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National Park Service
Historical Handbook Series

Yosemite NP
Superintendent's Conference,
Yosemite National Park

NPS Historic Photograph Collection #HPC-001095

In 1918 the National Park Service recognized education as one of the primary objectives of park management when Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane instructed the Director of the National Park Service Stephen Mather on the educational implications of parks. In his memo Secretary Lane emphasized the following:

"The educational, as well as the recreational, use of the national parks should be encouraged in every practicable way. University and high-school classes will find special facilities for their vacation period studies. Museums containing specimens of wild flowers, shrubs, and trees and mounted animals, birds, and fish native to the parks, and other exhibits of the character, will be established as authorized."

Out of this effort grew the Field Division of Education of the National Park Service. Established in 1929 its main goal was to hire and train park naturalists (then called Ranger-Naturalists). This office also produced a number of reports which were useful for park naturalists and superintendents in developing interpretive programs or museum displays. These publications set the stage for more in-depth studies of the parks in subsequent years.

When the National Park Service acquired historical areas after 1933 these studies came to include both history and archeology. The Historical Handbook series below was part of this effort. While the handbooks in this series are long out-of-print (the first volumes were released in 1949), the Historical Handbook series has continued with newer publications produced at the Harpers Ferry Center - the interpretive design center of the National Park Service.

While some of the information contained in these handbooks is a bit dated, it is hoped that the on-line editions of these classic publications will give the viewer a sense of early efforts to provide educational and interpretive material for the historical and archeological areas in the National Park System.

 1: Custer Battlefield
      (Edwin S. and Evelyn S. Luce)
 1: Custer Battlefield
      (Robert M. Utley)
 2: Jamestown, Virginia: The Townsite and Its Story
      (Charles E. Hatch, Jr.)
 3: The Lincoln Museum and the House Where Lincoln Died
      (Stanley W. McClure)
 3: Ford's Theatre and the House Where Lincoln Died
      (Stanley W. McClure)
 4: Saratoga
      (Charles W. Snell and Francis F. Wilshin)
 5: Fort McHenry
      (Harold I. Leesem and George C. Mackenzie)
 6: Custis-Lee Mansion: The Robert E. Lee Memorial
      (Murray H. Nelligan)
 7: Morristown: A Military Capital of the American Revolution
      (Melvin J. Weig)
 8: Hopewell Village
      (Dennis C. Kurjack)
 9: Gettysburg
      (Frederick Tilberg)
10: Shiloh
      (Albert Dillahunty)
11: Statue of Liberty
      (Benjamin Levine and Isabelle Story)
12: Fort Sumter
      (Frank Barnes)
13: Petersburg Battlefields
      (Richard Wayne Lykes)
14: Yorktown and the Siege of 1781
      (Charles E. Hatch, Jr.)
15: Manassas (Bull Run)
      (Francis F. Wilshin)
16: Fort Raleigh
      (Charles W. Porter, III)
17: Independence
      (Edward M. Riley)
18: Fort Pulaski
      (Ralston B. Lattimore)
19: Fort Necessity
      (Frederick Tilberg)
20 Fort Laramie
      (David L. Hieb)
21: Vicksburg
      (William C. Everhart)
22: Kings Mountain
      (George C. Mackenzie)
23: Bandelier
      (Kittridge A. Wing)
24: Ocmulgee
      (G.D. Pope, Jr.)
25: Chickamauga and Chattanooga Battlefields
      (James R. Sullivan)
26: George Washington Birthplace
      (J. Paul Hudson)
27: Montezuma Castle
      (Albert H. Schroeder and Homer F. Hastings)
28: Scotts Bluff
      (Merrill J. Mattes)
29: Chalmette
      (J. Fred Roush)
30: Guildford Courthouse
      (Courtland T. Reid)
31: Antietam
      (Frederick Tilberg)
32: Vanderbilt Mansion
      (Charles W. Snell)
33: Richmond Battlefields
      (Joesph P. Cullen)
34: Wright Brothers
      (Omega G. East)
35: Fort Union
      (Robert M. Utley)
36: Aztec Ruins
      (John M. Corbett)
37: Whitman Mission
      (Erwin N. Thompson)
38: Fort Davis
      (Robert M. Utley)
39: Where A Hundred Thousand Fell:
      The Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville,
      the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House
      (Joseph P. Cullen)
40: Golden Spike
      (Robert M. Utley)
    Theodore Roosevelt and the Dakota Badlands
      (Chester L. Brooks and Ray H. Mattison)
    The Upper Missouri Fur Trade
      (Ray H. Mattison)
    Beehives of Invention: Edison and His Laboratories
      (George E. Davidson)

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