America's National Monuments
The Politics of Preservation
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Bibliographic Essay

THE CONSERVATION MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES has been the focus of a number of excellent studies in recent years. The best overall view of conservation during the Progressive era is Samuel P. Hays, Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement 1890-1920 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959). Donald C. Swain, Federal Conservation Policy 1921-1933 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963), covers the subsequent era until the start of the New Deal. On the history of the preservation impulse in the United States, Charles B. Hosmer, Jr., Presence of the Past: A History of the Preservation Movement in the United States Before Williamsburg (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1965) and Preservation Comes of Age: From Williamsburg to the National Trust 1926-1949, 2 vols. (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1981), set the standard by which all other works of preservation history are evaluated.

In recent years, scholarship about the National Park Service, its leaders, and its policies has proliferated. Alfred Runte's National Parks: The American Experience, 2d ed. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987), remains the top book in the field. This synthesis offers the most comprehensive look at the evolution of American attitudes about the national park system. Runte is at his best when he discusses the impact of changing values on the national parks. John Ise, Our National Park Policy: A Critical History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1961), addresses the legislative history of the park system. Ise's book is marred by inconsistency in both the text and footnotes, and his interpretation often seems dated and subjective. Ronald Foresta, America's National Parks and Their Keepers (Washington, DC: Resources for the Future, 1984), is an ambitious book that focuses on Park Service policy during the last two decades. Although valuable as an assessment of the period after 1960, the book does not live up to its title. It is an account of the parks and their policymakers, not of their keepers, and the idiosyncratic perspective of the author often interferes with the presentation of the material. Foresta is not a historian, and his work reflects that fact. Donald C. Swain has published a number of articles that tell important pieces of the story of the park system. His "The National Park Service and the New Deal, 1933-1940," Pacific Historical Review 41 (August 1972), and "The Passage of the National Park Service Act of 1916," Wisconsin Magazine of History 50 (Autumn 1966), help present the broad outlines of the history of the agency.

The Park Service has also produced general studies of its history, of which the best example is Harlan D. Unrau and G. Frank Williss, Administrative History: Expansion of the National Park Service in the 1930s (Denver: Denver Service Center, 1983). This a helpful account of the growth of the system during the Great Depression. John C. Paige, The Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Park Service, 1933-1942: An Administrative History (National Park Service, 1985), looks closely at the impact of the CCC on the system. Both of these present much raw data, establish chronology, and provide the researcher with a valuable frame of reference.

Only one prior general study deals directly with the Antiquities Act. Ronald F. Lee, The Antiquities Act of 1906 (Washington, DC: National Park Service, 1971) is a narrative account of the process that led to the passage of the act. Lee's work yielded many primary sources and served as an important starting point for this book.

In its early years, personality played a major role in the development of the Park Service. Biographies of the leading figures provide another way to monitor the evolution of the park system and the monuments. Donald C. Swain, Wilderness Defender: Horace M. Albright and Conservation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970), is an excellent if laudatory look at the second director of the Park Service. Donald C. Swain's "Harold Ickes, Horace Albright, and the Hundred Days: A Study in Conservation Administration," Pacific Historical Review 34 (November 1965): 455-465, is an outstanding analysis of Albright's maneuvering during the early days of the Roosevelt administration. Horace M. Albright as told to Robert Cahn, The Birth of the National Park Service: The Founding Years, 1913-1933 (Salt Lake City: Howe Brothers, 1985), tells the story of the early years of the Park Service in Albright's own words. This interesting and informative account suffers from the problems that often plague oral histories. A check of documentary sources reveals that Albright's memory is often selective, and in many cases, he engages in inadvertent mythmaking and self-promotion at the expense of his co-workers. Robert Shankland, Steve Mather of the National Parks, 3d ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970), tells the story of the early years of the agency and the dynamic leader who brought the parks to the attention of the American public in an engaging fashion. Shankland makes Mather come alive on the pages; a reader truly feels the vigor of this driven man. Unfortunately, the Shankland book lacks footnotes.

