Perhaps because visitors may be easily overwhelmed by the expansive parks, having a distinctive, easily recognizable uniform has remained a top priority of the National Park Service since the s. A number of key features such as the distinctive hat linger on. But now, after years of experience, the uniform is the very recognizable gray shirt, green trousers and distinctive hat for both women and men that we come to look for when we first pull into a national park, memorial or historic site. The earliest park service employees did not wear a specific uniform. The first clear reference to badges for rangers relates to their use by Yellowstone National Park scouts.
Even though the President hadn't shown much interest in the new unifor,s, she was bombarded with questions from people in the airport as to what department or agency she worked for. On January 14,Director Arno B. Field uniform use was extended to include winter activities and out-of-door activities during periods of cold and damp weather Park service uniforms normal season of intensive visitor use. Marjoie M. Forest Service specifications as manufactured by Sports Caster. Olive drab uniforms, Park service uniforms the iconic flat hat or Stetson, were incorporated into a formal Park Service uniform code in Both proved to be very unpopular in the field and only lasted until Superb Blog!
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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
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- Perhaps because visitors may be easily overwhelmed by the expansive parks, having a distinctive, easily recognizable uniform has remained a top priority of the National Park Service since the s.
- Eric Katz.
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 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. 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 Marguerite Lindsley Arnold and Frieda B. 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. 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.
Others attached their badges to formal hunting coats, sweaters, or any other article of clothing that struck their fancy. 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. Martha Sophia Bingaman, who assisted her ranger husband John W. Bingaman as a temporary, wore her badge on a loose civilian vest to show that she was part of the Service.
Francis Pound, on the other hand, wore what appears to be a uniform of her own design. Two bottom and one upper on left. It may have been a regular civilian variety, although it appears to be the same material as the breeches, which were probably the standard forest green. Although not shown in any of her photographs, she is known to have occasionally carried a sidearm. Pauline "Polly" Mead Patraw also wore the standard NPS uniform, but sported a wide floppy brimmed hat, patterned after those worn by the Harvey girls, on her head.
One called for them to wear the regulation uniform, at the discretion of the director or park superintendent. The other though, would no doubt have created quite a furor if it had been included in the new regulations.
It called for female employees not required to wear a uniform to wear a collar ornament [USNPS] "conspicuously on the front of the waist of the dress".
Even when the changes were made, they only replaced breeches and boots with skirts and shoes and possibly eliminated the hat. Photographs show that there were two styles of skirt worn during this period. One type had wide box pleats and the other appears to be simply a full skirt with natural fall pleats.
The coats were the standard male style, tailored to fit, although, some were cut on the female pattern. The majority of existing photographs showing women in Park Service uniforms from this period are from Carlsbad Caverns. These show that when hats were worn, at least at that location, they ran the gamut from chic little light colored items perched on the side of the ladies heads, to standard military overseas patterns of forest green wool.
In the spring of the Fechheimer Brothers Company forwarded drawings for a distinctive uniform for Park Service women to the uniform committee chairman for the committee's perusal. Fechheimer was a very aggressive company and usually attended the conferences in order to answer questions concerning uniforms as well as being there when decisions were made.
At the Superintendent's Conference in January , women's uniforms were on the agenda. It would seem logical that Fechheimer's sketches would have been presented at that time, but the tone of the official correspondence indicates otherwise.
It refers to the distribution of the drawings after the conference. This of course does not preclude the possibility of them being discussed at the meeting and distributed afterward.
Unfortunately, since these drawings have not been located we have no way of knowing exactly what the uniforms looked like. From the correspondence it can be determined that they contained two different uniforms, "A" and "B"; that one of them, apparently "B", had a short coat, while "A" 's coat was of the longer variety, similar to the men's; and both included an "overseas" cap. A shirt with a high collar and a necktie were also defined.
As word leaked out about the proposed uniforms, women began writing Fechheimer Brothers inquiring as to prices and material samples prompting Uniform Committee Chairman John C. Preston to admonish Fechheimer to "advise the one making the inquiry that to date no definite decision has been reached by the uniform committee concerning the style of uniform for women employees of the National Park Service. The whole matter of women's uniforms was a very "controversial subject", with every one having their own ideas as to what form it should take.
