National Park Service

Although Theodore Roosevelt did not establish the National Park Service, his conservation activities as President of the United States created the foundation on which the agency was founded a decade later. The NPS today oversees more than 400 units, including national parks, monuments, and historical sites.

Theodore Roosevelt doubled the number of national parks from 5 to 10 during his presidency, adding Crater Lake (1902), Wind Cave (1903), Sullys Hill (1904 – later designated a national wildlife refuge under the management of the US Fish and Wildlife Service), Platt (1906 – now part of Chickasaw National Recreation Area), and Mesa Verde. In addition, he designated 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, and 18 national monuments.

National Park Service sites are well represented in the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library. We began with the 6 sites which memorialize TR’s life and legacy:

  • The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
  • The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
  • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island
  • The Theodore Roosevelt National Park collection contains over 1,000 items relating to the history and development of the Park. Photographs documenting the work of the CCC in the 1930s also compose part of this collection.
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial

With the help of Valerie Naylor, former superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, research and digitization is now underway at the 23 national parks and monuments TR designated.  Among the documents are a page from the Wind Cave visitor register with the signature of Seth Bullock and items from Crater Lake relating to rumors of a Roosevelt visit.

Use the following links to visit these collections: