• A bull elk bugles in Yellowstone National Park


    National Park ID,MT,WY

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Craig Pass Closed for the Season; Mammoth to Norris Closed Sept. 14-30

    The road linking West Thumb and Old Faithful is closed for the season—traffic should detour through West Thumb, Lake, and Canyon. The road from Mammoth to Norris is closed for two weeks—traffic should detour over Dunraven Pass. More »

In the Shadow of the Arch

View of the theses and dissertations collection in the Yellowstone Research Library.

View of the theses and dissertations collection in the Yellowstone Research Library.

Yellowstone Research Library, 2013.

The Plural of Thesis is . . .

Posted by Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

The Yellowstone Research Library collects items that pertain to all aspects of Yellowstone, whether it's birds, bison, stones, or geysers. Types of items in the collection include books as well as articles and audio/visual materials. The books can be broken down into different types including textbooks, regular reading books, rare items, oversized, and theses. There are hundreds of people who, throughout the years, have been fascinated enough by Yellowstone to write their Masters of Arts, Master of Sciences, and even their PhD dissertations on all of the various aspects of the park.

There are nearly 900 different theses spanning the years 1910-2013. The earliest is by Albert Bartlett who wrote "Description of the Surveys of Portions of the South and East Boundaries of the Yellowstone National Park" which the University of Missouri has made freely available online, if you're in the mood for a scintillating read. Albert was a fascinating person. Born in 1885 in Wyoming (where he died in 1980), he earned his master's in mining engineering, formed an Engineering Company in Cheyenne and served as Assistant State Engineer, Deputy State Engineer, and State Geologist in Wyoming.

We are lucky to have theses and dissertations from many other fascinating and illustrious people. Most of these items are donated to us by the authors, but sometimes we have to purchase them from ProQuest or from the schools where the work was done.

If you are curious about whether your thesis is already in the Yellowstone Research Library, check out our library catalog at http://wyld.state.wy.us/yrl. To contact librarians if you are interested in donating your thesis or dissertation, please email e-mail us.

Tags: library, collections, theses

Back cover, Songs of Yellowstone Park Camps, circa 1929, showing Yellowstone Lingo.

Back cover of booklet showing Yellowstone Lingo.

Songs of Yellowstone Park Camps, Yellowstone Park Camps Company, circa 1929, Yellowstone Research Library.

Yellowstone Lingo

Posted by Anne Foster, Archivist

When donors call to offer their old photo albums or letters, they will often explain something along the lines of: "I was a Savage at Canyon in '64". Those of us who work with the history of the Park immediately understand the special meaning of the word: that the donor was once an employee for the Park's main concessioner, the Yellowstone Park Company. The word "savage" was the term given by the employees to themselves and was used as a way of denoting a special experience for several generations of Park workers. Former savages still get together regularly and host a webpage that searches for lost friends and coworkers (http://yellowstonereunion.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/YNPEsavages/ ).

Slang has been around for hundreds of years, starting with the English Criminal Cant in the 1500s and entering the popular imagination through its use in literature and drama. It wasn't until the 1920s, however, that slang began to throw off its association with criminals and the "lower-orders". Thanks to the booming entertainment industry of the 1920s, the youth-oriented flapper culture gained a glamorous image and young people around the country adopted such phrases as "cat's meow" and "the bee's knees" to indicate the best, wonderful, or ultimate. Later generations added "cool", "groovy", and "rad".

Yellowstone's jargon actually pre-dates the Yellowstone Park Company, although its exact origin is unknown. The earliest photograph album in the archives to use the language in captions dates to 1916, but it is clear from the writing that it was already a well accepted and known vocabulary for those in "the know." Beyond the general word "savages" used to describe all seasonal employees, each occupation had its own term: Heavers=Waitresses, Pack-Rats=Porters, Pillow Punchers=Lodge maids, Wranglers=Horseback guides, Gear-Jammers=Bus drivers, Bubble-Kings/Queens=laundry workers, and Pearl Divers=Dish washers. Terms for the visitors included "dudes" for those who took the full package tour by stagecoach or later by bus, while "sagebrushers" described those who camped. There was also a special term, "mollies" for the pack carts used in the camps. And no young person's slang would be complete without a term or two for romance; in this case "rotten-logging" was the word for dating or wooing.

The informal slang was made official in the late 1920s when the booklet "Songs of the Yellowstone Park Camps" was published by the Yellowstone Parks Camps Company and included the lingo on the back cover. It has since been publicized in numerous newspaper and magazine articles and even studied in academic journal articles. Most importantly, it is a way for current and former employees to build and sustain a sense of community even if they come from varied places and backgrounds and even if they spend only one memorable summer in Yellowstone.

Sources: Boyd M. McKeown Photograph Album, 1916-1917, Yellowstone National Park Archives;

"Slang" by Winona Bullard, et al (http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/1914-/language/slang.htm); Songs of Yellowstone Park Camps, by Yellowstone Park Camps Company, 1925-1930. Yellowstone Research Library.

Tags: slang, savages, YPC, archives, library

Herma Alberton Baggley with megaphone used to deliver interpretive walks, circa 1929.

Herma Alberton Baggley with megaphone used to deliver interpretive walks, circa 1929.

Herma Albertson Baggley Papers, Yellowstone National Park Archives

A Wildflower in Yellowstone: Herma Albertson Baggley

Posted by: Derek Mosley, 2010 Intern, and Anne Foster, Archivist

Herma Geneva Albertson was born on October 11, 1896, in Inwood, Iowa.In the fall of 1921, Herma enrolled in the University of Idaho, majoring in botany with a minor in philosophy.With a love of the outdoors, she took as many science courses as her schedule would permit. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Herma went to work at Yellowstone National Park for the summer as a naturalist.To earn her room and board, she also worked as a "pillow puncher" at the Old Faithful Lodge for the Yellowstone Park Company.She helped lay out the first nature trail at Old Faithful and was the only guide on the trail for three years.She grew the crowd of hikers, from three to three hundred. Also during this period, she served as a relief lecturer and lectured in the open air amphitheater on the banks of the Firehole River and in the Old Faithful Lodge.She kept a display of wild flowers in both the Lodge and Old Faithful Inn lobbies and supervised the gathering of wild flowers for table decorations.After the summer season was over, Albertson was offered a permanent position with the NPS and accepted.

For three years Herma lectured and guided at Old Faithful Geyser and then was transferred to Mammoth Hot Springs.Following an injury, she was assigned to work in the Mammoth Museum and Information Office.Since the Park was only open in the summer, Herma taught high school science and was offered a graduate fellowship in the botany department at the University of Idaho. Herma received her master's degree in the spring of 1929 and that fall began teaching as a full-time instructor in the botany department at the University of Idaho.After one year, Herma resigned from the university and applied to be an Assistant Park Naturalist with the National Park Service. Herma G. Albertson became the first woman to be appointed Junior Park Naturalist in May of 1931.During her seven years as a park naturalist, Herma authored and illustrated more than twenty-two articles for NPS publications, including Yellowstone Nature Notes.

Because of her work in the Park, Baggley felt a growing need for a book on the wild flowers of the park.Experienced in writing manuals during her master's program at the University of Idaho, she felt that she could produce a useful aid for the enjoyment of researchers and visitors to the park.Dr. W. B. McDougall, a leading plant ecologist and a temporary ranger naturalist in the park began discussing the possibilities of writing a manual with her.With the encouragement of Dr. Harold C. Bryant, the assistant Director of the National Park Service, they set out to publish The Flowers of Yellowstone National Park which has been edited and revised many times since its first publication.It is still a guide to the flowers within the Park.

The Herma Albertson Baggley Papers are held by the Yellowstone Park Archives and consist of botanical drawings, correspondence, diaries, photographs, publications, research and field notes, subject files, and writings.The diaries and photographs document Baggley's (then Albertson's) time as a "pillow puncher" or concession employee in Yellowstone National Park during the late 1920s.There is also correspondence concerning her hiring as the Park's first female junior ranger naturalist.There is a considerable amount of material, including correspondence, drafts, annotated publications, research notes, subject files, and other writings concerning the publication of the book, Plants of Yellowstone National Park.Additional research notes, botanical drawings, subject files, and writings study other aspects of Yellowstone's vegetation.

Sources: Herma Albertson Baggley Papers, Yellowstone National Park Archives.

Tags: archives, women botanists, women park rangers.

Man, possibly H. E. Stork, sitting on rock outcropping on Mt. Everts, 1929.

Possibly H. E. Stork, sitting on rock outcropping on Mt. Everts, 1929.

H. E. Stork Photograph Album, Yellowstone National Park Archives

From South America to Yellowstone
Posted by Anne Foster, Archivist

From the beginning of the National Park Service, the ranger naturalist corps has been staffed by characters, many with advanced scientific degrees.The seasonal nature of the work made an ideal summer job for teachers and university professors. The naturalists were experienced educators and researchers, which helped the nascent NPS interpretation and resource management programs. Many who spent a season in Yellowstone were eminent figures in their fields. One such expert was H. E. Stork, who worked in Yellowstone in 1929 and 1931.

