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Breeches, Blouses, and Skirts




Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

National Park Service Uniforms
Breeches, Blouses, and Skirts 1918-1991
Number 4

Breeches, Blouses, and Skirts
Women's Uniforms in the National Park Service 1918-1991

Although women married to National Park Service personnel had assisted their husbands for years as unpaid help (like the military, it came with the territory), their first appearance as "official" employees of the National Park Service occurred in 1918.

Clare Marie Hodges
Clare Marie Hodges, 1918, Temporary ranger, Yosemite National Park. Hodges, a local grade school teacher in the valley, was one of the first two women to be hired by the National Park Service. Since a uniform was not specified for women, she is shown wearing what were termed "camping clothes" at that time, with only a badge to indicate her Park Service affiliation. NPSHPC-HFC/YOSE#931

The first two "Rangerettes", as these early women were known, were Clare Marie Hodges (Wolfson) and Helene Wilson. They were hired as temporary employees to fill vacancies left by men who responded to their country's call to arms to "save the world" in Europe. Helene Wilson, from Los Angles, checked in vehicles in Mount Rainier National Park, while Hodges, a local grade school teacher, performed ranger service at Yosemite from May 22 to September 7, 1918.

It is not known what type of uniform, or identification, if any, that Wilson wore. There are, however, at least three photographs of Clare Hodges while on duty. She is mounted on horseback in all of them. One is a group shot of the Yosemite ranger force in which it is difficult to distinguish her clothing. The other two images are of her and her mount. Both appear to have been taken at or around the same time. From these she appears to have worn what was referred to at that time as "camping clothes". There are no pieces of regulation uniform evident, except for a badge and perhaps her hat.

In the early years, women found it very difficult to penetrate the male dominated National Park Service. It was only through the foresight of people like Horace Marden Albright, then superintendent of Yellowstone, and Washington Bartlett "Dusty" Lewis, superintendent of Yosemite (who hired Hodges), plus a few others that women were given a chance to show that they could perform the required duties as well as their male counterpart. Even so, it would be decades before this was truly put to the test.

Albright hired Isabel D. Bassett as a guide at Yellowstone in 1920. [1] This started a trickle of women into the service. Marguerite Lindsley (Arnold) and Frieda B. Nelson were hired in 1925; Frances Pound (Wright), 1926; and Herma Albertson (Baggley) in 1929. Only temporary, or seasonal, to use today's vernacular, female employees were hired to perform ranger duties. All permanent positions for women were classified as naturalists, even though some of them did occasionally perform ranger duties.

Ross, Nelson, and Albright
Gov. Nellie Ross, Freida Nelson & Supt. Albright, 1925, Yellowstone National Park. Ross was governor of Montana at the time and Horace M. Albright, park superintendent. Nelson is wearing the standard men's uniform, cut for a woman, with riding boots and women's gloves. NPSHPC-YELL/131,465

Herma Albertson
Herma Albertson, 1929, ranger-naturalist, Yellowstone National Park. Albertson was one of the women that wore the complete male-style Park Service uniform, including regulation boots. She married Chief Ranger George F Baggley, while in the Service, and worked until the end of 1933. NPSHPC-YELL/130,092

Apparently due to proximity, and shared interests, most of the early Park Service women tended to marry fellow employees. Even so, these ladies had a "tough row to hoe". The National Park Service had no provisions, uniform or otherwise, for women. Consequently, they were left, pretty much, to their own devices as to what they were to wear. Herma Albertson wore the standard ranger uniform, including the hat, tailored to fit her, while Frieda Nelson and Margaret Fuller wore the same standard uniform, but tailored for women. (buttoned right to left). Others attached their badges to formal hunting coats, sweaters, or any other article of clothing that struck their fancy.

Marguerite Lindsley
Marguerite "Peg" Lindsley, c. 1925. Ranger, Yellowstone National Park. Peg was the daughter of Chester A. Lindsley, acting superintendent, Yellowstone National Park, 1916-1919, and the first permanent female naturalist in National Park Service.

Peg and her horse Rex. Lindsley is wearing her tailor-made forestry-green whipcord uniform blouse and jodphurs, with riding boots, Stetson (seen lying on the ground), a green tie, badge and USNPS collar ornaments NPSHPC-HFC/93-326

Marguerite Lindsley
Marguerite "Peg" Lindsley. Ranger, Yellowstone National Park. But this is how she dressed most of the time when working. NPSHFC-YELL/130,391

One of the photos of Marguerite Lindsley show her wearing a ladies riding coat and jodhpurs with a ranger badge, but in the majority of existing images, she is wearing civilian garb without even a badge to denote her Park Service affiliation.

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