The Records of the Office of the Superintendent Collection represents 15 accessions, which were deposited by various superintendent’s
office staff members from 1991 to 2012. The collection contains reports, correspondence, appointment calendars, meeting notes,
case files, project planning documents, budget spreadsheets, oversized maps and plans, black and white photographs, color
photographs, Polaroid photographs, and electronic and magnetic media (VHS tapes, U-Matic tapes, a cassette tape, and floppy
Yosemite National Park was set aside by Congress in 1890. Yosemite was administered under a series of military superintendents
until the creation of the National Park Service in 1916, a civilian agency charged with management of the national parks.
The first superintendent in Yosemite under National Park Service administration, Washington B. Lewis, was appointed in 1916.
Between 1928 and 1952, five men served after Lewis’ tenure. The Yosemite Archives does not hold the records of the pre-NPS
years of park management. Early records of the office are located in the National Archives, Record Group 79.7.17, covering
the years1910 through 1953.
The Records of the Office of the Superintendent represents an assortment of files deposited in the Yosemite Research Library
and later transferred to the Yosemite Archives. The earliest documents in the collection are the annual and monthly reports.
These reports were generated by Yosemite’s superintendents and division chiefs for the NPS director and provide succinct accounts
of the park’s priorities, programs, major initiatives, activities, and accomplishments. Originally part of the park central
files, the reports cross two different filing systems and were transferred to the Research Library in the 1970s because of
the frequency of research use by park staff. The records have been placed in the Office of the Superintendent Records Collection
to reflect the office of origin.
The body of the collection represents records released to the Yosemite Research Library and Yosemite Archives from 1991 to
2012. In 1991, files previously stored in the Mail and Files room of the Administration Building were deemed inactive or unnecessary
to the operation of the Office of the Superintendent were transferred to the Research Library for addition to the park archives.
As administrations changed with the arrival of new superintendents, older files were transferred to the Research Library.
The records were sorted and boxed by the Mail and Files clerk, superintendent’s secretary, administration officer, management
assistant, information specialist, and Hetch Hetchy Program manager; a former superintendent returned one small group of records
by U.S. Postal Service to Yosemite. The records remained stored in the “museum attic” of the Valley District Building until
they were transported to the Yosemite Archives storage facility in El Portal in 1998, where they were placed on shelves, awaiting
the attention of archivists.
One of the major functions of the Office of the Superintendent is the overall management of the park. The process of designing
a long-range conceptual management plan was initiated in 1968 with the conception of the Master Plan, which was ultimately
rejected by the Department of the Interior (1974). A six-year planning process which emphasized public involvement was initiated
and resulted in the General Management Plan (GMP). Records from the Office of the Superintendent relating specifically to
the development of the Master Plan and General Management Plan are found in Collection 1004 Environmental Planning and Compliance
Records (YOSE 229582).
Management plans developed after 1980, including the Merced River Comprehensive Management Plan (1999-2013) and Tuolumne River
Plan (2005-2013), were intended to further the implementation of the GMP and have been overseen by the Office of the Superintendent.
The administrative workload of the many implementation plans, management plans, and flood recovery projects led to the creation
of the Office of Strategic Planning and Partnerships.
As stated in a July 2001 memo to the superintendent from the Chief of Strategic Planning Palmer “Chip” Jenkins, the role and
function of the office was to conduct and coordinate strategic planning; land use planning; transportation planning; park-wide
and site-specific conceptual planning; responsibility for park-wide environmental and historic resource compliance associated
with planning; responsibility for establishing and maintaining relationships with local communities, officials and institutions;
and to develop alternative fund- raising with partners, such as the Yosemite Fund.
An important activity within the Office of the Superintendent is the Hetch Hetchy Program, which coordinates with the City
and County of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in the management of the water and power supply to the Bay Area. The
files of the City Program manager/Hetch Hetchy Program manager document the development and streamlining of the City Program,
focusing primarily on the coordination of funding and projects.