The history of American archaeology and anthropology are other important components of the history of the Antiquities Act and the national monuments. The best overall study of American archaeology is Gordon R. Willey and Jeremy A. Sabloff, A History of American Archaeology 2d ed., (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1980). Curtis Hinsley, Jr., Scientists and Savages: The Smithsonian Institution and the Development of American Anthropology 1846-1910 (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1981), establishes the context for an analysis of the state of American anthropology and archaeology at the turn of the twentieth century. Another recent book that includes historical information about southwestern archaeology is Robert H. Lister and Florence C. Lister, Those Who Came Before (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1983).

Despite his importance as the leading archaeologist of the first two decades of the twentieth century, Edgar L. Hewett remains largely unstudied. Hewett's own writings, particularly Ancient Life in the American Southwest (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1930), give considerable insight into this volatile and influential figure. One study, which is not really a biography despite its title, Beatrice Chauvenet, Hewett and Friends: A Biography of Santa Fe's Vibrant Era (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1983), falls far short of the mark. Derived strictly from Hewett's papers and almost completely devoid of any context or interpretation, it does not do justice to the complexity of Hewett, his time, or the early years of southwestern archaeology. Curtis M. Hinsley, Jr., "Edgar Lee Hewett and the School of American Research in Santa Fe, 1906-1912," in American Archaeology Past and Future, ed. David J. Meltzer, Don D. Fowler, and Jeremy A. Sabloff (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1986), does a much better job, but his article covers only a small story within the larger picture. Hewett had an immense impact on every aspect of southwestern archaeology and nearly as great an impact on tourism; the scholarly record is far from complete.

The conflict between the Park Service and Forest Service has been the subject of an increasing amount of scholarship. Most authors have studied the conflicts from one side or the other, and as a result, scholars have not reached a consensus on the topic. The sources already cited contain the traditional perspective of the Park Service; the best examples of the point of view of the Forest Service are Harold K. Steen, The United States Forest Service: A History (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976), and Sally K. Fairfax and Samuel T. Dana, Forest and Range Policy (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980). David A. Clary, Timber in the Forest Service (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1986) is an important addition to the history of the field of forest history. In recent years, a number of efforts to synthesize the material on this issue have been published. Ben Twight, Organizational Values and Political Power: The Forest Service Versus the Olympic National Park (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1983), is an interesting start in this direction. Rather than follow the traditional stand of the USFS (that the NPS aggressively encroached on its domain), Twight posits that the values of the USFS and the kind of people attracted to a career in forestry gave the Forest Service a point of view that it found difficult to defend when faced with NPS arguments. Although Twight relies heavily on social science theory to make his point and does not really look at the actions of the NPS, his work has opened up new areas. Another study that builds on Twight's work is my own "Shaping the Nature of a Controversy: The Park Service, The Forest Service, and the Cedar Breaks National Monument" Utah Historical Quarterly 55 (Summer 1987). This piece explores the factors that led to the establishment of the Cedar Breaks National Monument from a tract of the Dixie National Forest, countering Twight by adding the Park Service perspective. This is an area with plenty of room for future scholarship.

Primary sources played a major part in shaping this book. Park Service sources such as the annual reports of the directors of the agency and the proceedings of the various national parks conferences held by the agency helped build a framework from which to interpret the story of the national monuments. Record Group 79 of the National Archives, which is the records of the National Park Service, offered volumes of information. This series contains the records of each park unit as well as general records pertaining to the national parks and monuments from the period prior to 1949. In the reading room on the second floor of the National Archives I pieced together the story of the stone dish incident at Sequoia, and I began to sense Frank Pinkley's energy and commitment. For the scholar of any aspect of the history of the national park system, there is no more important source.


America's National Monuments: The Politics of Preservation
©1989, Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
©1994, University Press of Kansas
All rights reserved by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

rothman/bibliography.htm — 04-Feb-2005

Copyright © 1989 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Material from this edition published by the University Press of Kansas by arrangement with the University of Illinois Press and may not be reproduced in any manner without the written consent of the author and the University of Illinois Press.