Although the NPS History Collection includes a wealth of information about the bureau's history, employees, and issues related to Service-wide management of natural and cultural resources, other repositories also have relevant materials for research into NPS history.
The following list includes additional resources and collections for those interested in researching NPS history. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it an endorsement of any institution or commercial service. It is provided for research purposes only. Users are responsible for any applicable research, reproduction, or licensing fees.
All links are accurate as of 1/13/2020. Please report broken links to the archivist to keep this resource up to date for all researchers.
- A Directory of Oral History in the National Park Service: Summary of oral histories in park and NPS repository museum archives.
- Alaska Park Science: Reports information from on-going and recently completed research in and around Alaska’s national parklands
- Common Ground: Archeology and Ethnology in the Public Interest
- HFC Commissioned Art Collection: Artwork commissioned for NPS park brochures, exhibits, films, and other media.
- Midwest Archeological Center Publications: This website provides electronic copies of archeological and technical reports, special reports, and occasional studies undertaken by archeologists in the NPS Midwest Region parks.
- National Register of Historic Places: The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and the National Archives also have relevant records.
- Natural Resources Publication Series: Online access to NPS natural resources reports, data, and technical report series.
- NPS Cultural Resource Management Journal: Electronic access to the CRM Bulletin (1978-1990), CRM (1991-2002), and CRM: the Journal of Heritage Stewardship (2003-2011).
- NPGallery: The NPGallery Digital Asset Management System is an enterprise system for storing, organizing, and sharing photos and other digital files. NPGallery's central online repository offers a place for the NPS to store digital assets, including photos, illustrations, audio files, videos, and documents.
- NPS Historical Handbooks: Selection of park-specific historical handbooks.
- NPS Integrated Resource Management Applications (IRMA): IRMA is a web-based portal for data and information related to National Park Service natural and cultural resources.
- NPS Library Information Center: Online catalog for NPS library collections. Many NPS libraries offer interlibrary loans services.
- NPS Maps: Downloadable maps of NPS areas prepared by Harpers Ferry Center cartographers.
- NPS Natural History Handbooks: Selection of historical titles available for download.
- NPS Stats: Statistics regarding visitor use in individual parks.
- NPS Technical Information Center: TIC’s database and collection contains documents and drawings that are utilized in the planning, development, construction, modification, and repair of buildings and facilities in the parks. Planning, resource management, and development type documents establish guidelines for the overall use, preservation, management, and development of areas within NPS.
- NPS Web Catalog: Selected highlights from park museum collections and archives are available on the web catalog
- Park Collections: Most parks have their own museum collections and archives. Regional repositories of park collections also exist. The collections are park-specific and address the historical, cultural, and natural resources within a given park’s boundaries or relevant to the park’s enabling legislation. Although some parks have finding aids available online, many do not. There is no one central access point and some collections may not be cataloged yet. To access park collections, search for specific park names at www.nps.gov and view the contact information.
- Park Histories: NPS website featuring online copies of administrative histories and historic and cultural studies prepared for individual parks.
- Park Science: Research and resource management journal of the U.S. National Park Service.
- State of the Park Reports
Government Printing Office: GPO’s Government Bookstore has copies of NPS reports, junior ranger books, park handbooks, travel posters, and maps available for purchase.
Interior Museum: Includes objects and archives regarding NPS History and its role within the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Library of Congress
Library of Congress holds the papers of many early presidents, as well as notable historical figures associated with NPS units, such as Ansel Adams, Booker T. Washington, Fredrick Law Olmstead, Artist Gutzon Borglum, Clara Barton, Frederick Douglass, and the Wright Brothers. Various folklife projects also relate to specific parks (e.g. Blue Ridge Parkway, Lowell, etc.) Papers of various government officials in the LOC holdings also contain relevant materials. Below is a small selection of NPS-related records at the Library of Congress. Researchers are encouraged to contact the LOC directly for other relevant materials.
- Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record / Historic American Landscapes Survey Collection: This collection documents more than 40,000 historic structures and sites through large-format photographs (b&w and color), measured drawings, and written historical reports.
- Harold L. Ickes Papers
- Julius A. Krug Papers
- Mapping the National Parks: Documents the history, cultural aspects and geological formations of areas that eventually became National Parks.
- Record Group 35 Records of the Civilian Conservation Corps
- Record Group 42 Records of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital
- Record Group 79 Records of the National Park Service
- Record Group 48 Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior
- Record Group 368 Records of the Heritage Conservation and Conservation Service
- An Inventory of the Records of the National Park Service Record Group 79
- Guide to the Federal Records of the United States
- National Park Service Records and Archives in the National Archives of the United States: A Collection and Repository Guide
Smithsonian Institution Archives: Includes records regarding MOUs between NPS and Smithsonian, the river basin surveys, and events and festivals on the National Mall. Also includes records relating to individual parks, including surveys of archeological and natural resources.
Open Parks Network: A partnership between Clemson University and the National Park Service, this digital gallery features rare and unique material from the archives of the country’s national parks, historic sites and battlefields. https://openparksnetwork.org/
NPS Director’s Papers: Clemson University Libraries Special Collections includes records from eight NPS directors. Finding aids for these papers are available online.
- George B. Hartzog, Jr. Papers
- Ronald H. Walker Papers
- Gary Everhardt Papers
- Russell E. Dickenson Papers
- William Penn Mott, Jr. Papers
- James M. Ridenour Papers
- Stanton Papers
- Frances P. Mainella Papers
Stanford University Libraries
University of Arkansas Libraries
University of California
Bancroft Library Charles E. Young Research Library Museum of Vertebrate Zoology Archives, UC-Berkeley University of Maryland Libraries Special Collections and University Archives
- Ernest A. Connally Papers
- Henry Chandlee Foreman Papers
- Robert Horne Papers
- Charles Hosmer Papers
- National Trust for Historic Preservation Library
- Theodore R. McMann Papers
- Charles E. Peterson Papers
- Frederick L. Rath, Jr. Papers
- William J. Murtagh Papers
University of Michigan
Bentley Historical Library
University of Washington Libraries
Note that the university libraries have additional collections of documents and photographs related to national parks in the Pacific West and Alaska. We recommend that you contact the library directly for more information about other collections.
- Carsten Lien Papers
- C. Frank Brockman Papers
- F. E. Matthes Photos
- Floyd W. Schmoe Papers
- Frank Jay Haynes Photos
- Fred J. Overly Papers
- Joe and Margaret Miller Papers
- Lloyd G. Linkletter Photos
- North Cascades Conservation Council Papers
- Owen A. Thomlinson Mount Rainier National Park Photo Albums
- Preston P. Macy Papers
- Rainier National Park Mountain-Glacier Wonderland Photo Album
- Report on the Enlargement of Olympic National Park Album
- Rowland Reed “See America First” Great Northern Railway National Park Route Photos
American Heritage Center
Pennsylvania State Archives:
Winterthur Library: The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera includes the William Seale’s Papers (he worked for the NPS at the White House).
Forest History Society Library and Archives: Includes the Redwood National Park Collection, 1926-1980.
Life Picture Collection: Includes images taken by Life Magazine photographers at national parks. Most photos were never published in the magazine. Contact their archivist for more information about the collection.
Sherman Grinberg Film Library: Home of the historic Paramount and American Pathe newsreels, which include films at national parks.
Ansel Adams Gallery: Adams’ iconic images from Yosemite National Park.
The Mather Homestead: The family home of the first NPS Director Stephen T. Mather, the museum includes objects, photos, and documents related to Mather and his family.
Online Archives of California (OAC): OAC provides access to information about materials in over 200 libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California, including the University of California’s campuses.
Social Networks and Archival ContextSNAC is a free, online resource for biographical and historical information about persons, families, and organizations that created or are documented in historical resources around the world.
Last updated: February 12, 2022