Historians can use the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library for as many books and theses as they may desire to publish. Yet I am contributing to the presentation of a wealth of primary sources which will make it possible for anyone with a thirst for knowledge to, in a wonderful sense, be their own historian.
Mesa Verde was the first national park set aside primarily for its cultural resources. The previous nine national parks were created for their outstanding scenery or natural resources. Today, there are numerous national parks and monuments set aside for their contributions to our cultural heritage.
Crater Lake National Park was established on May 22, 1902. It includes the deepest lake in North America (approximately 1943 feet), and perhaps the cleanest large body of water in the world. The deep blue of the lake is almost unbelievable. If you haven’t seen it in person, I hope you will plan a trip soon.
As the United States prepares for the 2016 presidential election in November, and the national conventions for both the Republican and Democratic parties held in July are a recent memory, I have been sifting through documents in the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library that pertain to the time period leading up to and shortly after the 1904 Republican National Convention in Chicago. Because of the timing, I couldn’t help but ponder similarities and differences in our own era.
Because many parks do not have adequate museum storage facilities or a dedicated curator, collections from several parks are often stored at central offices or multi-park repositories. Consolidation can ensure that the collections have the proper space and environmental controls, and they can often be tended by one curator.
Occasionally, there were views or policies which raised my 21st Century eyebrows, but the letter which stayed with me long after I first read it; the letter which I mention to anyone who asks about my work this summer, is one that fills me with tremendous respect and admiration for America’s 26th President.
While cataloging correspondence from the Library of Congress Manuscripts Division, I came across the typewritten words of a woman who held the position of “Social Secretary” to the White House. The creation date was 1902. The history of women in the White House suddenly fascinated me, as a major part of social history at the turn of the 20th century. This is not a time period that I would historically associate with female agency in cosmopolitan American society, much less political inclusion, so I was very curious to know more about her. How did she rise to this position? What did she do? Does the White House still have a Social Secretary position?
When I applied for the Theodore Roosevelt Center’s digital cataloging internship, I admittedly knew only a little about Theodore Roosevelt—either as a leader or a personality. In preparation, I did a good deal of research about this man I knew was a towering figure of American history. What I found was an enigma—a man who was many things to many people, but was always singularly himself.
Wind Cave NP was established by an Act of Congress, with a signature from Theodore Roosevelt, on January 9, 1903. It was the second national park TR established during his presidency.
The 23 parks that TR created are scattered throughout the American west, so I will be on the road, when my time and budget allows. Who knows what might be out there? I will keep you posted on my travels and what I find along the way.