Today’s post was written by David Pfeiffer, Reference Archivist at the National Archives in College Park.
On a gorgeous late summer day in August, RDT2 archivists Joe Schwarz and David Pfeiffer traveled to Shenandoah National Park headquarters near Luray, Virginia, to examine some potentially alienated records at the request of NARA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Our objective was to appraise what turned out to be the office files of Matthias (Matt) Charles Huppuch, a National Park Service Deputy Assistant Director. The records in question measured one linear foot (two archives boxes) that was offered as a donation by his son, Charles Huppuch.
An examination of the records resulted in the decision that the records contain essential evidence relating to the actions of a Federal official, are historically valuable and warrant continued preservation by the National Archives. Records of this type are included in the holdings of the National Archives among the records of the National Park Service (Record Group 79). The records consist of office files from the late 1930’s and were created and accumulated during the daily activities of the Branch of Recreation, Land Planning and State Cooperation of the NPS. Additionally, there were records of the Recreational Demonstration Areas including the Civilian Conservation Corps. In particular, there was a large map showing the Recreational Demonstration Areas in the U.S. Finally, we found several large organizational charts for the branch in the 1930’s. Consequently, we recommended approval of the donation. After taking ownership of the records on behalf of the National Archives, we brought the records back with us for assimilation into their rightful home in RG 79. So, we saved some records from the “dustbin” of history. There is something gratifying in this process!!
During our visit, we had a pleasant conversation with the donor concerning the lifecycle of the records. The records were apparently found in his father’s house after his death. Mr. Huppuch then proposed to donate them to the Shenandoah National Park archives. The archivist there determined that the records more properly belonged to the National Archives and contacted the OIG. Afterwards, we had a short tour of the archives and were shown many photographs of the park, particularly those taken at the dedication of the park by Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 3, 1936.
After visiting the park headquarters, we drove back via the Skyline Drive to Front Royal. Joe had never been on the drive and really enjoyed the views of the Shenandoah Valley. And as the NPS records specialist, it was a “fact finding” drive. It was a long day but we had a blast on our “excellent” adventure.