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Horace Albright

Horace Albright (1890–1987)

Albright, as much as his boss and mentor Stephen Mather, was responsible for molding the national parks into a unified system after the creation of the National Park Service in 1916.

Horace Albright, Yellowstone National Park, 1919 Add to Scrapbook

Horace Albright, Yellowstone National Park, 1919

Stephen Mather was the first director of the National Park Service. He used his wealth and political connections to take the national park idea in important new directions.

Horace Albright served as the first assistant director of the National Park Service under Stephen Mather. A Berkeley graduate, he had arrived in Washington so poor he wore a borrowed suit and took a room at the local YMCA. Like his boss, Albright had become enthusiastic about national parks because of a personal encounter with John Muir. But he was already planning to return home to California to practice law when Mather arrived in Washington; his new boss persuaded him to stay on.

Stephen Mather and Horace Albright, Yellowstone National Park, 1923 Add to Scrapbook

Stephen Mather and Horace Albright, Yellowstone National Park, 1923

Horace Albright, Grand Teton National Park Add to Scrapbook

Horace Albright, Grand Teton National Park

Albright filled in as acting director while Mather was ill during the early years of the NPS. He also served as superintendent of Yellowstone National Park from 1919 to 1929, before officially taking over as the second director of the National Park Service from 1929 to 1933.

Albright, as much as his boss and mentor Stephen Mather, was responsible for molding the national parks into a unified system after the creation of the National Park Service in 1916. Many policies initiated by Albright, such as historic preservation, are still being practiced in the parks.

He was personally involved in the creation of Zion National Park and even more responsible for the creation and then expansion of Grand Teton National Park.

After leaving the Park Service, Albright served as president of the United Stated Potash Company.

Next bio: George Melendez Wright

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

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Untold Stories

Untold Stories

Discover the "hidden" stories of the national parks that explore the role of minorities in the creation and protection of the parks.

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THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA is a co-production of

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