Throughout the history of Yellowstone National Park, women have held important and storied roles in it’s preservation and perseverance. In honor of International Women’s Month, here are two remarkable women who have contributed to the wonder and legacy of the world’s first national park.
In 1925, Marguerite Lindsley became first full-time permanent female park ranger not only in Yellowstone, but in the National Park System. Lindsley had a unique childhood — she was actually born and raised in Yellowstone! Lindsley grew up in Mammoth where her father first worked for the Army and then as interim Superintendent of Yellowstone.
Among other duties, Lindsley worked as a seasonal naturalist while completing her undergraduate studies at Montana State University. When she graduated with her masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania, she was hired on full-time. As the first permanent female ranger, Lindsley faced adversity.
Not everyone felt that women should hold positions in the park. As Lindsley wrote, “many still think that women’s work should be inside and it is a problem sometimes to satisfy everyone even tho [sic] I may be qualified for the work in the field.” As the first female ranger, Lindsley also had to design her own uniform!
Read more about Lindsley on the National Park Service blog.
Herma Albertson Baggley
Herma Albertson Baggley worked as Yellowstone National Park’s first female permanent naturalist in the 1930s. Baggley left an extensive legacy when she passed away in 1981. She co-wrote the still-referenced guide Plants of Yellowstone National Park and was the first person to identify the rubber boa snake!
Baggley was born in Iowa and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Idaho, graduating with a masters in botany. Baggley first came to Yellowstone as a seasonal employee in 1929 and 1930. In 1931 she became the park’s first female full-time naturalist ranger.
As Baggley wrote in her Plants of Yellowstone National Park guide: “Indeed, it is difficult to imagine what a drab place this world would be, were it not beautified by the infinite variety of forms of plant life.”
Read more about Baggley on the National Park Service blog.
Learn more about the history of women in Yellowstone in Elizabeth Watry’s Women in Wonderland book, available for purchase in the Yellowstone Forever store.