National Park Service: The First 75 Years
Biographical Vignettes
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Herma Albertson Baggley
1896-1981


                                          by Holly Bundock

Herma Albertson Baggley


Herma Baggley found her field of dreams in the meadows of Yellowstone National Park, not in her native Iowa, when she served the National Park Service as the first permanent female park naturalist in Wyoming. First as a seasonal at Old Faithful in 1929 and 1930 and later in 1931 as a permanent ranger, she set out to practice the art of interpreting the splendors of Yellowstone. She drew upon her experience as an instructor at the University of Idaho and as an inquisitive botanist with a Master's degree from that university in her National Park Service work as guide, lecturer, and museum worker.

Baggley moved from her rich field laboratory in 1933, but continued her infectious enthusiasm for education and educating others by co-authoring in 1936 Plants of Yellowstone National Park, a rare guide still used today.

She was a pioneer in her field of botany and education and enjoyed the companionship of other park pioneers, including husband George, who retired from the National Park Service in 1968, and Dr. Walter McDougal, a park naturalist and her co-author of the plants guide.

When she died in 1981, Herma Baggley left Yellowstone a legacy of information (she first identified the rubber boa snake) and nature trail development. Though seemingly modest at the time, her path established a way for others like her to follow.


From National Park Service: The First 75 Years




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Last Modified: Dec 1 2000 10:00:00 pm PDT
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