Newton B. Drury

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Newton Drury
Dir04 Drury.jpg
Newton Bishop Drury

(1889-04-09)April 9, 1889
DiedDecember 14, 1978(1978-12-14) (aged 89)
OccupationAdvertising, Director of the National Park Service

Newton Bishop Drury (April 9, 1889 – December 14, 1978) was the fourth director of the American National Park Service and the executive director of the Save the Redwoods League.

Early life[edit]

Newton was born in 1889 in San Francisco, California.[1] He attended the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated in 1912. He served in the U.S. Army Balloon Corps in World War I. The destruction that he witnessed motivated him strongly towards conservation.[2]


In 1919, he and his brother Aubrey formed the Drury Brothers Company, an advertising and public relations agency. That same year, the organizers of the Save the Redwoods League, many of whom knew Drury from the university, asked Drury Brothers to manage the League. Newton Drury became executive secretary in charge of publicity and fund raising, a position he held for twenty years. Drury and the league obtained a six-million dollar bond measure passed to buy California redwood groves.

National Park Service[edit]

Drury with Eleanor Roosevelt at the dedication of Franklin D. Roosevelt's home at Hyde Park, New York, as a national shrine in 1946

Drury declined appointment as NPS Director in 1933, but accepted the job in 1940. He was the first director without prior national park responsibilities, but came with strong conservationist credentials, having served as executive secretary of the Save the Redwoods League in California. During World War II he successfully resisted most demands for consumptive uses of park resources. Less eager than his predecessors to expand the park system, he opposed NPS involvement with areas he judged not to meet national park standards. Differences with Secretary of the Interior Oscar L. Chapman over Chapman's support for dams in Dinosaur National Monument contributed to Drury's resignation in 1951.

After his resignation from the park service Drury accepted the position as head of the California Division of Beaches and Parks. He was instrumental in changing some of the operational policies of the state park system to that similar to the national park system. In particular he dropped the recreational emphasis in summer programming to that of interpretation with a natural history emphasis.


Drury died in December 1978.[3] He received a Pugsley Medal twice, a silver medal in 1940 and a gold medal in 1950. He was board chairman of the Save the Redwoods League at his death.[4]


The Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway is the 9-mile (14 km) long four lane highway through Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in Humboldt County, California, which was completed in 1993, honoring his efforts in the creation of Redwood National and State Parks. As a result of CalTrans move of US Route 101 outside the eastern edge of the park, Old Growth Redwoods within the park will not ever be removed to widen the road. This road, though shorter, is similar in quality to the Avenue of the Giants in Southern Humboldt County. Drury Peak[5] in the Mount San Jacinto State Park, Riverside County, California, is named after him as well.


  1. ^ Becher, A.; Richey, J. (2008). American Environmental Leaders: From Colonial Times to the Present. 1. Grey House Pub. ISBN 9781592371198. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Newton Drury Archived 2010-06-16 at the Wayback Machine". Pugsley Award website. Retrieved on June 14, 2010.
  3. ^ "Newton Drury, Conservationist Who Led Redwood Drive, Dies - Park Named for Him Appointed by Warren - Article -". Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "National Park Service History: Directors of National Park Service". NPS. Retrieved on June 14, 2010.
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Drury Peak
Government offices
Preceded by
Arno B. Cammerer
Director of the National Park Service
Succeeded by
Arthur E. Demaray