Harvey Elmer Stork was born March 28, 1890, in Zoar, Indiana.After service in World War I as an aerial photographer, Stork returned to his studies at Cornell University and received his doctorate in botany about 1920. He joined the faculty of Carleton College as a professor of botany in 1920 and remained there for the course of his career, retiring in 1955.He spent his summers on plant collecting expeditions, primarily to South America, and contributed plant specimens to a number of herbaria, including UC-Berkeley, Harvard University, and the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1927, Stork came to Yellowstone National Park to serve as a seasonal ranger naturalist.His reason for taking a hiatus from international expeditions is unknown, although the recent birth of his first child may be a factor.During the course of his time in Yellowstone, Stork gathered numerous plant specimens for the park's herbarium as well as photographically documenting the plant, animal, and human life.He also contributed chapters to editions of the park's Ranger Naturalist Manual.

Stork remained stateside again in 1931 (possibly because a second child was born), as the science coordinator of the Third Scout Naturalist Expedition.A joint program of the National Park Service and the Boy Scouts of America, scouts traveled to several western parks to assist with scientific, interpretive, and maintenance projects.In Yellowstone, the group surveyed the biology of Stevenson Island.By 1932, Stork had resumed his South American research, where he continued to collect specimens at least until 1939. Harvey Elmer Stork died in 1959.

The H. E. Stork collection consists of a photograph album depicting wildflowers, landscapes, and wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, in 1927. The images also depict some of the staff at work and play within the Park.In general, this album is a rare view of the life of a ranger naturalist in the early park service years of Yellowstone.Portions of the album, when matched with the herbarium specimens, may provide additional field data pertaining to the collecting process.

Source: H. E. Stork Photograph Album, Yellowstone National Park Archives; Stork Photo Collection, Carleton College Archives; U. S. Census Records, U. S. National Archives (via Ancestry.com).

Tags: archives, collections, botanists, ranger naturalists

snowplow spraying snow with snow banks towering above, circa 1930.

Snogo rotary snowplow clearing Dunraven Pass, May 24, 1933.

Superintendents Monthly Narrative Report, May 1933,  Yellowstone Research Library.

Research Tips: Yellowstone's History at Your Fingertips

Posted by Jackie Jerla, Librarian

The Superintendents Monthly Narrative Reports (SMNR) are a highly regarded source of information for Yellowstone's staff and researchers.They are an early report of the fledgling National Park Service which itself was authorized only in 1916. The first SMNR in the research library is dated 1917 and was submitted by Charles Lindsley, acting superintendent from 1916-1919.

Consider these words of Horace Albright (Superintendent of Yellowstone from 1919-1929) when he arrived on the scene:"When I arrived, the permanent staff consisted of Lindsley, twenty-five rangers, and a few engineers and maintenance people. But counting the temporary personnel hired for the summer, there were actually 258 employees in the park, including one blacksmith, a few mechanics, a buffalo keeper and a buffalo herder, and summer rangers. As superintendent, I was of course responsible for all of them, plus the concessioners and their numerous employees, and I also had to see that the transportation system and primitive telephone line were properly run and maintained…Growing numbers of tourists were coming to Yellowstone by automobile. Although we had three hundred miles of roads, most were narrow, one-way roads built for stages, and every one was in urgent need of improvement. The campgrounds lacked running water and were extremely primitive, and the concessioners' camps had inadequate sanitation facilities. I plunged into the work at hand, meeting the staff and coping with the dozens of situations that presented themselves at the height of the park's busy season." This is from Horace M. Albright's book The Birth of the National Park Service : the Founding Years, 1913-1933as he told it to Robert Cahn. (A very interesting read located in the research library.)

The SMNR detail information on at least 15 topics in the park, every month, narrated by the person most familiar with the park's activities, Yellowstone's superintendents. Some of the topics covered are employees, animals-domestic, forest fires, fishing, improvements, monies transmitted, natural phenomena, visitors, wild animals, protection and care of game, and arrests and violations of the law.

The research library has bound volumes of the SMNR from 1917-1967. Why do the reports stop here? The last volume, 1967, posted this news:

"Most unfortunate for the historian and researcher, the monthly reports were phased out 1967.

Informational memorandum to all field offices from the DOI director June 12, 1967 - subject : discontinuance of superintendent's monthly narrative report.

The Superintendent's Monthly Narrative Report is one of the oldest reports still existing in the Service. It originated under the first Director and continues today as Report NPS (AM-4). There was a time when it was the report and as such, recorded the significant accomplishments, milestones, problems, and events that from month to month presented the story of the park.

The Service has expanded and grown in many ways since the 1st SMNR. Authority and responsibilities have been widely decentralized…..now a complex organization. "

We are happy to announce the digitization of the Superintendent Monthly Narrative Reports. This is being made possible through the Open Parks Grid project, a collaboration of Clemson University and the National Park Service. Check it out at http://archive.org/details/clemson

Sources: The Birth of the National Park Service : the founding years 1913-1933 Horace M. Albright told to Robert Cahn, The Yellowstone Story, Vol. 2 by Aubrey Haines.

Tags: library, reports, Superintendents

Advertising letter from General Motor Company featuring a diagonal cut half page cover letter, 1930.

Advertising letter from Universal Motor Company featuring a diagonal cover letter, 1930.

Yellowstone National Park Archives, Facilities & Maintenance.

Half Time in the Archives

Posted by Jill Anderson, Archives Intern

Archival collections house a wide variety of curious documents.Often, it is the contents that are odd.Sometimes, it is the physical document itself that is unusual.Early advertisements, in particular, tried a variety of gimmicks to entice customers.One such document was recently discovered during cataloging of our facility and maintenance records:

Founded in 1913, the Universal Motor Company of Oshkosh, WI, was an established manufacturer of engines, farm and marine equipment, and power generation systems. It was headed by entrepreneur J. D. Termaat and inventor-turned-vice-president H. E. Fahrney, who claimed their four-kilowatt generating set was "noted for its simplicity, reliability, and smoothness of operation" and recommended it for, among the usual purposes, wireless telegraphy and "moving picture machines." Having survived several mergers, the company prided itself on having supplied generators for the war effort during the First World War.

In 1930, Universal salesman A. L. Pfund sent this wedge-shaped advertising letter to Assistant Superintendent Merrill F. Daum with a clever marketing twist. After extolling seemingly universal truths about power-generating systems with which it would be difficult to argue, the cover letter - cut in half from the top right to the bottom left corner - closes, "And now that we have taken but a half letter of your time - use the balance to read what one of our users has to say." The endorser, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Oklahoma, is full of praise for the hardy and efficient four-kilowatt power plant, which survived all the stress and testing the laboratory could give. It is unclear if the unique advertisement had its desired effect on Assistant Superintendent Daum, but it certainly made its point.

How would you replicate that in the modern, digital world?

Sources: EMF Electrical Year Book, Volume I. (1921); Park Facilities & Maintenance Records, Yellowstone Park Archives.

Tags: archives, letters, advertising

Portrait of Cuthbert, the National Park Pup, 1942.

Portrait of Cuthbert, the National Park Pup, 1942.

Yellowstone Park Archives, Box A-197.

Cuthbert, the National Park Pup

Posted by Jill Anderson, Archives Intern

By February 1942, the United States had entered a war that had engulfed the rest of the world for almost three years. Rationing of resources had just begun. In the Pacific, the American military faced defeat in the Philippines, and German U-boats targeted American merchant shipping across the Atlantic. Among the many federal responses to the uncertainty on the home front was a radio program created by the National Park Service, the prospectus for which is in the holdings of the Heritage and Research Center's archives. "Cuthbert, the National Park Pup" was written by Dorothea J. Lewis, the author of other successful National Parks-focused radio programs, and was offered to local radio stations and schools as an opportunity for America's youth to get involved with radio and to learn about their National Parks, "so that the war-emergency may not color their childhood and occupy their thoughts with fear," according to the program's proposal.

The series featured Cuthbert, an adorable shaggy dog, who, as a puppy in a pet store window, is mocked by passersby, who declare Cuthey to look "more like a wild animal than a dog." So Cuthbert runs away, on a quest to find a wild place where he belongs, and he makes the rounds of the National Park system in the process - making friends with a variety of animals and dodging park rangers along the way, since dogs were prohibited from Park lands. In fact, Cuthbert's story was a bone of contention among park employees, who wondered if the radio program's admonitions against dogs in the National Parks were enough to educate the public about the ban.

