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And don’t forget to send me a postcard… A remembrance of the Haynes’ National Park photo shops.

In a letter to Stephen Mather NPS Superintendent John Roberts White writes, ”… It was good to see you even in the movies which were shown at Haynes’ studio…”  A look at the NPS site tells us that the Haynes family was a leading and foresighted concessionaire, not just at Yellowstone, but at a number of National Parks.   From the site…


“As leaders in concessions development in Yellowstone from 1884 to 1962, Frank Jay Haynes and his son Jack Ellis Haynes constructed many buildings for their enterprises. The stores at Old Faithful (1927) and in Mammoth Hot Springs (1929) were most important to the primary Haynes business of taking, developing, and selling photographs. By helping Yellowstone gain international recognition for its natural wonders, the Haynes’ photography promoted both tourism in the West and the idea of a national park.


F. Jay Haynes built stores on land leased in Mammoth Hot Springs in 1884 and at Old Faithful in 1897. After he retired, his son Jack took over the business, and in 1927 built stores, called photo or picture shops, in the Mammoth and Fishing Bridge campgrounds, and a larger facility near what was then the Old Faithful Auto Camp. Eventually, 13 Haynes stores were opened in hotels or their own buildings.”


The Haynes postcard business thrived in an era when almost every vacationer faithfully sent postcards to friends and family.   The Haynes family produced an estimated 55 million Yellowstone National Park postcards over the course of seven decades, a remarkable number considering that the cards were sold solely within the park.

Interestingly, another National Park Service site detailing the first set of National Park postage stamps, states “…it’s been reported that National Park Service Director Stephen T. Mather first called for a series of national park stamps in 1925.”  In 1934, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes sent a set of the first ten stamps to Jane Floy Mather, Stephen’s widow. (See blog: Ten Stamps. One Special Delivery.)  The five-cent stamp commemorating Yellowstone was based on a photo taken by Jack Ellis Haynes.


And did Stephen Mather ever meet Jack Haynes?  The photo below answers that question.



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