Boston Park Rangers Program, 1981-1988.
The late 1970s and early 1980s saw and upswing in violence and vandalism in Boston, which led to a subsequent drop-off in visitation to city parks. In response the Massachusetts Association for Olmsted Parks, The National Association for Olmsted Parks, Friends of the Public Garden and Common, and the Arnold Arboretum collaborated to create the Boston Park Ranger Program.
Terms of Access
This collection is open for research. Researchers seeking to examine archival materials are strongly encouraged to make an appointment. The Director, or an office of origin, may place restrictions on the use of some or all of its records. The extent and length of the restriction will be determined by the Director, office of origin, and the Archivist and will be enforced equally for all researchers.
The copyright is held by The President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Arnold Arboretum Archives of Harvard University. The copyright on some materials in the collection may be held by the original author or the author's heirs or assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining written permission from the holder(s) of copyright and the Arnold Arboretum Archives prior to publishing any quotations or images from materials in this collection.
Photocopies may be made at the discretion of the Arnold Arboretum Archives staff. Permission to make photocopies does not constitute permission to reproduce or publish materials outside the bounds of the fair use guidelines.
The bulk of the materials consist of administrative materials including board minutes budgets and correspondence, fundraising and programming materials, public relations material, newspaper clippings, photographs and a videotape.
The late 1970s and early 1980s saw and upswing in violence and vandalism in Boston, which led to a subsequent drop-off in visitation to city parks. Responding to the growing concern for Boston's parklands, in 1982, under the aegis and management of the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, the Massachusetts Association for Olmsted Parks, The National Association for Olmsted Parks, Friends of the Public Garden and Common, and the Arnold Arboretum collaborated to create the Boston Park Ranger Program. The concept of park rangers originated in the nineteenth century with Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted advised that there be a force of ‘Park Keepers’ to patrol the parks in an effort to prevent vandalism and to encourage the wise use of the City’s parks.
The Boston Park Rangers program was based on the urban ranger program in New York City and operated seasonally from 1982 until 1988. During the first year, Boston Park Rangers patrolled the Boston Common, the Public Garden, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, and the Arnold Arboretum. That first year the Boston Park Ranger Mounted Unit, which was established through a coordinated effort with the Boston Police Department and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, patrolled the Arboretum on horseback. In the following years the Ranger program was expanded to include Franklin Park, Jamaica Pond and the Back Bay Fens.
The Mounted Park Rangers patrol all nine parks in the Emerald Necklace: Boston Garden, Boston Common, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Back Bay Fens, the Riverway, Olmsted Park, Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum and Franklin Park and have been supported, in part, by The Friends of the Boston Park Rangers Mounted Unit which was formed in 2010. The Park Rangers Program provides year round security and safety, visitor services, resource management and interpretive programming not only in the nine Emerald Necklace parks, but also in Boston’s historic burying grounds, neighborhood parks and playgrounds.
The Records of the Boston Park Rangers Program is organized in three series with Series I divided into seven subseries. Series I: Administrative records and correspondence: Subseries I:General Records and Correspondence; Subseries II: Massachusetts Association for Olmsted Parks; Subseries III: Fundraising; Subseries IV: Advisory Board Minutes; Subseries V: Programming Materials; Subseries VI: Public Relations; Subseries VII: Budget and Expenses. Series II: Ranger program background and proposal materials. Series III: Miscellaneous materials
The material was assembled by Arboretum staff who worked on the creation and implementation of the program including the Director, Peter Ashton, his assistant, Wendy Marks, and Kate Nixon, the Arboretum’s Public Relations Officer. The collection was transferred from the Arnold Arboretum’s departmental holdings to the Arboretum’s Archives in 1989.
Processing Information note
Processed March 2001, Lisa Pearson; revised 2006, 2012 Sheila Connor
- Boston Park Rangers Program records : Guide.
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Arnold Arboretum Archives Repository
The Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library is a specialized collection devoted to the study of temperate woody plants. We collect works on botany, horticulture, floras, urban forestry and taxonomy. The library contains more than 25,000 volumes and 40,000 photographs, and includes an archive that both documents the Arboretum's history and is a repository for 19th, 20th, and 21st century horticultural and botanical collections.
Jamaica Plain MA 02130 USA