In Yellowstone, Cuthbert makes the acquaintance of Aloysius the black bear cub, and together they look for Aloysius's hibernating mother. At the end of the sheepdog's adventures (told over fifteen 15-minute programs), he gives up life on the lam, turning himself in to the ranger service in order to save his friend, a deer, from poachers. The kindly ranger takes Cuthey in, and our hero has finally found "a proper doggie home." Filled with facts about the Parks and their wildlife, "Cuthbert, the National Park Pup" was designed to educate as well as delight. Organizers envisioned young students enrolled in "Cuthbert Clubs" and held the adorable pup as an ideal role model. "A friendly, brave, modest little fellow, something of a teacher of the fitness of things," the proposal declared, "Cuthbert is a good hero for children" - at a time in which the title was not thrown about lightly.

Advertised throughout 1942 in educational journals, the radio program was designed to be read and produced by local children, "masters of make-believe" who would be cast by teachers, school officials, and/or local radio personnel. Each local radio station could choose to broadcast the whole series or just the episode relevant to their region, with educators incorporating the project into local school curriculum and the series itself providing information about the nation's Parks to a populace focused on wartime. Radio stations throughout Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho were approached about airing the series, particularly the episode about Yellowstone. Though it's unclear from our holdings whether the series was definitively aired, judging by the popularity of other NPS-focused programs (and those by Dorothea Lewis particularly), it is likely that the series did see airtime. The question of whether Cuthbert went on to become "a Mickey Mouse of the airways," however, remains unanswered.

Source: "Cuthbert, the National Park Pup," Radio Addresses, Publicity 1937-1953.

Tags: dogs, National Park Service, radio shows, advertising

New book acquisitions for the Yellowstone Research Library.

New books acquired for the Yellowstone Research Library

Yet More New Books for the New Year

Posted by Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

In the last blog post from the library, we talked about some of our new books. For the most part, the books are things that our patrons have requested. If we don't already have a book in our collection and somebody asks for it, we add it to our wish list. Some examples of requested books are described below.

Our Mark on this Land by Ren and Helen Davis

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) is a popular subject here at Yellowstone. There were twenty-eight camps located in Yellowstone and the boys and men from those camps helped to do a lot of projects. This book is an overall look at the entire project, nationwide but it does include a lot of mentions of Yellowstone National park and the work done here.

Conducting Meaningful Interpretation by Carolyn Widner Ward and Alan Wilkinson

Sometimes staff request books that don't talk specifically about Yellowstone but may be important for learning in their jobs. This is just one example. There are dozens of new interpretation rangers that start in Yellowstone each summer. Not all of them have done interpretation before. This is a great book for both them to find theories and techniques behind leading short tours or talks for all levels and ages. It even has some helpful hints for people who have been doing this job for a long time.

Wild Furbearer Management and Conservation in North America [Many authors]

Though a bit dated, this book still proves invaluable to people doing research on any of the mammals in Yellowstone. It is a book well used by animal managers. Topics that it covers include management and conservation, natural and human-induced effects on furbearers as well as in-depth discussions on many species.

On Ancient Wings by Michael Forsberg

The sandhill crane is just one of the many bird species that makes Yellowstone Park its home at least part of the year. This book looks at all of the many habitats of the crane as well as its history. The crane has had to adapt to many weather conditions over hundreds of years and continues to do so, even today.

Ranger Confidential by Andrea Lankford

The general public is often fascinated on behind-the-scenes stories and this book provides that for working as a ranger in the National Park Service. This book was requested because Andrea worked here in Yellowstone (even though most of her time was spent in Yosemite and the Grand Canyon). Most of the stories are about her own experiences but she includes some from other people as well.

Tags: library, books, acquisitions

New books in the Yellowstone Research Library

New books in the Yellowstone Research Library's collection.

New Books for the New Year

Posted by Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

The Yellowstone Research Library is a special library which means that we are not like a public library which concentrates on all subjects or an academic library that collects items about the topics that their school teaches. Our particular special library focuses on one topic which means that we collect anything and everything that has to do with Yellowstone National Park. That includes new books that have come out about or set in the park. This year, the Yellowstone Association helped us purchase over 50 new books including some of the ones below.

Wranglin' Notes: a chronicle of Eatons' Ranch by Tom Ringley

While the Eaton's ranch isn't technically in Yellowstone National Park, the Eaton family has a history that is tightly entwined in this place. The Eatons were one of the first families to start dude ranching and were instrumental in making it a popular vacation for "city-folks."Tom Ringley has tracked back through the family's history creating a wonderful story including tidbits and stories from throughout the family tree.

Hiking Yellowstone National Park by Bill Schneider

Yellowstone & Grand Teton by Bradley Mayhew and Carolyn McCarthy

Yellowstone Trails by Mark Marschall

Your guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks by John Hergenrather

Frommer's Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

We carry a wide selection of hiking books. These are useful for people just wanting to check out a particular trail but are also great for employees on their days off. Hiking books also show the historical progression of which trails are in use during which time period. The advice for hikers in some of the older books is really fun to read.

Hamilton's Guide

In addition to hiking books, many informational books about the parks were written. It was a great way to get general information about Yellowstone for people showing up in the park. A recent blog post discussed the Hayne's guidebooks. When that company was sold, the Hamilton Stores, another concessioner in the park, picked up the slack. This book fills a gap we had in that collection. As of this posting, we've identified our collection as missing the 1977, 1994, 1995, and 1999 versions.

Trapped by April Christofferson

Yellowstone has proven to be a lodestone for authors almost since it was open. Steinbeck traveled through in Rocinante, the Earl of Dunraven waxed rhapsodic about the wonders of Yellowstone, Emerson Hough wrote enough Forest and Stream articles about the park to almost create a small novella. Yellowstone not only captures the imagination of authors, it can spark it as well.We have a large and swiftly growing collection of fiction books set in Yellowstone. Christofferson's sixth book, the third to be set in the park, is going to be added to that section.

This book continues the adventures of Yellowstone Magistrate Judge Annie Peacock and backcountry ranger Will McCarroll who were introduced in Alpha Female.

The Yellowstone Kidnapping that Wasn't by Steven Brezenoff

Fiction books set in Yellowstone aren't limited to the adult level of reading. We also have a small, but growing, Juvenile section which includes both young adult and children's books set in and around Yellowstone.

Tags: library, books, acquisitions

Punch Bowl Geyser, circa 1900.

Punch Bowl Geyser, circa 1900.

Yellowstone Park Museum Collection YELL 194218

The Promise and Peril of Archival Research

Posted by Anne Foster, Archivist

It all started with a Google search.Yes, even information professionals start with Google when trying to track down historical information (but we rarely stop there). I was searching for something completely unrelated, which is usually the frustrating part of online research-you get so many non-relevant results. But in this case, I found something unexpected and was intrigued.

A page in Google Books (a useful resource for anyone doing historical research) showed that the Bar and Billiard Room of the Palmer House of Chicago fame was offering a drink called "Yellowstone Punch," for 25 cents, in 1883. Now, I wasn't surprised that there was a drink inspired by Yellowstone. Between the unusual colors of the thermal features, the contrasts of hot and cold, and the overall fascination with the place there have been a lot of artists, craftsmen, and manufacturers who have taken advantage of the Yellowstone cachet. Our library houses an extensive collection of music inspired by or evoking Yellowstone. Our name has also graced such diverse items as a sleeping bag, Kentucky bourbon, and several warships.

So, it wasn't that a drink had been named for us so much as the date that was a surprise.In the 1920s, there had been a fad for mixing up unusual drinks. It was also the era that Yellowstone's visitation began to boom with the advent of automobile travel.1883 is much earlier, however, when few had actually visited the Park. I searched for other, later, cocktails with a Yellowstone inspiration and found none. Now I was determined.What inspired this early nod to Yellowstone and what, exactly, was in Yellowstone Punch?

I did some additional searching for recipe books and the history of the Palmer House in Worldcat, the giant, worldwide library catalog, and found that the Palmer House had published a couple of recipe books in the 20th century. These were held in only a few libraries, but I emailed one, the Culinary History Collection at Virginia Tech, and asked them to if the drink recipe had been reprinted.Their archivist was kind enough search-and also check through other cocktail and drink recipe books-but had no luck.

With one dead end, I turned to the next most likely place for the recipe-the records of the creator, the Palmer House.This is a key concept for archival research-determining who is most likely to have created a document and then following the administrative chain to where the document now resides.This is called provenance, and it the reason why not all materials related to a place are necessarily housed in that place (for example, many early records pertaining to Yellowstone are housed in the National Archives in Washington, D. C., since the sponsor of early expeditions was the Department of the Interior and its headquarters is there). Some additional online searching showed that the Palmer House is now owned by Hilton and many of their historic records are part of the Hospitality Industry Archives at the University of Houston. I emailed the archivist, who again searched not only the Hilton corporate records, but also their collection of cocktail and drink recipe books. Unfortunately, to no avail.He also forwarded my request to his colleague, the historian for the Palmer House in Chicago. The historian is still digging, but so far, no luck.

