Arthur C. Pillsbury Foundation

Protecting and Preserving All Life -- By Extending Human Vision

  ​Horace Albright – The Cover-Up

Horace Albright said of his feelings about Stephen Mather, many years after Mather's death, the below taken from Albright's book, "The Missing Years " I never referred to Stephen Mather as Steve or even Stephen. He was always "Mr. Mather." That summed up the love and respect I had for the man. He altered my life forever and made me a better man for it. There was an old saying: "These fellas remind me of each other—they're so different." That fit Mr. Mather and me. And yet the longer we were together, the more we melded into one team, an indivisible unit. The relationship we formed in 1914 not only deeply enriched my life, but I believe proved of great significance for our beloved country.

It all began in December 1914. By now I was handling most of the work assigned to Adolph Miller's vacated office as well as tasks in Secretary Lane's office on a regular basis, various interbureau problems, and congressional matters. I also was forming plans to leave Washington permanently when the winter was over."

Albright, although he attempted to protect himself legally, was working for Mather from the earliest days of their acquaintance.  Albright would carry out the cover-up which continues today through the continued conspiracy, present at the founding of the National Park Service.  

Horace Marden Albright

Chapters 15 - 25, a hefty portion of the entire book, outline Albright's lies and cover-up for Mather, collapsed into the same supposed 'nervous-break-down' he assumed while draining off the clients of his former employer, Francis Marion Smith of Pacific Coast Borax. 

Left to carry out the cover-up himself Albright just exactly that as a temporary replacement for Mather.   He shares his pleasure, and that of his wife, who are now enjoying the perks and privileges of the Elite.  At the same time, he reveals how little he understands about the preservationist movement and the very real difference between preserving the natural areas not yet utilized for extraction and recreation and the idea of limiting damage to sensitive eco-systems.  

15.  On My Own, 1917

Conversation between Secretary Lane and Albright 

"When I fell silent at last, he seemed deeply sympathetic and moved by the sadness of the situation. He appeared to roll the facts around in his head and finally asked: "Albright, you know this man better than anyone. Do you think he will ever be well enough to assume his duties back here? Would the strain be too much even if he seems to recover? Should I think about replacing him now?"

I didn't hesitate a minute: "Mr. Secretary, there is no one else like Stephen Mather. I really believe he will recuperate, although no one knows exactly how rapidly, but no one else should take his place unless it is absolutely necessary. There really isn't anyone on earth like him."

He thought about this and said, "Do you think you can replace Mm?"

And I replied: "No, I just said there is only one Stephen Mather. I can certainly keep his place open, can surely do all that is necessary in the foreseeable future to try to obtain the necessary appropriations and to organize the National Park Service. That much I can promise you."

"But, Albright, you have told me repeatedly that you were going to leave the department as soon as a Park Service was created. Now what?"

"Well, that's just not in the cards," I said. "Not until the future of the service can be delineated, started up, and assured that plans Mr. Mather and I have formulated can be realized."

The secretary stood, put out his hand, and said: "We'll let it stand at that for the time being. It certainly isn't my choice to replace Steve, and I hope you will convey this to him until I can do it myself. Go ahead with whatever plans you and Steve have made, but just keep me informed. I'll keep everything you have told me today and what may come up in the future close to my chest."

Albright lied.  He knew perfectly well Mather had committed multiple felonies.  By so doing, he joined with Mather in the ongoing conspiracy, this, itself, a felony.  

16.  "Hoofed Locusts," 1917

Albright runs a campaign against the policy ordered by Secretary Lane.  While the policy, pasturing herds of sheep in National Parks to help the War Effort was horrifying, he clearly was assuming autonomy for the National Park Service, a quasi-military organization.  

Later in this chapter Albright shares the news Mather is improving and also celebrates the death of someone, like David Curry, who had opposed them. "My affairs in Washington were in good shape. Dr. Weisenburg assured me that, although far from well, Mr. Mather had made a successful transition from Lakewood to his own home in Darien and would soon be able to spend the summer in the West. There seemed nothing to hold me any longer in Washington, so Grace and I boarded the train for Colorado, where we spent a week before she headed for California to remain with her folks while I continued my inspection trip. Our visit to Rocky Mountain National Park was a rewarding experience except for Enos Mills.

