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Colorado State receives Park Service collection
October 05, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

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Courtesy Photo Ken Mabery of the Scotts Bluff National Monument was joined Colorado State University archivist Linda Meyer when a collection of books was presented to the university.

Ken Mabery, superintendent at Scotts Bluff National Monument, was in Fort Collins, Colo. last week to present a collection of 3,000+ documents on the National Park Service to Colorado State University.
“I’ve been collecting books and memorabilia about the National Park Service my whole career,” Mabery said. “My father handed down a few items to me that date back to the late 1940s and his career as a ranger.”

In addition to his own collection, Mabery was willed another collection from a friend and fellow ranger upon the friend’s death. That brought the collection to about 2,000 volumes.

“The two of use had always set as a goal of getting the material into a research collection at a university,” Mabery said. “I was trying to wrap this up and move onto other projects, so I put out a notice in two of our employee organizations. About 25 more Park Service employees came forward to donate more material for the collection.”

Those employees contributed another 1,000 documents, bringing the collection to about 3,200 volumes and about a file cabinet full of personal papers.

“We looked at a number of universities that had a connection to the National Park Service,” Mabery said. “CSU has a long tradition of turning out park rangers from their graduates. When we approached them last April, they said they’d love to have the collection, sight unseen.”

The collection includes about 115 linear feet of bookshelf space, with another three feet of juvenile materials, all related to the mission of the National Park Service.

“I was able to inventory every book in the collection that was autographed by the author,” he said. “And we included donation slips in every book that donated in the past six months.”

One of the items in the collection was a history of Mabery’s involvement with the Republic of Georgia in establishing their national park system. Others include history of the national parks, ranger skills and tales and juvenile fiction about the life of park rangers, some of them endorsed the Boy Scouts of America.

“This collection was built by Park Service employees, so we concentrated on their perspective,” Mabery said. “One two-volume, three-ring binder set was done by a ranger back in 1953 on the history of rangers, dating back to early England. An 18-page pamphlet was published later, but this is the only manuscript of the complete work.”

Over the years, the collection has traveled with Maybery to his various posts with the National Park Service. Most recently, the materials were stored in the basement of the visitors’ center at Scotts Bluff National Monument.

“It’s good to know we’re leaving a legacy for future generations,” he said. “It also feels good to get the basement cleaned out.”
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