That's the way it goes, sometimes, with archival research. So many factors must align for a record to exist more than 100 years later.Did the bartender even write down the recipe? Did it survive the various building fires, floods, moves and other events that might have destroyed it? Was it recognized as historical and saved, or was it eventually considered out of date, unfashionable or not recognized as a recipe at all and tossed? If it was saved, where might it be filed (be honest, is your filing system-if you even have one-understandable to anyone other than you)? And that doesn't begin to address the challenges the archivist might face if it makes it to an archives.Sorting and cataloging is time intensive and there are always more documents than there are hours in the day. So, the recipe may yet turn up-and there are now several of us on the hunt. But, in the interim, there's an opportunity out there for aspiring chefs and mixers to come up with their own interpretation for Yellowstone Punch. If you do, though, make sure your write it down and store the recipe in a safe place!

Tags: archives, research, cocktails, Palmer House, punch, recipes

Christmas decorations outside of the Administration Building in Mammoth, ca. 1960?, Museum photograph collection #YELL 19967

Though a bit later than the 1899 celebration described, this photo shows that ensuring local children had a merry Christmas continued for the next 100 years.  Tree and decorations outside of the Administration Building in Mammoth, ca. 1960?

Yellowstone Park Museum Collection YELL 19967

A Yellowstone Christmas

Posted by Anne Foster, Archivist

George L. Henderson, originally hired as an assistant superintendent in 1882, soon became one of the first Park interpreters and promoters.Well educated and with a penchant for writing poetry and short narratives for the region's newspapers, Henderson published the following description of Christmas at Fort Yellowstone, 1899, in the Livingston Post.While quite Victorian in its tone and language (Henderson also named many of the geysers and thermal features after figures in literature and classical mythology), it is also a charming story of making merry in an isolated and unusual setting.

It also a bit of a soldier's homecoming story-Colonel Wilber Elliot Wilder, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner for his service in the Indian Wars, served only three months as acting superintendent of Yellowstone (all military superintendents were designated "acting").He then fought in the Philippines Islands during the Spanish-American War.While not a true homecoming, a telegram that he was safe would have been the next best Christmas present a wife could have received.

"The ladies of Fort Yellowstone united in making Christmas a joyful occasion for the Sunday School children.The Christmas tree was brilliantly illuminated and bore an abundance of that fruit which children most desire.Captain Brown made one of the jolliest Saints that ever distributed dolls to the outstretched arms of baby-mothers, so eager to kiss and embrace them.The boys were in raptures over their horns, tin horses, soldiers and locomotives.All were sweetened up to the highest degree ever indicated by any saccarimeters [sic], boys and girls being most accurate ones.When the tree was cleared of its fruit the jolly Saint informed his patrons that there were millions more expecting to see him that night and that he must bid them farewell."Have you far to go?" enquired a sweet little girl in a voice that indicated both affection and pity for the good, hard-working Saint.This Mother Eve curiosity and sympathy brought the house down with laughter and applause, alike from citizen and soldier.The hoary-headed Saint vanished, surrounded by a halo of glory in the minds of the children, and that he was no mere illusion was evident from the fact that arms and pockets were full of dolls, candies and many other good things.Mrs. W. E. Wilder, although suffering from a sprained ankle, was present and furnished the music to which the school children marched and sang in joyful concert.Mrs. Wilder is very much loved and respected by the children.That night she looked radiant, having had a telegram from Col. Wilder that he was alive and well at Manila."

Sources: "Thoughts of Old," Livingston Post, Jan. 11, 1900.Henderson Family Papers (MSC 2), Yellowstone Park Archives; Whittlesey, Lee H.Storytelling in Yellowstone: Horse and Buggy Tour Guides (2007); Haines, Aubrey L.The Yellowstone Story (1977).

Tags: archives, Christmas, Fort Yellowstone

“Beau and young Morgan stallion at Lamar Ranger Station, February 9, 1941.”   Based on the date, the horse is either Wakefield Duke or Black Baron.  Ernest R. Augustin, Jr., photographs, #YELL 185380.3177, Yellowstone National Park Archives

“Beau and young Morgan stallion at Lamar Ranger Station, February 9, 1941.”  Based on the date, the horse is either Wakefield Duke or Black Baron.

Ernest R. Augustin, Jr., Photographs, #YELL 185380.3177, Yellowstone National Park Archives

Horse Sense

Posted by Francis Shawn Bawden, Archives Technician

Although one old proverb asserts that, "a good horse comes in any color," riders often favor one particular breed.The same is true - to a certain degree - in the National Park Service, which has a long tradition of mounting their rangers on Morgan horses.Morgans were one of the first breeds developed in the United States, and are known for their versatility, endurance, and intelligence.One example of this connection is the Morgan Horse Farm at Point Reyes National Seashore. Established in 1968, the farm's original goals included breeding and training Morgans, which were kept for patrol duty at Point Reyes as well being sent off for use at other national parks.

Here in Yellowstone National Park, the use of Morgans is much older, although little is known about their early years. Recently, several researchers have contacted us, asking for information about the Morgan horses used and raised in Yellowstone. One investigator is a family member of Jack Richard, whose collection at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center includes many images of rangers riding Morgans, such as this example from 1960 of Ranger Bob Richard on Big Red.

A year ago we were unable to provide much information about Yellowstone's Morgans, but some recent discoveries in the park's archives have allowed us to piece together some of the story.The first breakthrough was the discovery of a 1948 report titled "Analysis of Horse Breeding Program at Lamar Unit."This document states that the breeding program at Yellowstone began in the spring of 1941, and gives us the names of the three Morgan stallions in the park: Wakefield Duke, Black Baron, and Gipsey Chief.A little more detective work revealed that all three of these horses had the same sire - Gipsey King.

Like all famous horses, Gipsey King has an impressive pedigree, but perhaps not one you'd expect.He was donated to the National Park Service in May 1937 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr..Gipsey King was stabled and bred at George Washington Birthplace National Monument, and the park's superintendent is said to have jumped at the opportunity to produce mounts for other parks within the National Park Service. It would seem that his plan met with some success since three of Gipsey King's colts were in Yellowstone only a few years later.

Yet another discovery was made earlier this month when a photograph of one the Morgan stallions was found in a collection of photographs by Ernest R. Augustin, Jr. Based on the date, this 1941 photo must be of Wakefield Duke or Black Baron.

Despite these famous connections, we don't know what happened to Duke, Baron, Chief, or the other Morgan horses of Yellowstone: much of their story is yet to be told.There's an old cowboy saying that states, "A dog may be man's best friend, but the history of the West was written by the horse."If that's true, then perhaps the contributions of Morgan horses to Yellowstone and other national parks will not be forgotten.

Sources: Bruggeman, Seth C.George Washington Birthplace National Monument: Administrative History, 1930-2000 (2006); Ernest R. Augustin, Jr., photographs (MSC 17), Yellowstone Park Archives; Sadin, Paul.Managing a Land in Motion: An Administrative History of Point Reyes National Seashore (October 2007); Smith, Larry."Harold D. Smith: ASPA Founder and Trusted Advisor to FDR."ASPA Times.(26.8).

Tags: archives, Morgan horses, George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore, Lamar Buffalo Ranch.

Before, during, and after the fire at Yellowstone's Canyon Hotel, August 8, 1960.

Before, during, and after the fire at Yellowstone's Canyon Hotel, August 8, 1960.

Photos by John Burger; John Frederick Burger photographs, Yellowstone Park Archives #YELL 133527 and #YELL 199963.

The Loss of the Canyon Hotel

Posted by Jill Anderson, 2012 Archives Intern

"The Great Lady was outraged," wrote the editorial board of the Wyoming State Tribune on August 10, 1960. "She could not, she would not, accept the indignity of laborious, prolonged, and piecemeal destruction.She chose sudden death."

The Canyon Hotel, once a sprawling Yellowstone resort with a perimeter measuring a full mile, was destroyed in an early-morning fire after years of decline, debate, and drawn-out demolition. Since the hotel provided a variety of accommodations, politicians from every level of government and the well-heeled from every walk of life had stayed there, but so had Yellowstone's guests from other social and economic strata. Its architect, already illustrious for his 1904 design of the Old Faithful Inn, Robert Reamer, was lauded for his impressive design - long, horizontal lines that hugged the hills above the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone like a natural outcropping and the unmatched elegance in its interiors.

The lobby and the adjoining lounge, with views of the unparalleled beauty of Yellowstone, reflected the natural environment of the park that surrounded it, yet was appointed in the most stylish of contemporary furnishings. Though the original Canyon Hotel was initially called "an unsightly affair," it came into its own as a superb accommodation for Yellowstone's wealthier guests after Reamer's immense 1910 addition. The new design was called "completely in harmony with the surroundings and withal is distinctly American" by the Livingston Enterprise.

