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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

  • William J. Murtagh – 1967[7]-1979[8][self-published source]
  • Jerry L. Rogers – approximately 1981-1994
  • Carol D. Shull – Acting Keeper 1979–1980, Keeper 1994–2005, Interim Keeper 2009 to January 3, 2015
  • Jan Snyder Matthews – 2005–2009
  • Stephanie Toothman – Keeper January 4, 2015 – June 2, 2017
  • J. Paul Loether - Keeper June 3, 2017 – June 25, 2018
  • Joy Beasley[9][circular reference](NPS Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science) - Keeper July 2018 – current