For Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, who received a copy from the Director of the National Park Service, it was more than a book of photographs, it was an argument: Kings Canyon must be protected. So convinced was Ickes that he took a copy to the White House, and set it in front of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Finally, as the President of the United States looked at this stunning book, capturing the full grandeur of Kings Canyon, Ansel’s argument found purchase. Just two years later, in 1940, Kings Canyon National Park was founded, and today it sees over 600,000 visitors a year.
Ickes never did get his book back. Roosevelt kept it, and when the President wants something, you let him have it. Of course, as befitting a masterpiece, Ickes immediately asked Ansel for another copy.