Yet all the while, the ground was shifting underneath the Canyon Hotel - or, more accurately, the foundation was coming apart. For nearly 50 years, the Canyon's porte-cochere had welcomed stage coaches and then automobiles filled with guests, but finally, in 1958, the structure was condemned for an unsound foundation. It was decided that attempting rehab of the structure would be too costly, so demolition and salvage rights of the building were sold to the Carlos Construction Company of Cody, WY. "It is interesting to note the publicity that we are receiving out of the sale of Canyon Hotel for $25.00," wrote Thomas J. Hallin, Vice President of the legal firm that handled the contract, noting the numerous news stories of the sale of the grand hotel and the information that the demolition company's owner had been asked to appear on "I've Got A Secret." It does not appear that Bill Henry ever did get his day on the popular game show, but what is apparent is that the demolition of the hotel dragged out seemingly interminably, and park officials wondered if it would be completed within the time allotted by the contract.

On the night of August 8, 1960, all of the haranguing between park officials and the Carlos Construction Company became moot as fire swept one of the park's most admired hotels. John Burger, at that time an employee of the Yellowstone Park Company and later a renowned entomologist with a deep love for Yellowstone, happened to have taken photographs of the Canyon Hotel just before the fire, and was on scene with his camera during and after the conflagration. Along with his thousands of images taken in the course of his graduate work and his career studying vegetation change, these slides from Burger's first, influential summers at Yellowstone are in the holdings of the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center. They are an indelible reminder of the tragic, abrupt end to an architectural beauty that dominated the memories of many who traveled to the park during the first half of the twentieth century. Among the many who had loved the Canyon Hotel, equally besotted was the editorial staff of the Wyoming State Tribune, who, mournfully, declared the demise of the hotel as that of a "fabulous hostess" who "died of a broken heart."

Sources: Hert, Tamsen Emerson. "Luxury in the Wilderness: Yellowstone's Grand Canyon Hotel, 1911-1960." Yellowstone Science 13.3 (2005): 21-36; John Frederick Burger photographs (MSC 79), Yellowstone Park Archives; Subject Files, C - Canyon Hotel Demolition, 1959-1962, Yellowstone Park Company records (MSC 019), Yellowstone Park Archives.

Tags: archives, Canyon Hotel, structure fires, photographers

Haynes Guides resized

A sample of the Haynes Guides in the Research Library's collection.

Trip Planning the Haynes Way

Posted by Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

One of our favorite library collections is the Haynes Guidebook collection, put out by the famous Yellowstone photographers. Their guidebooks were printed almost every year from 1890-1966. The text for the first ten years was actually provided by the Haynes' accountant, A. B. Guptill with Frank J. Haynes providing the pictures. Frank then took over textual duties (with some help from the Superintendent) until he passed the Haynes shops to his son.

There were variations (e.g. the 1893 book is the 1892 version with a stamp on the front cover) of the guidebooks available during some of the non-printing years. The Yellowstone Research Library is lucky to have all of the printed years as well as all of the identified variants. We have second copies of almost all of the books and those copies can be viewed in the Reading Room. One of the coolest is from the year the Canyon hotel opened when they included a little copper plate in the books. That particular edition is kept in our Rare Book Room.

The title changed only three times over the course of the run from the original Practical Guide to Yellowstone National Park in 1890 to All About Yellowstone Park (1892, 1893) to Haynes Guide Handbook of Yellowstone Park. The covers changed more often, with some years having both soft covers and leather-bound covers, but the most well-known is probably the cover the company started using in the late teens, an erupting geyser against a blue sky with "Haynes Guide" printed in red capital letters across the top of the geyser

Though these were not the first guidebooks produced about Yellowstone (there were two books published in 1873), this set was the longest running. This means that our researchers can reap a goldmine of information including (but not limited to) road changes, rules and regulations, prices for hotels and coach rides, and opening/closing dates for the season. They can track these changes through time. These books are also great for people whose parents or grandparents (or even great-grandparents) came through the park to find out what the original experience might have been like.

Sources: Many thanks to Leslie Quinn for providing the librarians with much of the background information on the Haynes Guides.

Tags: library, Haynes Photos, Frank Jay Haynes, guidebooks, tourism

Soldiers relaxing with cards and drinks in the post exchange, Fort Yellowstone, Wyoming, circa 1900. Yellowstone Park Museum Collection, YELL 36921

Soldiers relaxing with cards and drinks in the post exchange, Fort Yellowstone, Wyoming, circa 1900.

Yellowstone Park Museum Collection, YELL 36921

A Yellowstone Thanksgiving

Posted by Anne Foster, Archivist

Archival materials provide insight into the past.But as much as they reveal details about long forgotten events and practices, they also demonstrate that much has remained the same.

Several letters written in 1898, by a soldier stationed at Fort Yellowstone to his niece in California illustrate this dual function. Private Edwin Kelsey, who later became the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, gives us a rare look at the daily life and work of the enlisted man at Fort Yellowstone-details lacking in the official records.At the same time, his descriptions of the beauty of Yellowstone's landscape and his pleasure in the quiet solitude of wilderness could have been written by many modern backcountry visitors.And Thanksgiving, 100 years ago, still meant a menu of turkey, cranberry sauce, and pie!

Riverside Station, Dec. 3 [1898]

My Dear "G"-

. . . Left here for the Post [Fort Yellowstone] the Sunday before Thanksgiving.It was a beautiful day when we started.It had snowed hard the day and night before and everything was covered with several inches of the "beautiful".I think that I've never seen anything look as beautiful as did the trees, most which are "Jack Pines", the same as that one in the yard at home.With their covering of snow they assumed all manner of grotesque shapes, some of them so lifelike that it required no very severe strain of the imagination to believe that they were really alive and that one was in Heaven and that they were angels, or in Hell and that they were imps.

I made 26 miles the first day, staying all night at Norris Station.The next morning it was 22 below zero, but I pulled out for the Post, which I reached about two PM after a cold hard ride of 20 miles.It is not much sport riding when the snow is so deep that your horse has to walk all the time.

Stayed at the Post for Thanksgiving dinner and it was a beaut.The cook more than threw himself. Had turkey, roast pork, sweet spuds, cranberry sauce, oyster stew, chocolate, three kinds of cake, pie, pickles, nuts and apples-how's that for soldiers?

I left soon after dinner and when I reached Norris-a little after 8 that night found no one there so was obliged to rustle around and make a fire and get my own supper.I was thinking, as I was riding along in the moonlight-there was a swell moon-how differently you were putting in the day.Am very anxious to learn the result of the game.

And so you don't see how I can find any enjoyment in such a place as this.Well I do.Of course I would like muchly to see you all and I think of Santa Cruz and the pleasant times I used to have there often.And at night when the "orchestra" plays some familiar air, it makes me wish that I could hear Flora sing.But despite your doubts to the contrary, there is something about this life in the wilderness that fascinates me. . . .

Love to all the family and Mable, and regards to friends.Edwin

Sources: Kelsey, Edwin.[Letters written from Fort Yellowstone], Library Vertical File Collection

Tags: archives, letters, Thanksgiving, wilderness, Fort Yellowstone, soldiers

(left) Painting, Skiing Bear, by Frank Holub, 1975 
(right) brochure, by TW Services, 1975-1976

(left) Painting, Skiing Bear, by Frank Holub, 1975
(right) brochure, by TW Services, 1975-1976

Research Tip: Which Collection?

Posted by Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

There is a wealth of information at the Heritage and Research Center. Sometimes researchers don't know it, but items pertinent to their topics can be found in the library, the archives, and in the museum. For instance, if you were going to be researching the Yellowstone Park Company, you might find an original painting in the museum collection, the brochure that came from the painting in the library, and cost information for having the brochures printed in the archives. The pictures to the left are from a 1975/76 winter brochure put out by the company.

While the library and archives can accommodate most walk-in researchers, it is always good to plan ahead. The museum is by appointment only and it can sometimes be weeks before even email requests can be fulfilled. It is always good to pad your timetable. If your research doesn't take as long as expected, that only means you have more time in the park.

To start researching library items (and some archival items), check out the catalog at http://wyld.state.wy.us/yrl/

The archives has many finding aids that can be accessed from their main page at http://www.nps.gov/yell/historyculture/archives.htm

To find out if items you are interested in researching are available in the museum collection, contact e-mail us

Tags: library, archives, museum, brochures, TW Services, Yellowstone Park Company, paintings, bears

Old Faithful erupts, circa 1905.  (Yellowstone National Park Museum Collection, YELL 193617)

Old Faithful erupts, circa 1905. 

