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Theodore R. McCann papers

 Collection 0183-MDHC
Theodore (Tedd) R. McCann (1929-1996) spent most of his professional career working for the National Park Service on a variety of projects, but specializing in urban parks. His papers include correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs and slides, management plans, drawings, meeting minutes, and other planning materials relating primarily to the development of urban parks. Projects that McCann worked on include the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey; Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco; Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, Ohio; Lowell National Historical Park, Massachusetts; Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Atlanta; Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, near Los Angeles; and Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty, New York. Materials relating to McCann's study of President Roosevelt's summer home in Warm Springs, Georgia, and of the Rockefeller Estate in Pocantico Hills, New York are also included. The Women's Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, New York was McCann's last project before he retired in 1984. The collection also includes an oral history of McCann conducted in 1989 about his role in the National Park Service, personal files, McCann's handwritten notes proposing future projects, and ideas for speeches.

Dates

  • 1945-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1968-1989

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

19.50 Linear Feet

2 Film Reels ; 16mm

Scope and Content of Collection

The Theodore McCann papers consist of the working papers, correspondence, manuscripts, and other related materials of McCann, a park planner with the National Park Service. The material dates from 1945 to 1989, with most of the collection dating from 1968 to 1982. The bulk of the collection concerns studies conduced for the National Park Service, particularly ones that address urban parks. These project files include correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs and slides, management plans, drawings, meeting minutes, and other planning materials, in addition to the final printed reports. The remainder of the collection consists of personal files, McCann's handwritten notes proposing future projects, and ideas for speeches. The collection also includes an oral history of McCann conducted in 1989 about his role in the National Park Service.

Biography

Theodore (Tedd) McCann was born in Jeannette, Pennsylvania on May 29, 1929. In 1940, the family moved to Michigan and he graduated from Pontiac High School in 1947. In 1948 he went to Chicago to study art. After serving with the Air Force during the Korean War, he attended the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC and completed his artistic studies at the George Washington University with a bachelor's degree in art history and painting in 1958.

McCann was a graphics designer with the Bureau of Reclamation in the Department of the Interior from 1957 to 1960 and then spent three years as head of his own house restoration business in Washington. He then joined the National Park Service in 1963 as an art director. He helped put together a graphics and cartography unit in the publications office and received a gold medal from the Federal Design Assembly as the best in government.

McCann's interest in urban parks began in 1967 when National Park Service Director George Hartzog created the Office of Urban Affairs. McCann worked on initial plans for the Wolf Trap Park, Virginia; Georgetown Waterfront and Fort Lincoln, Washington DC; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area; and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, St. Louis, Missouri. Urban parks became a special concern for McCann and were the focus of the remainder of his career in the National Park Service. In 1968, in the wake of the riots in Washington, DC, he and designer Russell Wright conceived of and developed the "Summer in the Parks" program, which provided cultural and recreational activities in parks throughout the region.

In October 1968, McCann was promoted to Assistant Director of the Division of Urban Park Programs for the National Park Service. He served on the planning team that created the plan and legislation to establish the Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey. He subsequently served as head of planning for other new urban national parks, including the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco and the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area between Akron and Cleveland, Ohio. He also participated in the planning of the Lowell National Historical Park, Massachusetts; Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Atlanta; Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, near Los Angeles; and Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty, New York. He conducted a study of President Roosevelt's summer home in Warm Springs, Georgia, and in 1971 took a leave of absence to conduct a study of the Rockefeller Estate in Pocantico Hills, New York. In the 1970s and 1980s, he undertook a study of potential African American historic sites throughout the country, several of which Congress included in the National Park System. The Women's Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, New York was his last project before he retired in 1984.

McCann was active in many community groups throughout his life. He was one of the founders of Plan Takoma, a neighborhood organization for which he helped develop a comprehensive plan for the area surrounding the proposed Metrorail station. He was also one of the founders of the Takoma Park Folk Festival and served as treasurer of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City and the Takoma Park Horticultural Society.

McCann's first marriage was to Marilyn Hudson, with whom he had three children: Christopher, Carol Lynn and Clair. He married Loretta Neumann in 1985. Tedd McCann died of cardiopulmonary arrest September 12, 1996 at the age of sixty-seven.

Arrangement

The collection is organized as six series.
Series 1
Personal Notes and Correspondence
Series 2
Project Consulting
Series 3
National Park Service Planning
Series 4
Photographs
Series 5
Slides
Series 6
Films

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

In February 1999, Loretta Neumann, wife of Theodore McCann, donated his personal and professional papers to the National Trust for Historic Preservation Library of the University of Maryland Libraries.

Processing Information

The Theodore McCann papers were received in several boxes and much of the material was not in folders, having been separated into general categories based on NPS project studies (Ellis Island, Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area, etc.) by Tedd McCann's wife, Loretta Neumann. The original order of the collection, therefore, was not evident, but the order in which the collection was received was generally maintained, retaining the project groupings. Oversized materials, photographs, and slides were separated from the original files; separation sheets mark the original locations. Materials were transferred to acid-free folders and boxes; all metal (paper clips, staples, and binder clips) was removed; and photographs, slides, and oversized materials were separated into series and/or oversized boxes. The photographs and slides were subsequently placed in the photograph and slide collection. Non-acidic photocopies of newspaper articles replace the original clippings.
Title
Guide to the Theodore R. McCann Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Elizabeth Russey
Date
2002-05-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212