I should mention that Enos Mills was one of the meanest, most cantankerous, most fascinating men I ever knew. I'm pretty sure I never knew anyone who liked him—maybe admired him, maybe tolerated him.

But no one liked him. Even his brother Joe hadn't talked to him since childhood. Probably it was more that Enos hadn't talked to Joe. They both lived in Estes Park. Both owned hotels. Both wrote about nature. Both hated each other. Someone remarked that Enos Mills "used up friends like typewriter ribbons, a man unhappy without enemies." When Mills died on September 21, 1922, I received a telegram from Roe Emery, who had the transportation concession in Rocky Mountain: "Enos Mills died last night. Ain't nature grand?"  
Of course, David Curry was generally liked and respected, making it easy to see

17.  Summer in the Parks, 1917

18.  Exploring a New World of Parks, 1917

19.  Light at the End of the Tunnel, 1917

20.  Park and Resource Preservation, 1918

21.  A Creed for the Park Service, 1918

And About the 'Creed'

22.  Greater Yellowstone, 1918

23.  "I'm Coming Down to Washington," 1918

24.  A Step Backward, 1918

25.  A New Year and a New Future, 1919

Over the next two years, Albright continued to cope with Mather's erratic and volatile behavior.  The two men set a standard for felonious behavior and a cover-up which continues to this day.  Attempts to misstate and hide Albright's subsequent employment with an extractive industry for which he had no particular qualifications have also continued.  

Albright writes, "I would assume the superintendency of Yellowstone National Park on July 1, 1919, along with a house, official car, and raise in salary to thirty-six hundred dollars per annum. Chester Lindsley would become my assistant superintendent. I would relinquish my tide of assistant director. We agreed that together we would pick out a new assistant director, who would remain in the Washington office constantly so that Mather could also get away most of the time.

Instead, I would be designated assistant to the director. In this capacity, I would continue to oversee all the field operations as well as come to Washington for a few months in the winter when Yellowstone was closed. I would still be responsible for the budget, working up appropriations and testifying about them before the congressional committees, and promoting legislation concerning the parks.

With this settled, Mather wasted no time in outlining things he wanted me to work on until it was time to go to Yellowstone. Then he grinned at me and said, "Horace, I'm going to start your new salary before then, so you'll have a little extra to move on." He arranged this by getting Lane to appoint me as of June 10 and start my new salary on that date.

Before the law shutting off private payments to government workers went into effect on July 1, Mather gave Grace and me a personal check for one thousand dollars. It was an awesome sum to us, and we were eternally grateful to this kind, thoughtful man. His note that accompanied the check read: "You may have to keep your little Washington apartment for a while with some necessities, and Grace can't live with all that old army furniture in Yellowstone. You'll need something better—and a lot more of it—for that huge, old stone barn you're moving into. At least I want a better bed than Brett's iron monster when I come to visit—which will be often!"

Shortly after our agreement was reached, Mr. Mather and I came to a decision about a new assistant director for the Washington office. It was to be Arno B. Cammerer.

In January 0f 1929 Stephen Mather again suffered a break-down which may have included a stroke.  Horace Albright was immediately brought in to replace him and continued as the second Director of the National Park Service until he left to accept the offer of the Vice-Presidency and General Manager for the U.S. Potash Company, a position he retained until 1946.  Some sources set the date of 1956 as his retirement as the President of U. S. Potash Company.  Albright received multiple awards including University of California Alumnus of the Year (1952), American Forestry Association Distinguished Service Award (1968), Audubon Medal (1969), Medal of Freedom (1980);   

Albright died in Van Nuys, California on March 30, 1987.  

More research is needed on the cause which took Albright into the temporary position of Superintendent for Yosemite, dates not available, and his continued interaction with the NPS after he 'left' in 1933 and his other involvements in extractive industries.  

It is clear, however, that Horace Marden Albright engaged in a life-long conspiracy to deceive his employers and violated the rights of thousands of Americans.  Because of the level of harm caused and the deaths resulting, this remains a conspiracy still in place and operating under a shredding shield of lies.   

Stephen Mather  -  Horace Albright  -   Ansel Adams