The Regional Review

Volume IV - Nos. 4 & 5

April-May, 1940

Publications and Reports


Some of South Africa's achievements in setting aside inviolate lands now date back more than a decade, but most of them still are not well known to American conservationists because international conservation studies are virtually nonexistent. The scope of the movement is suggested by an article of Dr. R. Bigalke in The Johannesburg Star of November 27, 1936, announcing the establishment of Rietvlei Sanctuary.

"Although the concept of the protection of wild life first began to be formulated during the first quarter of the nineteenth century and gradually gained momentum as the century progressed," wrote Dr. Bigalke, "it was not until the last quarter of that century, and especially in the early part of the twentieth century, that the question met with the attention that it merited. In South Africa the first spectacular results of the conservation principle were achieved during the past ten years, largely as the result of the untiring efforts of the Wild Life Protection Society of South Africa.

"At the present time conservation is not only practised on a more or less large scale by all civilised states, but on a smaller scale it is meeting with increased attention at the hands of municipalities, societies and private individuals. Pretoria has not been backward in this respect, with the result that three sanctuaries are in existence at the present time. . .

"The most recent addition to the list---namely, the Rietvlei Sanctuary---also has the distinction of being the largest. This sanctuary, which lies on the farm Rietvlei, about 10 miles south of Pretoria, extends over an area of no less than 12,180 acres. If certain steps are taken which are considered necessary to encourage the establishment of animals of all kinds, and more particularly of birds, the Rietvlei Sanctuary will no doubt become one of Pretoria's principal attractions in the course of time."


The priceless collections of technical reports of Service specialists, the role of books and allied research tools, and the history, status, and urgent needs of Service libraries all receive careful review by Carl P. Russell in "Libraries in the National Parks" (The Library Journal, Vol. 65, No. 8, April 15, pp. 330-333).

"As might be expected," writes Dr. Russell, "the nation-wide program of establishment, preservation, and interpretation of the country's scenic wonders and historic treasures has resulted in notable contributions to our conservation literature. Thousands of technical reports and popular articles have been written by able workers who have had the inspiration that comes with intimate contact with the natural phenomena and historic evidences among which they study. These original accounts continue to appear daily. In the aggregate, they constitute a wealth of source material which serve now in a practical way, and in the years to come will continue to serve all those who will write the story of America.

"Unfortunately, few of these worthy articles have appeared in print; some have been mimeographed and given a limited distribution) but the great bulk of this significant material remains in manuscript form and is held in the library collections of the Washington office and the regional offices of the National Park Service. Its presence there constitutes obvious justification for the establishment of libraries and library methods in the central offices mentioned. In addition to these reports and articles of Service origin, the central administrative offices of the Service must acquire collections of reference works in history, archeology, ethnology, geology, biology, and the general field of recreation. These materials, like the Service reports, are to be regarded as tools for staff use; they have no direct relationship with a public contact program, yet they do demand the attention of librarians.

After describing the circumstances of the foundation of the excellent Yellowstone library nearly 50 years ago and that of Yosemite at a later date, Dr. Russell cites the more recent preoccupation of the four Regional Directors and the national park Superintendents with the problems arising from the need for providing and organizing the resources of research. He concludes:

"Under existing circumstances, it seems unlikely that a substantial library program involving construction of library buildings in parks and the employment of a chief librarian can be justified. But it is reasonable to expect that more generous allotments for the purchase of books will be granted, and it is a foregone conclusion that every Service executive will adjust his resources and personnel so as to give good attention to library needs. An interest in the science of bibliography will be cultivated, contributions to national park literature will continue to flow from the pens of staff members, and library collections will continue to grow in administration buildings and in park museums. Eventually that day will arrive when a chief librarian can be employed and a coordinated library program established, which will enable national park librarians to keep pace with the rest of the public contact work which now serves some sixteen million people in the greatest of out-of-doors universities."


For free distribution, the Service has projected a series of 16-page booklets pertaining to the historical and archeological parks and monuments east of the Mississippi, and to several of the historical monuments of the West. These booklets, uniform in format, contain accurate narrative and expository accounts of the events which cause the areas to have significance in American history, descriptions of the principal features, and regulations governing visitor use.

Approximately half the space in each booklet is devoted to illustrations, which include photographs, both modern and historical, paintings, drawings, engravings, and lithographs. Many museums, libraries and galleries have cooperated by permitting the use of rare illustrations from their collections. Simple diagrams and maps complement the texts wherever such devices are required, and on the back cover of each booklet there is a park and road map.

Seven booklets, constituting a first group, were prepared in 1939, and of these six have been issued as follows: Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi; Colonial National Historical Park, Virginia; Morristown National Historical Park, New Jersey; Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania, and Ocmulgee and Fort Pulaski National Monuments, Georgia. The last booklet of the group, Fort Marion and Fort Matanzas National Monuments, Florida, will be released soon.

A second group of approximately 16 booklets has been in preparation during the last few months and will pertain to the following areas: Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Maryland; George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Virginia; Shiloh National Military Park, Tennessee; Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York; Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Massachusetts; Hopewell Village National Historic Site, Pennsylvania; Abraham Lincoln National Historical Park, Kentucky; Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Georgia and Tennessee; Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, North Carolina; Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and the Atlanta Campaign, Georgia; Kings Mountain National Military Park, South Carolina; Lee Mansion National Memorial, Virginia, and Fort Laramie National Monument, Wyoming. In this group there also will be a booklet devoted to the mountain culture of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina and Tennessee.---Ralston B. Lattimore.


. . . The national park program is also a broadly educational venture. It is an attempt to preserve, make accessible, and present to the millions of people who annually visit the parks and monuments a living story of the world about them. When people refresh themselves in great natural areas and at historic shrines, natural history and human history are rescued from the laboratory and the archives to be come vital elements in the welding of the Nation. --From What Are National Parks?, Supplement to Planning and Civic Comment, Vol. 4, No. 1.

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Date: 04-Jul-2002