They’ve been called our country’s best idea, a space to connect with each other and something bigger than ourselves, a remarkable expression of democracy, preserving for everybody and for all time some of the earth’s most breathtakingly beautiful wilderness. And this year our national parks are being celebrated for a major milestone: The 100th anniversary of the U.S. national park system.
Formally, the National Park Service came into being with legislation signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916. But the roots that nurtured the birth of the NPS reach much deeper into U.S. cultural history, fed by earlier legislation (such as the 1864 act signed by Abraham Lincoln to protect Yosemite Valley) and values and visions shaped by generations of thinkers, writers, scientists, and artists–James Fenimore Cooper, George Catlin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, Ferdinand Hayden, Fredrick Law Olmsted, to name a few.
As with any big idea, the story of America’s national park system has many perspectives, some inspiring, some that conflict with each other, some that have yet to be told. A new summer book display at Mann Library puts a spotlight on this multi-faceted history. As the life sciences library at Cornell, Mann’s collection in the areas of conservation, natural resources, and park management is particularly strong. We invite you come browse and explore a little of the philosophies, social and political forces, struggles, achievements, and hard, slogging work that brought America’s national parks into being. In line with the National Park’s Service celebration theme this year, we hope the browse will inspire our audience to go “find your park.” And maybe we’ll take it even a little further by invoking the words of Ken Burns, who observes in his acclaimed 6-part documentary: Through the national parks of this country, Americans are all “co-owners of some of the most spectacular scenery on earth.” As the filmmaker reminds, it behooves us all to take care of our property and be mindful of what needs to be done to safeguard its availability for our future generations.
Selected titles featured in the display:
- Albright, Horace M, and Robert Cahn. The Birth of the National Park Service: The Founding Years, 1913-33. Salt Lake City: Howe Bros., 1985.
- Albright, Horace M, and Marian Albright Schneck. Creating the National Park Service: The Missing Years. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.
- Albright, Horace M, Marian Albright Schenck, and William C Tweed. The Mather Mountain Party of 1915 and the Founding of the National Park Service. Three Rivers, CA: The Sequoia Natural History Association, 2014.
- Bach, Orville E Tracking the Spirit of Yellowstone: Recollections of 31 Years As a Seasonal Ranger. Morristown, TN: Blue Willow Press, 2005.
- Campbell, Carlos C Birth of a National Park In the Great Smoky Mountains: An Unprecedented Crusade Which Created, As a Gift of the People, the Nation’s Most Popular Park. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993.
- Farabee, Charles R.”Butch” National Park Ranger: An American Icon. Lanham, MD: Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 2003.
- Florentine Films.The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. [United States]: PBS Home Video, 2009.
- Frank, Jerry J Making Rocky Mountain National Park: The Environmental History of an American Treasure. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 2013.
- Frome, Michael Rediscovering National Parks: In the Spirit of John Muir. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2015.
- Harmon, Rick Crater Lake National Park: A History. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2002.
- Heacox, Kim The National Parks: An Illustrated History. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2016.
- Howkins, Adrian, Jared Orsi, and Mark Fiege. National Parks Beyond the Nation: Global Perspectives On “America’s Best Idea”. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 2016.
- Kaufman, Polly Welts National Parks and the Woman’s Voice: A History. Updated ed. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.
- Keiter, Robert B.To Conserve Unimpaired: The Evolution of the National Park Idea. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2013.
- Machlis, Gary E, an d Donald R Field. National Parks and Rural Development: Practice and Policy In the United States. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2000.
- Miles, John C. Wilderness In National Parks: Playground Or Preserve. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009.
- Miller, Rod John Muir: Magnificent Tramp. New York: Forge, 2005.
- Muir, John Our National Parks [S.l.]: [s.n.], 1901
- Muir, John The Yosemite. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986.
- Muir, John, Robert Engberg, and Donald Wesling. To Yosemite and Beyond: Writings From the Years 1863 to 1875. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1999.
- Nabokov, Peter, and Lawrence L Loendorf. Restoring a Presence: American Indians and Yellowstone National Park. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004.
- National Geographic Society (U.S.). National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States. Eighth edition. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2016.
- Olmsted, Frederick Law, Charles E Beveridge, and Carolyn F Hoffman. Parks, Politics, and Patronage 1874-1882. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
- O’Reilly, Angus, and Doran Murphy. National Parks: Biodiversity, Conservation and Tourism. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010.
- Prato, Tony, and Dan Fagre. National Parks and Protected Areas: Approaches for Balancing Social, Economic, and Ecological Values. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Pub., 2005.
- Rockwell, David B Glacier National Park. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995.
- Ross-Bryant, Lynn Pilgrimage to the National Parks: Religion and Nature In the United States. New York: Routledge, 2013.
- Runte, Alfred National Parks: The American Experience. Fourth edition. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2010.
- Runte, Alfred Trains of Discovery: Railroads and the Legacy of Our National Parks. 5th ed. Lanham [Md.]: Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 2011.
- Sellars, Richard West Preserving Nature In the National Parks: A History,with a New Preface and Epilogue. [New ed.] New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2009.
- Smith, Jordan Fisher Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight Over Controlling Nature. First edition. New York: Crown, 2016.
- Stevens, Stan Indigenous Peoples, National Parks, and Protected Areas: A New Paradigm Linking Conservation, Culture, and Rights. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2014.
- Tilden, Freeman, and R. Bruce Craig. Interpreting Our Heritage. 4th ed., expanded and updated Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007.
- Tilden, Freeman The National Parks: What They Mean to You and Me. [1st ed.] New York: Knopf, 1951.
- Williams, Terry Tempest The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks. First edition. New York: Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016.
- Wright, R. Gerald, and John Lemons. National Parks and Protected Areas: Their Role In Environmental Protection. Cambridge: Blackwell Science, 1996.