Today is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. President Woodrow Wilson, a Phi Kappa Psi, signed the National Park Service Organic Act on August 25, 1916. I’d like to tell you about an #amazingsororitywoman named Marguerite “Peg” Lindsley (Arnold). She was the first woman to be hired as a full-time permanent Park Ranger. I “discovered” her only this past weekend as I was searching for something in a 1927 Arrow. This morning, as I was seeking a topic for today’s post, I discovered that today is the Centennial of the Park Service. Sometimes topics and people find me.
Marguerite “Peg” Lindsley, the daughter of Chester A. Lindsley, the Superintendent of Yellowstone Park, was born at Mammoth Hot Springs in 1901. She grew up in Yellowstone. She was home-schooled until she went to Montana State College (now University) in Bozeman. When the Montana Alpha Chapter of Pi Beta Phi was installed on September 30, 1921, she was among its charter members.
During the summers, when she was in school, she served as a Yellowstone Park seasonal worker. She gave tours on the Park’s geology and wildlife. Her post-graduation plans included medical school, but she was not accepted. Instead, she enrolled in program in bacteriology at the University of Pennsylvania. She took a job in a laboratory near Philadelphia.
As fascinating as the work in bacteriology was, she heard the call of Yellowstone and in a move that was uncharacteristic for women of the day, she gathered her pennies and purchased a used Harley Davidson motorcycle equipped with a side-car. She and a friend traveled the 2,500+ miles from Philadelphia to Yellowstone disguised as men. They camped out along the way, too. Remember that in the 1920s, there was no highway system. That trip must have been an adventure!
The Arrow article noted that Lindsley was the first woman to receive the rank of permanent membership in the National Park Service, although a few women had previously served in part-time employment.
On April 17, 1928, she married Everett LeRoy (Ben) Arnold, a National Park Service Ranger, and she had to give up her full-time employment as married women of the day were often required to do. She continued working at Yellowstone on a seasonal basis. The Arnolds had a son. Marguerite Lindsley Arnold died in 1954.
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/