History in the National Park Service
Links to the PastSearchNational Park Service
National Park Service History homepage
History of the National Park Service' features adminstrative histories of many well-known parks, information about former Secretaries of the Interior, Directors of NPS, and Chief Historians in addition to other resources
Online Books features over 300 hard to find and out of print books, park studies, administrative histories, historic resource studies, historic structure reports and National Historic Landmark theme studies.
The NPS thematic framework's eight concepts outline the interdisciplinary concerns for use in evaluating the significance and contexts of historic places and building contextual historic-site interpretive and educational programs. A list of parks categorized by areas of significance is also included here.
National Park Service Maritime History
Research and Education has teaching materials, diversity resources, and addition research information.
Oral History has information on the National Park Service's oral history programs, and oral history in general

image of a fort building at Fort Laramie
Fort Laramie

These Relics of Barbarism: A History of Furniture in Barracks and Guardhouses of the United States Army, 1800-1880

This report offers a history of the furniture used by enlisted men in barracks and guardhouses of the United States Army before 1880. It approaches the subject along three avenues--administrative history, the history of regulations, and the observations of people who were there--and then reconciles the three bodies of information in a summary chapter. More than half the report is appendixes, which are intended to be, as completely as possible, a convenient source book on the subject. The reader is warned in advance that many of the footnotes are substantive; I apologize to those who believe (as I do) that expansions of the text ought to appear at the bottoms of pages, but the economic facts of life forbid that.

There is much in this report that may surprise some readers, especially those of an antiquarian bent. We today are accustomed to an Army that is highly bureaucratized, with a rule or regulation governing every aspect of the soldier's life. Rigid specifications, centralized procurement, and general issues now make every barrack room more or less identical to every other.

But that was not always the case. During the 19th century the Army only haltingly moved from an age of handicrafts without policy to one of polict without handicrafts. As a result, the only thing uniform about the Army was its uniform. Except for clothing and hardware procured and distributed from central sources, most of the Army's material inventory was assembled locally and without guidance from above. It was not until the 1870s that the Army's managers began seriously to address the refinement of specifications and the imposition of uniform standards servicewide. Accordingly, no two army posts--or barrack rooms or even bunks--were the same for the first full century of the Army's existence.

David A. Clary

Bloomington, Indiana

Historian's DirectoryAsk a Question

      / Contact

Home   |   NPS History   |   Online Books   |   Historical Themes
Maritime   |   Research and Education   |   Oral History   |   Site Map

Privacy & Disclaimer

Last Modified: EDT

National Park Service's

      ParkNet Home