Yellowstone National Park Museum Collection, YELL 193617

Research Tip: Tell me about the history of Yellowstone

Posted by: Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

This is not an unusual request here at the Research Library. However, it is a surprisingly difficult one to answer. Yellowstone has been a national park for over a hundred years and has been in use for over 11,000 years and, either way you look at the question, that's a lot of ground to cover. Most people are really looking for a specific topic like the history of visitors to the park or the history of the automobile. But sometimes, we aren't able to get that information from our patron (if they write us an email or a letter), so we have to paint a broad picture and hope that some of the information that we give them will be useful. We can then wait to see if they give us more information. This particular patron also wanted some pictures of the Old Faithful Geyser. Here are portions of my reply:

Your inquiry was forwarded to us here at the Yellowstone Research Library. Thank you for your interest in the history of Yellowstone National Park. The park was established in 1872 when it was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. There had been people in the area before. Native Americans have lived in the region for at least 11,000 years but the first official exploration was not until 1869. The US Army was called in to help enforce the law in 1886 and stayed until 1918. The National Park Service was created in 1916 and overlapped the Army for two years. The history since then has been very rich and includes such notable events as the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake, the 1988 Fires, and the 1995 reintroduction of the Yellowstone wolves.

There are some really great books that talk about the history of Yellowstone and you should be able to get them through your local library. They include Aubrey Haines' "Yellowstone Story" and Richard Bartlett's "Yellowstone : A Wilderness Besieged." For books with some great pictures of the park, including geysers, check out "Geysers: When Earth Roars" by Roy A. Gallant, "Eye of the Grizzly" by Mike Graf, and "Discovering Yellowstone" by George B. Robinson.

There are also some online sources where you can do research. I'd start with the park's website is http://www.nps.gov. More information can also be found at http://greateryellowstonescience.org. There is an independent group of researchers that tracks geysers in the park and post their pictures and findings at http://www.geyserstudy.org.

Tags: Reference, history, resources

books to bind
Spiral bound books awaiting shipment to bindery, 2012
unbound books packed for shipment to the bindery, 2012

unbound books packed for shipment to the bindery, 2012

Autumn in the Library

Posted by Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

Getting new books is incredibly exciting in a library, but sometimes upgrading the books already in our collection can be just as exciting. Every fall, the library sends boxes of books to have them bound. What books are we sending? Some are new theses that haven't yet gotten hardcovers. Many are books that are already part of the collection but might be falling apart. Serials and journals are often bound into sets so that volumes can more easily be kept in order.

The vast majority of the books being sent this year are spiral bound items. Spiral binding is a nice, fast and inexpensive way to make sure that an entire book stays together. However, when an item gets put on library shelves, too many spirals can make it hard to find a particular item. They also create a messy bookshelf which can cause books to slide behind each other making patrons think that books are lost. Spirals are also detrimental to the items in the long run. Too much use causes pages to break where there the holes of the spiral are close to the edge of the page. Spiral-bound books don't have the same stability as a hardcover meaning that, if books aren't shelved carefully, they will often slide on a shelf creating a permanent bend in the pages. When the books return from the bindery, however, they will sit squarely on the shelf and stand up to many years' more use.

Tags: library, books, binding

Masthead, Yellowstone Co-op Employee Recreation Program, 2005
Masthead, Yellowstone Co-op Employee Recreation Program, 2005.

Not Just All Work: Yellowstone Co-Op Employee Recreation Program Records

Posted by Cara Bertram, 2012 Archives Intern

What do employees of Yellowstone National Park do when they're tired of looking at geysers? When they can't hike another trail? When they've seen enough elk and bears to last a lifetime? The answers to these questions are within the Yellowstone Co-Op Employee Recreation Program records in the Park Archives.

The Yellowstone Co-Op Employee Recreation Program was developed in 1957 to keep up the morale of everyone who works within the park. Taking up the motto, "For the benefit and enjoyment of the employee," the program has offered activities ranging from sleepovers and movie nights to sky diving and hunting trips.

In addition to providing various events and trips, the program has encouraged the more artistic side of park employees. There have been t-shirt design, creative writing, and photography contests, which have pitted the creative energies of park employees against one another in a friendly competition. The program also sponsors an annual talent show, allowing employees to showcase their performance prowess with the enticement of cash prizes. Or in the case of the 2006 Snowlodge Winter Olympics, it was a chance for employees to display their lack of talent in the No Talent Show.

The collection itself helps to illustrate the social lives of employees. Amongst some of the materials within the collection are flyers, calendars, evaluations, and programs from events. These records give an insight into the culture of employee life, what kinds of activities they enjoyed, and what kinds of unique opportunities living at Yellowstone provided. The collection also contains photographs, writings, and designs from the contests, giving an interesting look into how employees viewed and felt about the park through their artwork and reflections. These records provide a sneak peek into the lives of the people who make visiting Yellowstone possible and enjoyable.

Sources: Yellowstone Co-Op Employee Recreation Program records (MSC 54), Yellowstone National Park Archives.

Tags: archives, collections, recreation, talent shows, employees, savages

Architectural drawing, U.S. Commisioner's residence, Fort Yellowstone, ca. 1900.

Architectural drawing, U.S. Commisioner's residence, Fort Yellowstone, ca. 1900.

A Unique Partner: the National Archives and Yellowstone

posted by Anne Foster, Archivist

One of the first things you see as you enter the Heritage and Research Center is a sign announcing the facility as an affiliate of the National Archives. Far more than a symbolic title, the affiliate status is both an honor and a responsibility. The best part is that it means all of Yellowstone's historic records remain in Yellowstone; the hard part is meeting the standards of the National Archives (NARA).

Yellowstone received affiliate status in 1978, not long after the park's archives were established. The affiliate program was established by Congress in 1950 and the U. S. Military Academy (USMA) in West Point, New York, became the first authorized affiliate in 1953. Today, there are nine affiliates: five federal agencies, three state agencies, and one university. Yellowstone is the only National Park that is an affiliate and one of only three affiliates that continue to actively add to their affiliate collections (the other two are the USMA and the U. S. Naval Academy). While the collections in the affiliates range from early Spanish land records to a cyber cemetery of defunct government websites, they all share one feature: the records are better understood and used when housed at the affiliated site. For Yellowstone, this means that the records pertaining to Yellowstone's unique resources can be studied while surrounded by the same unique features. It also means that the records created by the Park administration can be used at the same time as manuscript, or donated, collections from researchers, visitors, and concessioners. Having everything located in one place makes it easier for Park scientists, management staff, and other researchers.

For the archives staff, it also means that we have to meet the standards of the National Archives when caring for the collections. Having the Heritage and Research Center-a state-of-the-art collections facility-makes the task significantly easier. The security and preservation of the collections are greatly enhanced by a modern, specially designed building. Additionally, catalog records are added to the National Archives' Archival Research Catalog (ARC). Finally, we are inspected annually by NARA and make a report that details cataloging and preservation projects as well as use statistics. The new(ish) building and a major cataloging project called the Archives Initiative means that this year's inspection, completed this week, went very well (yay!).

So, next time you see the sign in the lobby, visit our webpage, or attend one of our tours, you'll know that the affiliated archives status is one more unique feature of a very unique place.

Sources: National Archives, "NARA's Affiliated Archives" webpage (http://www.archives.gov/locations/affiliated-archives/faq.html#who); Diane Vogt-O'Connor, "NARA's Oldest Partnerships," Prologue 38.2 (Summer 2006)( http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2006/summer/affiliates.html); Susan Kraft, "The Yellowstone Archives and Its Affiliation with NARA," Cultural Resource Management 21.6 (1998) (http://crm.cr.nps.gov/archive/21-6/21-6-8.pdf)

Tags: archives, National Archives, affiliate program

Logo of the Yellowstone Federal Employees Association (YFEA) featuring the Roosevelt Arch, circa 2000.

YFEA logo featuring the Roosevelt Arch, circa 2000.

Fun and Community: the YFEA

posted by Emily Venemon, 2012 Archives Intern

Yellowstone is known as a relaxing getaway where one can experience wilderness without having to give up most of the comforts of civilization. However, many people don't consider the immense amount of work that goes into both maintaining this wilderness and making it safely and comfortably accessible to visitors. The employees of the park devote their time and energy in order to make these possible, sometimes facing unpleasant or even life-threatening conditions in the process. In 1996, a group of park employees recognized the need for an organization that would place employee support and morale at the top of its priority list. They founded the Yellowstone Federal Employees Association (YFEA) as a way to meet these needs, as well as promote greater employee bonding and involvement within the park.

YFEA main focus could be summed up in one word: fun! The association hosted countless employee parties, get-togethers, social outings and other activities where employees and their families could relax with some great food and good company. Some of the more notable events included the annual Holiday party, door decorating contests, pig roasts, field trips and cheesecake competitions. In addition, members often provided food for and participated in other park events such as races and trail cleanup days. YFEA also attempted to extend the fun beyond these activities, establishing video, exercise and book clubs through the years.

