Keeper of the Register

United States federal official involved in historic preservation

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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