Keeper of the Register

The Keeper of the Register (more formally known as the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places) is a National Park Service (NPS) official, responsible for deciding on the eligibility of historic properties for inclusion on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).[1][2]

The Keeper of the Register role was created following the 1966 enactment of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The NHPA declared a national policy focus on preserving significant historic sites, and it has been amended several times since it was first enacted. The NHPA authorized the Secretary of the Interior to maintain a National Register of Historic Places, which has been delegated to the Keeper by the Director of the National Park Service.[3]

The first person to hold the office was William J. Murtagh, whose term ran from 1967 through 1979. The Keeper's authority may be delegated as they see fit.[2] The State Historic Preservation Officer for each state submits nominations to the Keeper. Upon receipt, the Keeper has 45 days to decide whether to add the property to the NRHP.[2][4][5]

The Keeper of the Register role is supported by several regional reviewers, who review submissions for inclusion on the NHRP.[6] This team also is supported by several archaeologists, archivists, and historians.[6]

List of Keepers

# Keeper Term Appointing Director Notes
1[7] William J. Murtagh 1967 - 1979 George B. Hartzog Jr.
Acting[8] Carol D. Shull 1979 - 1981 William J. Whalen III
2 Jerry L. Rogers 1981 - 1994 Russell E. Dickenson
3 Carol D. Shull 1994 - 2005 Roger G. Kennedy
4 Jan Snyder Matthews 2005 - 2009 Fran P. Mainella
Interim Carol D. Shull 2009 - January 3, 2015 Mary A. Bomar
5 Stephanie Toothman January 4, 2015 - June 2, 2017 Jonathan Jarvis
6 J. Paul Loether June 3, 2017 - June 25, 2018 Michael T. Reynolds
7 Joy Beasley July 2018 - Present P. Daniel Smith NPS Associate Director of Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science


  1. ^ Historic Preservation in Juneau - Community Development Department, City and Borough of Juneau
  2. ^ a b c "Code of Federal Regulations: 36 CFR Part 60 National Register of Historic Places". Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2007-04-12.
  3. ^ "Federal Register :: Request Access".
  4. ^ 36 CFR 63 - Eligibility for Inclusion in the National Register
  5. ^ "SHPO Fact Sheet #1: National Register of Historic Places - January 1996, Oklahoma's State Historic Preservation Office". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-04-12.
  6. ^ a b "Contact Us - National Register of Historic Places (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved 2021-03-22.
  7. ^ "William J. Murtagh papers > ArchivesUM". 1923-05-02. Retrieved 2017-11-16.
  8. ^ personal correspondence from Keeper Shull
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