, Masland served as the president of C. H. Masland & Sons.7 He led the company through World War II, during which time C. H. Masland & Sons converted its operations entirely to the war effort and earned the Army-Navy “E” Award for excellence in wartime production.8

Masland lived to see the merger of C. H. Masland & Sons with Burlington Industries in 1986. While none of the Maslands on the board were ecstatic about the situation, they remained hopeful that business would continue as usual and that most changes to the company would be superficial. Frank E. Masland Jr. asserted that the company would maintain its identity in spite of the merger with Burlington.9 In a letter published in the Sentinel, however, he expressed a sense of loss as the company passed out of the hands of the Masland family. While he had no doubt that Burlington Industries would make the best decisions for the company, he believed that Burlington would never have the same love for Carlisle that he and C. H. Masland & Sons possessed.10

Masland also possessed a lifelong passion for the environment and made it the subject of many of his local philanthropic projects. When the Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs faced commercial development, he provided private and public funds to preserve it for the local children and future generations. Another project was the preservation of King’s Gap, in which he protected the estate from development and negotiated its transfer to the state. The Laurel Run preserve was even named in his honor after he helped to preserve one thousand acres of hemlocks and white pines.11 Masland’s love of the environment was only matched by his love for exploration. In 1948, he joined Norman Nevill’s three-week expedition down the Colorado River, travelling over two hundred miles from Navajo Bridge to Lake Mead.12 He later embarked on an adventure to the Galapagos Islands in 1951, visiting eight islands and sailing over 2,500 miles.13 Masland was committed to preserving the natural world, both at home and abroad.

Masland married his first wife, Virginia Sharp, on January 2, 1918. They had two sons, Frank Elmer “Mike” Masland III and David Sharp Masland.14 After his wife’s death in 1984, Masland married Florence Corey in 1989.[15] He died on July 30, 1994, remembered fondly by his friends, family and the Carlisle community.[16]

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References (Sources Available at CCHS in bold)

[1] Masland Genealogy, March 1963.

[2] Margaret Emery, “He Started on $9 a Week Job,” Sentinel, June 17, 1986.

[3] Honorable Discharge from the Naval Reserve Force to Ensign Frank Elmer Masland, Jr. from the U. S. Secretary of the Navy, November 7, 1921, Flat Manuscript Collection, Hamilton Library, CCHS.

[4] Mark Weinberg, “Friends Say Goodbye to Masland,” Sentinel, August 5, 1994.

[5] Honorable Discharge, CCHS.

[6] Frank E. Masland Jr., “A Letter from Frank Masland to My Friends in the Valley,” Sentinel, July 9, 1886.

[7] Charles Kriebel, “Masland Magic,” Home Furnishings Daily, May 5, 1966.

[8] “A Brief History of C. H. Masland & Sons,” produced by C. H. Masland & Sons, n.d., 4-5.

[9] Charles Thompson, “Bosses Feel Pricetag Fair,” Sentinel, June 17, 1986.

[10] Masland, “A Letter from Frank Masland.”

[1] Mark Weinberg, “Masland dead at 98,” Sentinel, August 1, 1994.

[12] Frank E. Masland, Jr., By the Rim of Time (Carlisle, PA: C. H. Masland & Sons, n.d.), 2-5.

[13] Frank E. Masland, Jr., The Ageless Land (Carlisle, PA: n.p., 1985), 3.

[14] Masland Genealogy.

[15] Mark Weinberg, “At 93, He Takes Bride,” Sentinel, April 28, 1989.

[16] Weinberg, “Friends Say Goodbye to Masland.”

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