On-line Book



Early Personalities and Problems

Upgrading the Force

Defending the Force

The Force in Turmoil

The Force Matures




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A HISTORY...............
by Barry Mackintosh



Patrick J. Carroll 1932-1940
Henry Helms 1940-1941
Mark A. Raspberry (in military 1942-1945) 1941-1954
Jerome B. Lawler (vice Raspberry) 1942-1945
Harold F. Stewart 1954-1963*
Nelson Murdock 1963-1966
Walter W. Lange 1966-1968
Grant Wright 1968-1973
Jerry L. Wells 1973-1979
Parker T. Hill 1979-1981
Lynn H. Herring 1981-

*Nash Castro acted as chief 1961-62 and Nelson Murdock acted as chief 1962-63; see Force in Turmoil chapter.


In a compact history, little purpose is served by repeating in a bibliography all the specific sources identified in the footnotes. Instead, this note will highlight the general collections and sources that proved most useful during the research.

The U.S. Statutes at Large, the chronological publication of all federal laws, was a basic reference especially important in tracing early appropriations for park watchman. Nineteenth-century appropriations acts itemized expenditures for personnel in great detail; from their failure to mention watchmen on Washington's public grounds beyond the White House and Capitol before 1866, it could reasonably be inferred that there were none. The reports of the Commissioner of Public Buildings, who had jurisdiction over the parks until 1867, were likewise silent on park watchmen until 1866, corroborating the inference.

Record Group 42 in the National Archives contains the records of the office of Public Buildings and Grounds, which oversaw the parks for the Army's Chief of Engineers from 1867 to 1925, and the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital, its independent successor from 1925 to 1933. Here are found the annual reports of the military officers in charge of these offices and much correspondence pertaining to the watchmen and police. Unfortunately, Record Group 79, the records of the National Park Service in the Archives, contains only sporadic reference to the Park Police after 1933.

The volumes of annual congressional hearings on the District of Columbia and Interior Department appropriations bills since 1933 contain some testimony and supporting information on the Park Police, as does the Congressional Record in its coverage of other bills and floor debate related to the force.

Clipping collections in the Washingtoniana Room of the Martin Luther King Library helped to compensate for the paucity of Park Service records covering the years after 1933. The clippings, from the several Washington newspapers since the 1930s, are naturally weighted to the more sensational aspects of Park Police history rather than routine operations; the chapters that depend heavily on them, "Defending the Force" and "The Force in Turmoil," should be read accordingly.

Most of the annual reports issued by the Park Police in recent decades have been statistical compilations of limited value for a narrative history. The reports published for 1975 and 1977 were exceptions, providing good descriptions of the force's activities in those years. A historical file kept in the Office of Planning and Development at Park Police Headquarters contains much useful information and a few short papers tracing the back grounds of various functions, such as the three-page "History of the United States Park Police Aviation Section." Conversations with T. Sutton Jett, Nash Castro, James J. Lyons, Michael Fogarty, Lynn Herring, and William McDonnell provided valuable leads and helped fill gaps in the written record.



Last Modified: Fri, Dec 10 1999 07:08:48 am PDT

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