Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation

Protecting and Preserving All Life -- By Extending Human Vision

National Park Service Portfolio

Robert Sterling Yard 

      Robert Sterling Yard was a man comfortable with the world in which he lived.  
    Born in 1861 in Haverstraw, New York, Yard graduated in 1883 from Princeton; he worked as a reporter for the New York Sun and later as editor at the New York Herald.              From 1900 to 1915, he served in the publishing business, variously as editor-in-chief of The Century Magazine and Sunday editor of the New York Herald. From 1915 to 1919, Yard served in the Department of the Interior as national parks publicity chief and later as chief, Educational Division, of the new National Park Service. Elected executive secretary, National Parks Association (now NPCA) at the organizational meeting in 1919, he also served as editor, National Parks Bulletin, from 1919 to 1936, and at age 76 became a founding member and president of the Wilderness Society, directing that group's activities until his last illness. He died in 1945.
        It was a omfortable life, filled with pleasant moments and a useful relationship with those in power who had resources which would not have, otherwise, been available to him.

Robert Sterling Yard

        Yard produced the Portfolios for tne National Park Service and he was too well educated not to know they wxh ere not responsible for the swelling of support which resulted in the ratification of the NPS by Congress.
         Yard was a man of the media in the beginning years of Edward Bernays.  Ignorance was not possible.  But he was not particularly creative or ambitious or even psychopathic.  He went along to go along.  And the proof of this is the 'coffee table' books he turned out, one of which you see below.   How would this kind of printed material have impacted a population which took the nascent film industry from a handful of theaters to tens of thousands in twenty years?  As you saw with Mather's effort to have Pillsbury show his films and give his lectures across the country, starting in 1915 with the presentation to the National Press Club in Washington D. C., Mather knew what he needed.   Although the fact Pillsbury was a highly successful film maker has been intentionally supressed, this was the fact.  By 1919 Pillsbury was licensing his films for foreign distribution to Pathe, Paramount and Universal. 

         But Mather also knew Pillsbury's goals were very different from his own.  He would have to get rid of him, when this was feasible. 
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This is from the Wiki on Yard 

The text below is a useful example of propaganda.  

"To the great and lasting benefit of the national parks and their owners, the American people, 47-year-old Robert Sterling Yard. newspaperman and publisher, was ready when the call came to publicize those national parks. A friend of Stephen Mather since the 1890s and Mather's best man at his wedding, he, like Mather, had long enjoyed the outdoors prior to the start of his public service career. Upon arriving in Washington in early 1915. Bob Yard quickly absorbed the intense dedication which was creating a bureau to protect America's national parks. At the National Park Conference in March of 1915, Yard affirmed his bond to the cause of the parks, saying, "I, the treader of dusty city streets, boldly claim common kinship with you of the plains, the mountains, and the glaciers."
      His work proved the depth of his conviction. In 1915 he assembled The National Parks Portfolio for distribution to 270,000 opinionmakers throughout the country, helped generate numerous articles on national parks in publications around the nation, and wrote pamphlets and articles to focus public attention on the parks. His intense efforts with the publishing world he knew so well resulted in more than one thousand articles on national park subjects between 1917 and 1919. Forced to leave the government in 1919, owing to a law prohibiting supplementing pay of federal employees, Yard, whose meager salary had been augmented by Stephen Mather since 1915, received Director Mather's final financial support in creating the National Parks Association.
          On a cold January day in 1930, Robert Sterling Yard had stood with National Park Service Director Horace Albright at the grave of the recently deceased Stephen Mather. Albright remembered: "We rededicated ourselves to the ideals of our friend as long as we might be spared."
           Bob Yard applied that dedication to the end of his highly productive life."

​         Mather needed someone to point to and he needed printed material to pass out to Congress.  But the popular support, Mather knew, would come from Pillsbury's films, which allowed Msther to associate himself with values he in no wise shared.