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Papers of Jean H. Rodeck

Identifier: AJHR

Scope and Contents

This collection offers a look into the planning processes of national parks as they relate to the creation of public display and public use within the guidelines of the Department of the Interior. As a curator, Rodeck created interpretive plans, developed processes for curation, and supervised the efforts of other NPS employees, and her papers reflect these responsibilities. Her journals, detailing her life and work from 1956 through 2001, provide a unique perspective of the National Park Service through the eyes of a woman career employee. Material types include bound journals, correspondence, reports, photographs, publications, artifacts, and a born-digital oral history.


  • Creation: 1944-2012
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1961-1980

Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, the collection is stored off-site, so advance notice is recommended.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


Jean Helen Rodeck began permanent employment with the National Park Service (NPS) in 1966 as regional curator for the Southwest Region based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She served as Alaska’s first regional curator from 1984 to 1995 and retired in 2002 from the position of superintendent of the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado.

Born in 1934 in Boulder, Colorado to Hugo G. and Helen E. Rodeck, Jean and her older sister Anne grew up in a family heavily involved in museum work and visits to the national parks. Dr. Hugo Rodeck was curator and then director of the museum at the University of Colorado-Boulder for 38 years, and from a very young age Jean learned from her father to excel at carpentry and to create interesting background exhibits.

Rodeck studied art at Mills College in Oakland, California, and finished a degree in art and anthropology at the University of Arizona in 1956. She served in seasonal assignments at Rocky Mountain National Park during the summers of 1955 and 1956. After graduation, she filled a nine-month contract preparing exhibits as an interim assistant preparator at the Florida State Museum in Gainesville, and also worked at the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Sumter County, Florida.

In 1958 she was hired as curator of collections by the NPS Western Museum Laboratory in San Francisco and spent three years creating exhibits throughout the western United States. Following a brief marriage to park ranger Paul L. Swearingen and the birth of their daughter, Lynn Swearingen, Rodeck did NPS seasonal work at Yellowstone National Park before accepting an offer for a full-time position as regional curator for the Santa Fe area in 1966.

Jean Rodeck was promoted to interpretive planner at the Denver Service Center in 1973, a position that included several special assignments to Alaska. She moved to Redwood National Park in California in 1979 to serve as a management assistant, and five years later became Alaska’s first regional curator. Following that assignment, Rodeck accepted the position of superintendent of the Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado, from which she retired in 2002.


13.5 linear feet (9 record cartons)

Language of Materials



Jean H. Rodeck (Swearingen)(b.1934) began permanent employment with the National Park Service in 1966 as regional curator for the Southwest Region, based in Santa Fe, and retired in 2002 as superintendent of the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado. This collection features Rodeck's journals, correspondence, memorabilia, and oral history, as well as newsletters and publications related to her lengthy NPS career.


The collection consists of 7 series in 9 boxes: Series 1: Journals, 1956-2002 and undated; Series 2: Correspondence, 1964-2000 and undated; Series 3: Travel documents, 1966-1976; Series 4: NPS project files, 1963-2002 and undated; Series 5: Memorabilia, 2009 and undated; Series 6: Publications, 1925-2010; Series 7: Oral history, 2012 (electronic file)


Jean Rodeck donated her oral history and publications to the CSU Libraries on October 15, 2012, and donated her journals, correspondence, and other papers on July 10, 2013.

Related Collections

The Agricultural and Natural Resources Archive also preserves the papers of other NPS employees, including John N. Albright, George and Herma Baggley, Jim Benedict, James M. Brady, W. Eugene Cox, Margaret A. Johnston, Joseph R. Miller, and Peggy Froeschauer Nelson.

Jean Rodeck also participated in an oral history in 2015 for the Alaska Women in National Park Service history project


Processing was completed in November 2023. All materials were re-housed in acid-free folders and boxes. Published books without annotations by Rodeck were removed and added to the National Park Service Employees Special Collection.

Guide to the Papers of Jean H. Rodeck
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Linda M. Meyer and Rolf Christophersen
Copyright 2024
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA