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A Story in Herself: Isabelle Story and a letter to Stephen T. Mather

In Steve Mather of the National Parks, Robert Shankland writes “During the whole germination period, the Geological Survey, “the mother of all bureaus,” helped out magnificently…it gave Mather, for his Washington office, a pair of willing workers who are still with the Park Service.  One, Arthur E. Demaray…The other acquisition, Isabelle Story, has risen, but dint of her devotion and manifest abilities as a writer and administrator, to Editor-in-Chief…”


In a January 1929, Isabelle Story sent a letter to Stephen Mather, in part writing…


“…I’m sure all the Park Service people agree with me that your leaving is a distinct personal loss to each and every one of us.  Your marvelous enthusiasm and unselfish spirit have been an inspiration to us all, both in Washington and in the field…Please tell Mrs. Mather that I’m going to miss seeing her ever so much …Mother joins me in regards to you both and the very best of good wishes…”


Excerpts from the National Park Service website, tell us more of this ground-breaking and ceiling-breaking woman…

“…A woman of remarkable achievement when women occupied the sidelines more often than the playing field, she stood shoulder to shoulder with Horace Albright and other NPS giants during the founding years…


 …She transferred to the National Park Service as a clerk in the Office of the Secretary on July 10, 1916, about six weeks before the NPS was created…In 1930 Story became the first woman division chief, supervising up to 50 employees in the Division of Publications. She wrote speeches for DOI officials and prepared a booklet for the Colonial Over-Seas International Exposition in Paris in 1931 that earned her a medal from the French government.  She became the first NPS editor-in-chief in 1934…Isabelle Story's whirlwind with the National Park Service continued until retirement in 1954.”

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