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National Geographic’s steady support and three moving recognitions of Stephen Mather

To encourage protection of America’s western natural wonders, Stephen Mather invited a number of influential individuals to join the Mather Mountain Pary of 1915.  Among them was Gilbert H. Grosvenor, the editor of The National Geographic. 


The inclusion was quickly rewarded when Grosvenor devoted the entire April 1916 issue to the “Land of the Best” and encouraged readers to support a Park Service.  A copy was sent to every member of Congress.  These efforts worked, and that same year Grosvenor helped to draft the legislation that would eventually establish the National Park Service.


Years later, Grosvenor wrote the introduction for Robert Shankland’s book, Steve Mather of the National Parks.  In part he wrote, 

“…In this volume Robert Shankland not only chronicles Mr. Mather’s achievements but offers penetrating insight into the man’s love of nature and his deep-seated desire to preserve its more spectacular and awe-inspiring phases for the delight of future generations of Americans…”


In a note to Mrs. Mather, John LaGorce, Vice-President of National Geographic Society wrote:

“…I just know that you and Miss Betty have that fine quality of courage that will keep dear old Steve as no others can.  God bless him.  There isn’t a finer or more unselfish man on earth and every one of his thousands of friends who know of his illness are ’feeling’ for him…”

William Showalter, an Associate Editor of National Geographic, wrote to Stephen…

…Glamorous has been your leadership, magnificent your spirit, sublime your appreciation of an urban-drifting nation’s need…Come back to us with renewed vigor and we will make you realize that you have indeed been a prophet with honor in his own country…”

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