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The Department of Everything Else




current topic Forewod


Getting Organized

Western Emphasis

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Managing the Public Domain

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20th Century Highlights

An Imperfect Anthology




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Sec. Manual Lujan, Jr.

Even though I arrived at the Department of the Interior with a background of 20 years on the Interior Committee in the House of Representatives, I quickly discovered that this Department has more nooks and crannies than any Victorian mansion or colonial maze. Fortunately, my predecessor, Secretary Don Hodel, had come to realize that many new employees--I'm not sure he had Secretaries in mind--could profit from a good orientation to the Department and its many responsibilities.

Secretary Hodel had commissioned the completion of a Department history, begun some 15 years earlier, so that newcomers and others interested in the Department could better understand what it is and how it got that way. This slim volume is the result. In it you will find the keys to understanding a most complex subject--an old line Federal Department.

This concise explanation of Interior's growth was begun by then National Park Service historian Robert M. Utley at the direction of Secretary Rogers C. B. Morton. As so often happened at the Department, higher priorities called Utley to new projects before he could finish this one. However, Secretary Hodel revived the effort and it was assigned to another Park Service historian, Barry Mackintosh. Fortunately, for continuity's sake, Mackintosh was able to consult with Utley, still active in retirement, and with Jerry A. O'Callaghan, a former Bureau of Land Management official and historian of the public lands. Debra Berke, curator of the Interior departmental museum, assembled the illustrations.

I have found this to be a most interesting and enlightening document. It is invaluable for Interior employee's--both newcomers and old-timers--for it provides a logical progression, with fascinating highlights and diversions, of events that formed and shaped the many bureaus that make up this Department. It should be a matter of pride for Interior employees to note just how many other Federal bureaus and departments got their start as Interior bureaus and then developed to the point where they could stand on their own.

We are a proud Department with a proud history which I commend to all who would better understand the growth of our country and its government.

     Manuel Lujan, Jr.
     Secretary of the Interior

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