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NPS Expansion: 1930s







New Deal



NPS 1933-39




Expansion of the National Park Service in the 1930s:
Administrative History

Chapter Six: The National Park Service, 1933-1939
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For Arno Cammerer, something of the scope of the increased responsibilities that had devolved upon his agency on August 10, 1933, became clear in a letter of Frank T. Gartside, acting superintendent of the National Capital Parks. Responding to a verbal request, Gartside listed the duties which had formerly belonged to the Director of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital that were transferred to Cammerer's new office:

  1. Director of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital
  2. Executive officer, Arlington Memorial Bridge Development
  3. Member and Executive and Disbursing Officer, National Capital Park and Planning Commission
  4. Member, Executive and Disbursing Officer, Public Buildings Commission
  5. Member of Zoning Commission, Washington, D.C.
  6. Coordinator, Motor Transport for the District of Columbia
  7. Member, National Memorial Commission
  8. Recreation Commission of the District of Columbia
  9. The Committee on Work Planning and Job Assignment of the District of Columbia Committee on Unemployment
  10. Washington National Monuments Society [1]

The increased responsibilities that accrued to his office as a result of reorganization, involvement in emergency programs, and new initiatives in history and recreation exacted a heavy price from Arno Cammerer. As early as 1935 his friends were beginning to worry about him. "You must conserve yourself Cam," Horace Albright wrote on July 14, "Should you lose your health, they will take your job and that will be the end of the Mather group in National Park Service activity." [2] When he resigned in 1940, Cammerer wrote that while he had made an excellent recovery from a "complete [physical] collapse!" he had suffered the previous year, he was not able to withstand the continued strain of his office. [3] Within a year, Cammerer, who accepted the position of Regional Director, Region I, following his resignation as director, was dead, the victim of a second coronary.

The new responsibilities that devolved on the director's office with the transfer of the office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital were a reflection of the new responsibilities that came to his agency in the reorganization of 1933. These new responsibilities, moreover, multiplied with the growing involvement in New Deal recovery efforts and the new initiatives in history and recreation. Park Service administrators faced a dual problem after 1933. They had to cope with new, and often unfamiliar, issues raised by the new programs. At the same time, they had to find a way to reconcile traditional values and principles with an agency that was suddenly much larger and complex. The way in which they approached both brought about significant changes in the organizational framework of their agency. It provides a case study of the federal bureaucracy during the New Deal.

Chapter Six continues with...
Growth of the National Park Service


Last Modified: Tues, Mar 14 2000 07:08:48 am PDT

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