For those interested in the history of the conception, organization and operation of Mammoth Cave National Park, WKU’s Special Collections Library offers two important collections of primary source material: the Max B. Nahm Collection, about which we have previously blogged, and the Mammoth Cave National Park Association (MCNPA) Collection.
Incorporated in 1925 for the purpose of persuading Congress to pass enabling legislation for a national park at Mammoth Cave, the MCNPA worked closely with the Kentucky National Park Commission to acquire the minimum acreage needed for the park and to raise funds for project expenses. Prior to 1941, the MCNPA was concerned with managing the caves and associated hotels, building roads and infrastructure, fending off opposition to the project, and convincing politicians at the state and federal level to remain committed to the goal of a national park. After some 48,000 acres were assembled and the National Park Service took over the park in 1941, the MCNPA assumed a new role as a non-profit advocacy group, providing input on environmental, educational, and preservation issues affecting Mammoth Cave.
The Mammoth Cave National Park Association Collection at WKU’s Special Collections Library includes meeting minutes, correspondence, reports, advertisements, and clippings covering most of the MCNPA’s history. A detailed finding aid for the collection can be downloaded here. For other resources on Mammoth Cave, search TopScholar and KenCat.