Some didn't like the shirt the style worn by men and thought that a sports blouse should be substituted instead. Others believed that the hat should be omitted, or at least changed. Since the whole matter of women's uniforms pertained to women it was decided that a committee of women should be set up to decide the issue. Women from Regions II and IV were omitted since there were no women in these regions required to wear the uniform. The December 7, , Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the resulting General Conservation Order Ma, which reserved wool cloth for military uniforms, halted all further speculation in Park Service uniforms, women's, as well as men's.
Things remained "status quo" for the next year or so. In the meantime, Fechheimer intervened with the War Production Board, on behalf of the National Park Service and obtained a dispensation for uniform material on the basis that the Service was an essential Government agency.
Preston, proclaimed the National Park Service would do its "bit" toward the war effort and made the field jacket and trousers the standard apparel for ranger wear for the duration, since they required less material to make. Those with coats could still wear them as long as they were serviceable and in good repair. New coats could be purchased as long as existing material lasted at the suppliers.
Even after Fechheimer's "slight of hand" artifice, the Service still maintained the jacket status, but in reality, it was left up to the individual rangers whether or not to comply since the material was available.
With the able bodied men again going off to war, women, especially NPS wives, were enlisted to help in the parks, particularly in the offices and entrance stations. At that time, in the field, even office help wore uniforms.
While not specified in the uniform regulations, in a material saving uniform was specified for women. That uniform consisted of:. Skirt, 16 oz. Overseas Cap, 16 oz. Shirt, steel grey poplin with shoulder straps and pleated pockets.
Necktie, four-in hand, 'Barathea' dark green. Oxfords, cordovan color, plain toe Belt, using NPS hat-band for this purpose with buckle to be added. This last item, the belt, must have been the occasion of much mirth. None of the photographs examined of uniformed female personnel from this period show anyone wearing this belt, or for that matter, anyone able to wear it. The hatband only allowed for a 24" waist and that was with the uniform on. As with the men, women who had been uniformed continued to wear the man's style coat throughout the war as long as it was presentable.
A photograph of Ethel L. Melnser, stenographer at Scott's Bluff National Monument, taken in , shows her wearing an "overseas" cap with a USNPS collar ornament in front, standard men's style coat, semi-full skirt, shirt appears to be gray , tie and shoes. It is interesting that even though her title is stenographer she is wearing a badge. Except for the cap, this is essentially the same uniform worn by Lila Michaelsen, Guide at Carlsbad Caverns in After the war, the subject was taken up again and after much debate, a standard uniform for the women of the National Park Service was finally authorized on June 2, with Amendment No.
Even then, it was segregated under the heading of "Special Uniforms". Hat : Soft felt hat with small snap brim, turned up at back and sides and down over forehead in front, in matching color with narrow grosgrain ribbon on dark green color.
Shirt : Convertible or standard Peter Pan collar type of steel-gray color. Long sleeves but toned at the wrist. Shirts may be worn open at the neck when so authorized by the superintendent. Such authorization, when granted, shall apply to all uniformed personnel within an area. Necktie : Draped bow of soft scarf material, or four-in-hand tie.
Dark green in color. During the summer season, the necktie may or may not be worn, subject to the conditions prescribed in the preceding paragraph. Belt : Not mandatory. The standard National Park Service hat band may be adapted for this purpose, if desired, by the provision of buckles instead of the standard thong for lacing. The National Park Service, at last, was recognizing women.
There must have been some agitation concerning their wearing the fatigue jacket and WAAC hat, because when the regulations were amended on May 24, , to include photographs to "illustrate the proper uniforms and the correct methods of wearing them", it shows the woman wearing an adaptation of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps WAAC blouse and Army "overseas" cap, even though there are no amendments authorizing it. This followed the Service's move toward the military styling men's belted coat, etc.
This decision must have come soon after the issuance of the regulations, since there are no known contemporary photographs of women wearing either the "fatigue" jacket or WAAC hat, although, there are several contemporary images depicting women wearing the "WAAC" blouse and overseas cap. While color photography had been around for some time, the majority of photographs were taken in black and white.
Her coat WAAC is of a very dark green similar to Army officer's coats while her overseas cap appears to be about five shades lighter. This variance does not show up in an earlier black and white image.
But now, after years of experience, the uniform is the very recognizable gray shirt, green trousers and distinctive hat for both women and men that we come to look for when we first pull into a national park, memorial or historic site. Our National Park Service uniform which we wear with pride does command the respect of our fellow citizens. Attractive part of content. In modern times, this hat has been popularized by the U. In the absence of an advisory council, a field employee will be appointed from the discipline. He always kept talking about this. Thank YOU for the meal!!
Park service uniforms. Aramark Towels
Breeches and Blouses (U.S. National Park Service)
Uniforms are funny things. They provide a standardized form of dress and a common identity for their wearers. They represent the ideals and goals of the organizations they represent—both to the members of that organization and to broader society. They can be associated with the best aspects of an organization, or the worst. Uniforms are used by military and non-military organizations, including the National Park Service. The park service has used its uniforms well over the years. Certainly there are all sorts of factors that have helped make the park service successful.
The park service has managed to successfully graft its military antecedents onto a civilian organization and celebrate those antecedents in a progressive manner. The association of the national parks with a positive military ethos, at times and circumstances where that association has steadily built support from the American public, has worked well. I know, the U. The park service has never been a branch of the military, but it does have close connections with certain iconographic military units that go back to the 19 th century.
In the s, in the first Western parks such as Yosemite and Yellowstone, long before the creation of the park service, units of the U. Cavalry—including the famous Buffalo soldiers—had to be sent to the parks to protect them from loggers or ranchers who were intent on doing harm to the newly protected environment. These cavalry units got a fair bit of press attention in their day. In the public mind, the parks became associated with their military protectors.
Olive drab uniforms, including the iconic flat hat or Stetson, were incorporated into a formal Park Service uniform code in These new park rangers had to be clearly identifiable in the field, so a uniform of some sort was necessary. And that uniform had to practical and hard-wearing, so military patterns would be a natural source of inspiration. Mather clearly intended for his new corps of rangers to be considered the spiritual heirs of the national parks, the men who would take over the protection of these pristine spaces.
That connection has survived to the present day. While the cavalry association set the tone for the military connection with Western parks, a different military-derived dynamic was taking shape on the East Coast.
These battlefields, and their associated national military cemeteries, were—and are—regarded as sacred ground. Over time, it was the park service and its uniformed rangers who became associated in the minds of the American people as the guardians and interpreters of that sacred ground. Which gets me to the rangers themselves. So from a visual standpoint, the Class A gray and green ranger uniform of today looks basically the same as that of a half-century ago. And, given the color scheme, it continues to resemble military dress patterns.
The park service uniform, on the other hand, continues to look pretty good. And it continues to link the service, in the minds of visitors, with its military origins, but in a positive way.
Four: As with the military, the uniform is a guarantee of a basic level of service and competence. Drawing on the previous three factors, park rangers have developed over the years and decades a level of trust and competence that in the mind of the public is tied intimately to the uniform. Crucially, as the park service developed its interpretive mission, it eschewed a one-size-fits-all, top-down approach that favored one side against another, or one story over another.
Park rangers have long been given wide latitude to tell the stories of their historical resources. Rangers come from all walks. Rangers in Civil War parks, for example, come from South and North, East and West, country and city; they are also white, black, Hispanic, and Asian though to be honest they are still mainly white. Instead they are charged with becoming experts in their fields.
They research intensively the relevant history and background, and in so doing find ways to tell these stories that are historically accurate of course, but also intensely human and devoid of triumphalism. In short, these men and women sew themselves into the rich tapestry of the parks they make their professional homes, and they communicate that love of history to the visitors who come to hear them speak.
Visitors thus identify the rangers as individuals connected to the story of that park, rather than representatives of a distant, faceless bureaucracy. A goal of park rangers around the country is to tread the fine line between being representatives of a large federal government agency, yet at the same time professing a love of their park and a loyalty to the history of their park.
This is a duality that would be familiar to serving military members, who realize that their uniform advertises their role to the wider world—and to the taxpayers and citizens whose support they must have.
They too have to tread a line between representing a huge government system and respectfully serving the people in whose name that system exists. Perhaps that is why the military, like the National Park Service, remains highly admired and respected in a country where public trust in so many of our professions has been eroded in recent years.
All this has helped the National Park Service maintain the respect and admiration of a large majority of visitors to the parks. Peter Hildebrand Clothes make the ranger: National Park Service uniforms serve a vital need.
Made to Measure , spring. Dwight T. Pitcaithley A history of the National Park Service. Joseph L. Wallace Stegner Page Stegner. New York: Henry Holt and Company. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Sources: Peter Hildebrand Share this: Twitter Facebook.
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