YFEA was not just about fun and games, however; the association sought to provide aid and support to park employees as well. YFEA organized charity fundraisers for employees in need, often raising significant amounts of money. In addition, the association's meetings provided a place for employees to voice concerns or grievances about their jobs and take steps toward improving their working conditions. Although YFEA slightly changed their focus in 2008 and their older records have since made their way to the Park Archives, the association provided a great service to park employees and continues to do so in its new form as the Mammoth Community Center. Its mission serves as a reminder to appreciate all the hard work undertaken in Yellowstone every day!

Tags: archives, Yellowstone Federal Employees Association (YFEA), park staff, employee morale

view of Park Street, Gardiner, Montana, 1890.
Building in center has sign that reads Pratt & Hall, General Merchandise
Park Street, Gardiner, Montana, 1890
Building in center has sign that reads Pratt & Hall, General Merchandise

The History of Gardiner project

Posted by Jackie Jerla, Librarian

Sometimes things just happen to come together quite handily without those involved really intending for it to happen. And when the project is wrapped up in a beneficial way, one may just have to think that a "fortunate stroke of serendipity" occurred and be happy about it.

Take the Collection Development policy document that we have in place. This document was a group effort and directed by our curator, Colleen Curry. It is useful to the staff to help guide us in what we accept from donors and our decision making process in acquiring new materials. According to our guidelines, since no other entity actively "collects" for the town of Gardiner, Montana, north entrance gateway community to Yellowstone National Park, we will collect relevant materials and care for them at the HRC.

This decision, along with the desire to produce a diverse and meaningful digital project, provided the background for The History of Gardiner. This is a digitization project hosted by the Montana Historical Society on their website, the Montana Memory Project http://cdm15018.contentdm.oclc.org. The History of Gardiner project is a collection of historic photographs of early Gardiner, oral history transcripts of residents, the town's newspaper Wonderland (1902-1905), and a georeferenced historic 1907 Sanborn Insurance map of Gardiner. The GIS (Geographic Information Systems) lab in Yellowstone made the Sanborn map transparent, overlayed it on a Gardiner, Park County, Montana 2004-06 NAIP Imagery map. Both maps were georeferenced for correct imagery alignment. The result is that viewers can see current sites in Gardiner and what used to be there in 1907.

The story doesn't end here. Enter the Gardiner Gateway Project that is moving to redesign Gardiner as the premier entrance to Yellowstone National Park and have it completed in time for the 2016 anniversary of the National Park Service. The Gardiner Chamber of Commerce is looking for material to tell the town's story by way of a walking tour. And here we are at the HRC, a staff most willing to help provide access to what we have.

Keywords: library, maps, Gardiner, digital archives

research room

Reviewing a rare book in the HRC's research room.

Research Tip: Getting Started

Posted by Anne Foster, Archivist

Anyone may visit the Heritage and Research Center to do research. We've had interpretation staff who wish to prepare new talks, planning staff who need to understand more about historic structures, park scientists tracking down the locations of previous study plots, and administrative staff searching for old correspondence and policies. And that's just the National Park Service researchers-we're also open to public, including high school students, university professors, independent filmmakers, fiction writers, descendents of park staff and visitors, and just about anybody in between.

If you've never conducted historical research before it can be a bit of a challenge to know how to get started. Below is some general information to help you figure out where the information might be located and to get you started on your research before you even step foot in the research room.

First, you have to figure out where the information you need might be located. The first place to start is usually the library. The library houses books, journal articles, newspapers and other published sources that are perfect for getting more familiar with your subject, gathering background information, and finding out the latest in scientific and historical research. The library's catalog is online at http://wyld.state.wy.us/yrl/, so you can search the collections from home. Yellowstone National Park NPS staff and members of the Yellowstone Association are eligible for library cards and can check out published material directly. Check the library's website for hours of operation (they vary a bit, depending upon the season). The library also participates in interlibrary loan, so you can request books through your local public or university library.

After gathering some background information, the next stop-if you want to dig deeper-is the archives. The archives houses unpublished information such as correspondence, diaries, reports, scientific data, and oral histories. In addition to the Park's administrative records, the archives also has records from the military era of management as well as donated collections from past visitors, employees, and researchers. Brief information about the collections may be found as part of the library's online catalog (http://wyld.state.wy.us/yrl/) and more detailed descriptions, called finding aids, are on our website at http://www.nps.gov/yell/historyculture/archives.htm. When looking through finding aids, make note of the box numbers for interesting items as that is how you would access the information. Another way to locate potential resources is to make note of sources cited in the library's books. Often, the writer quotes only a small section from a larger document, so tracking down the original might provide further insight. Because the archives' materials are one-of-a-kind, they cannot be checked out and you will have to visit the archives to see the materials. Appointments are highly recommended since we are in the midst of a big cataloging project and may have to temporarily close portions of the collections (e-mail us for an appointment or with questions).

If you still want to go still further, you may wish to do some research in the museum collection. This collection houses objects or artifacts ranging from furniture to tree cores. The collection also currently cares for most of the historic photographs. A few photos may be viewed online at http://www.nps.gov/features/yell/slidefile/history/index.htm, a few more at http://museum.nps.gov/ParkIndex.aspx (search Parks and then Yellowstone by name), and coming soon a few more at http://www.openparksgrid.org/. If you don't find what you're looking for online, or if you want to research artifacts, you will need to contact the curators to make an appointment (e-mail us).

Research can be a lot of fun and together, the library, archives, and museum collections can answer many of your questions. So, don't hesitate to get started-you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home to begin gathering your resources.

Book cover to Songs of Yellowstone Park 

Cover to songbook, ca. 1925

Research Tips: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Posted by Jessica Gerdes, Librarian & Anne Foster, Archivist

A popular reference question we get is, "What sort of primary documents do you have here?" Teachers and professors often ask students to use a certain number of primary documents when writing a paper and this can lead to some consternation about what actually counts as "primary material." Is a photocopy considered a primary resource? (The answer may surprise you, it's "No" (mostly). Even having a photocopy can change the elements that make an original form unique. However, many places are now accepting digital surrogates.)

To sum up, a primary resource/source/document/material is anything that is original. This can be a letter or newspaper article written from a first-person point of view, written by the person who witnessed or experienced the event. It can also be a novel that doesn't reference any sources other than the author's imagination. Anything with a bibliography is probably going to be ruled out (there are exceptions, but very few). Here's a definition of primary sources from Yale University : (http://www.yale.edu/collections_collaborative/primarysources/primarysources.html).

It would seem that it might be harder to have original documents that have been published (as most of the items are in the Yellowstone Research Library); so, does the Library have original materials? The answer is yes. Some of those items include: laws written by both State and Federal governments, sheet music, autobiographies, handwritten notes on speeches, novels, poems, and plays.

The Yellowstone Archives, on the other hand, are mainly primary documents. There are letters, oral histories, log books, registers, photographs, and administrative records. A few secondary sources such as journal articles and publications may creep in, usually as part of a research or reference file for a scientific or planning project.

Using primary documents requires a researcher to analyze the document and try to understand not only the contents shown, but the context in which the document was created. These analysis worksheets by the National Archives (www.archives.gov) will help students better understand primary documents: Written Documents, Artifact, Cartoon, Map, Motion Picture, Photograph, Poster, Sound Recording

Need a primary source about Yellowstone, but can't visit us in person? We don't have a lot digitized yet (keep an eye on this blog, though, and we'll let you know as we expand our digital collections). In the interim, check out these sources: Early Superintendent's reports, historical advertising, and interpretive brochures on the NPS History page, Historical photographs in Yellowstone's Photo Collection, and Mapping National Parks at the Library of Congress

Tags: research, archives, library


A. A. Anderson, ca. 1900

Lost to History: A. A. Anderson

posted by Frances Harrell, 2011 summer intern

I call him the Forrest Gump of the 19th Century. Though, truly, his lifetime spanned 40 years into the 20th. His name was Abraham Archibald Anderson, but in his later years he answered to "Colonel."

So why do I call him Forrest Gump? Well, for one thing he knew everybody. Though a tiny collection, in the A. A. Anderson Papers we have a letter from Teddy Roosevelt while he was president, Buffalo Bill Cody while he was in London living the life of a world class celebrity, and Gifford Pinchot while he was the first chief of the US Forest Service (he's a pretty big deal around here). He studied painting with Alexandre Cabanal, rubbed elbows with Mark Twain in Paris, and his portrait of Thomas Edison hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. He even painted the tail of the plane (see http://aerofiles.com/bella-columbia.jpg) Clarence Chamberlin flew in the second transatlantic flight-the first with a passenger! So how had I never heard of him?

I suppose that's just how history works, sometimes. It makes me wonder who of the marginally renowned people that dot our landscape this decade will not ring any bells in a hundred years. Luckily, almost all of us leave documentary evidence of our comings and goings. A.A. Anderson left us some letters and an autobiography, and with a little digging I found him all over the place.

In 1900, President Roosevelt made Anderson the first Special Superintendent of the Yellowstone Forest Reserve, based out of Anderson's personal ranch near Wapiti. Preceding the 1905 establishment of the U. S. Forest Service, the Reserve began as the Yellowstone Timber Land Reserve in 1891, was expanded and renamed the Yellowstone Forest Reserve in 1902, and is considered the first national forest. Adjoining Yellowstone National Park to east and south, the land was eventually divided into Targhee, Teton, Wyoming, Bonneville, Absaroka, Shoshone and Beartooth National Forests.

The letter below from President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt communicates his interest in the Reserve:

Sources: National Portrait Gallery (http://www.npg.si.edu); A. A. Anderson, The Yellowstone Forest Reserve (1927); A. A. Anderson, "The Yellowstone Forest Reserve: Its Foundations and Development," The Annals of Wyoming 4.4 (April 1927).

Tags: A. A. Anderson, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, Gifford Pinchot, Yellowstone Forest Reserve, U. S. Forest Service (USFS), archives, history

President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt to A. A. Anderson letter, 1903
Letter, President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt to A. A. Anderson, 1903
Jenny Grissom is crowned Miss Yellowstone 1966.

Jenny Grissom is crowned Miss Yellowstone 1966

Here She Comes: Miss Yellowstone National Park

Posted by Jackie Jerla, Librarian

Collections in the Heritage and Research Center's museum, archives and research library often overlap, sister collections of Yellowstone Park that we are. We may try to retain our autonomy with our distinct collection materials but when research inquiries such as beauty contests held in Yellowstone in the 1960's and early 1970's are posed, we can't help but come together.

We found a treasure trove of beauty pageant coverage in the Research Library's collection of "The Yellowstone Cub", an employee newspaper published from roughly 1965 -1972 by the Park Concessioner's Recreation Program. Every late August edition of the Yellowstone Cub featured coverage of the Yellowstone Beauty pageant, one of the highlights of the year for the employee recreation program.

On the evening of August 20, 1966 Miss Jenny Grissom was crowned Miss Yellowstone. Miss Grissom worked as a room attendant at Old Faithful Lodge and competed against girls from 11 different locations in the park. The beauty pageant consisted of a bathing suit competition, a talent competition, and a panel of questions competition to contestants who were required to dress in formal evening gowns.

For the talent presentation, Miss Grissom entertained a packed house with her humorous anecdotes, experiences and frustrations of being a "room dispenser." As Miss Yellowstone, Jenny won a $100 savings bond, a two-day chauffeur driven tour of Yellowstone with her escort that included a fishing trip, stage-coach ride and a steak fry; a dozen long-stemmed roses; a complimentary evening at the Rendezvous House in Gardiner; a gift certificate for a long-playing stereo album from Montana Music in Bozeman; dinner for two preceding a performance of "Little Mary Sunshine" at the Golden Garter Theatre in West Yellowstone, and finally a complementary one-year subscription to "High Country."

First runner-up was Miss Lake Hotel, Donna MacPherson. Second runner-up was Miss Mammoth, Mary Barovich.

Sources: Yellowstone Park Concessioners' Recreation Program. The Yellowstone Cub.Aug. 20, 1966.

Tags: Cool Collections, library, newspapers, beauty pageants, savages

"Miss Jenny Grissom: Miss Yellowstone National Park," The Yellowstone Cub August 20, 1966.
"Miss Jenny Grissom: Miss Yellowstone National Park," The Yellowstone Cub [newspaper] August 20, 1966.
Cover image of Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland brochure.

Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland [brochure]

Posted by Jessica Gerdes, Librarian

The Northern Pacific Railroad (NPRR) was competing with the other railroads for tourism and they needed a hook to bring in more customers. In 1883, they began service to Yellowstone. The next year, NPRR started an annual publication devoted to enticing people to the park. It began with two issues entitled "Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland."

Compared with the other park being widely advertised at the time Yellowstone could not be called beautiful (Yosemite and its abundant waterfalls had that market cornered). It was therefore promoted as a land of curiosities.

Yellowstone was known as "Wonderland" even before it became a national park, the first apparent publication of this name being in a series of articles by C. C. Clawson in 1871. This name was quickly picked up by many others, including E. J. Stanley ("Rambles in Wonderland") and Olin Wheeler (1883-1896 series, "Wonderland.")

NPRR grabbed onto the idea and expanded it. This brochure (the second issue, 1885) purports to be a letter written by the now grownup Alice (the opening sentence is "When Mr. Carroll wrote that funny book about one of my childish dreams…) who is traveling on the Northern Pacific, from Chicago. Alice describes to her friend, Edith, all of sights and stops along the railroad, including historical tidbits as well as painting a beautiful picture of the scenery. The author even throws in a plug for one of their other books, "Wonderland of the World," saying that even that book had not truly prepared the party for what they were about to see. The letter covers 14 sections of the brochure which starts out at about 22 x 10 cm. and then unfolds to 63 x 47 cm. The back side of the brochure is a map of the park.

Sources: America's history in the making (http://learner.org); All aboard - the role of railroads in protecting, promoting, and selling Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks (http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA96/RAILROAD/home.html ); Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland (1886); Whittlesey, Lee H. Yellowstone Place Names (2006); Discovering Lewis and Clark: Rails to Wonderland (http://lewis-clark.org/content/content-article.asp?ArticleID=2700).

Tags: Cool Collections, library, brochure, NPRR, railroad

Alice's Adventures in the New Wonderland complete text.
Entire brochure (image realigned for readibility).

Alice Stratton's Diary, 1895

Three Cheers for Yellowstone: Traveling 1895-Style

Posted by Anne Foster, Archivist

Visiting Yellowstone by stagecoach is known to have been a dusty affair and, while the Grand Loop tour offered many wondrous sights, there were long tree-filled stretches that were less exciting. It was during these times that passengers were wont to pepper their drivers with "fool tenderfoot questions" and, probably in desperation, the drivers responded by teaching the tourists a variety of songs and cheers to while the time. While it was known that songs were sung, we didn't have a good record of them until recently. Last year, the descendents of some 1895 tourists donated the family record of the trip. And thanks to the exuberant recording of the 16 year old daughter, Alice, we now know some of the cheers used to pass the time during the "boring" sections.

Alice's diary forms part of the F. E. Stratton Family Papers documenting the Stratton family's trip to Yellowstone National Park in 1895. Two diaries were recorded: one by father Frederick and one by daughter Alice-and apparently the two were on two wholly different trips. Frederick's diary details the natural and geothermal features of Park, complete with measurements and statistics. Typical of a teenager, Alice's diary describes all the social events and people she met. In addition to the daily entries, Alice also documents a number of yells (cheers) and poems the group learned during the tour. She also names the stagecoach drivers she met.

Yellowstone Yell, 1895

Yellowstone Yell, 1895

The 1895 trip to Yellowstone was organized by medical doctor, author, lecturer, instructor, and adventurer Lyman Beecher Sperry, for whom Sperry Glacier in Glacier National Park was named after his discovery in 1894. The following year, Sperry advertised a trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Stratton family--Frederick E., Mary, and their daughter, Alice B.--joined the expedition. The trip seems typical for the wealthy visitor: travelling by train and stagecoaches, staying in the hotels, and dining on fine fare. What makes the trip notable is that the family recorded it in such detail, providing current researchers a glimpse into both the technical and social aspects of such an adventure-and providing latter day travelers with a few new songs to sing when the car or bus trip becomes a little too long.

Sources: F. E. Stratton Papers, Yellowstone National Park Archives; Haines, Aubrey L. The Yellowstone Story. Vol. 2 (1977); Whittlesey, Lee H. Storytelling in Yellowstone: Horse and Buggy Tour Guides (2007).

Tags: Cool Collections, archives, diaries, stagecoaches, songs, tourism.



This blog will give you a peek into the stacks and storage areas of Yellowstone National Park's library, archives, and museum collections. We'll highlight some of our biggest treasures, show-off quirky staff favorites, let you know about newly acquired collections, and perhaps ask for help with a few mysteries. Along the way, we hope to give Park staff, visitors, and all those who love Yellowstone a place to reminisce and share the unique story of Yellowstone.

Yellowstone's collections are big, really big--one of the largest in the National Park Service (!)-with several million items including more than 3,000 linear feet of historic records, 100,000 photographic prints and negatives, 20,000 books and manuscripts, 300,000 cultural and natural science specimens, over 35,000 archeological artifacts, and approximately 10,000 plant specimens. So, we won't be running out of stories to share anytime soon.

The collections document the cultural and natural history of the world's first national park and the conditions of its resources. Housed in a state-of-the-art facility called the Heritage & Research Center (or, HRC, in government-speak), the collections are used by all kinds of researchers to answer their historical and scientific questions. Got a history question? Don't hesitate to contact us.

And, now, it's storytime----

Did You Know?

Seventh Cavalry Ensignia Pin.

Prior to the establishment of the National Park Service, the U.S. Army protected Yellowstone between 1886 and 1918. Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs for that purpose.