Professor Develops Unparalleled Digital Collection of National Park Service Materials

For over thirty years, Harry Butowsky worked as a historian for the National Park Service  while teaching part-time for the Department of History and Art History.  After he retired in 2012, he began a second career of sorts:  as curator of The National Park Service History E-Library, a digital archive of materials relating to the history of the park service. 

Dr. Butowsky has collected over 35,000 items over the years.  The site features a wide range of brochures, reports, and studies that provide unparalleled access to the history of the National Park Services.  Those materials include, for example, a 1941 brochure to Shenandoah National Park; an exhaustively detailed 1946 study on the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War Two; and a variety of old and new NPS reports on such topics as historic preservation and environmental impact.  The website has found a large and loyal following, attracting over 40,000 visitors per month. Brian Platt, the chair of the History and Art History Department, remarks, “This website is an impressive accomplishment.  The National Park Service is a useful lens on many different aspects of American history.  In assembling these materials, Dr. Butowsky has provided to the American public not simply a valuable research tool, but an important civic resource.”