Tag Archives: hornaday

How the American Bison Became Our National Mammal

Bison at the Bronx Zoo being crated for transport to the Wichita Forest  and Game Preserve (now known as the Wichita Mountains Wildlife  Reserve), October 1907. William Hornaday appears on the left.  WCS Photo Collection

Bison at the Bronx Zoo being crated for transport to the Wichita Forest and Game Preserve (now known as the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Reserve), October 1907. William Hornaday appears on the left. WCS Photo Collection

This week, President Obama signed a law making the bison the US’s first national mammal.  To celebrate this momentous event, we’re looking back on the history of protection for the American bison with a blog post over on Medium.  Check it out here:


The ‘Rubbish War’: Hornaday’s Home-Town Campaign

Wildlife Conservation Society_005575_Waste Paper East of Bronx River_BZ_05 00 12-watermarkedAt the Bronx Zoo the approach of Spring brings warmer weather, and thus increasing crowds enjoying the park.  As the season progresses the Horticulture, Maintenance, and Operations Departments, as well as various others, all find themselves increasingly busy with the work of keeping the Zoo presentable.  A century ago these departments’ predecessors also joined the fight to maintain the grounds.  During the early 20th Century, however, Director William Hornaday, treating the efforts to keep the Zoo clean like one of his conservation campaigns, gave what he called ‘The Rubbish War’ a hyperbolic air not seen in today’s spring cleanings.

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Conservation of another kind

MS_150311_0490-edit-resized.jpgAs its name implies, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) holds the conservation of wildlife and wild places as its central mission.  Not surprisingly, many of the posts here on “Wild Things”—the blog for the WCS Archives—highlight WCS’s historical conservation efforts.  This post, however, features a different kind of ‘conservation’: recent work performed on some of the Archives’ own materials. Continue reading

Fighting (and Fanaticism) for Fur Seals

fish7848 Henry W. Elliott, William T. Hornaday, and John Hay spent nearly a decade attempting to save the staggering decimation of the Alaskan fur seals from their mating grounds on the Pribilof Islands. The islands were first discovered by Europeans in 1786 and soon after became part of the Russian Territories. In 1867, they became property of the United States and were later leased to the Alaska Commercial Company, who held the monopoly on seal hunting and pelt trading. The islands were highly sought by hunters for their fur seal rookeries, large areas where thousands of seals gathered to mate, raise their young, and fish.  Continue reading

Scrapbooks and Spies

Letter from Lawrence Macrae to Hornaday, Dec. 20, 1906. Hornaday Wildlife Scrapbook Collection, Vol. 1. WCS Archives Collection 1007.

One never knows what oddities or treasures may turn up when undertaking a cataloging project. Given the variety of ephemera collected in scrapbooks, the possibility for unknown treasures is especially exciting. This was certainly the case while creating descriptive metadata for the first scrapbook from William T. Hornaday’s scrapbook collection on the history of wildlife protection and extermination. An innocent attempt to locate the identity of a correspondent led to a scandalous discovery! (Okay, perhaps not that scandalous–but certainly interesting enough to share.)   Continue reading

Hornaday and the Camp Fire Club of America

Letter from Hornaday to Elihu Root, 1910. Hornaday Wildlife Scrapbook Collection, Vol. 4. WCS Archives Collection 1007.

The brainchild of friends William T. Hornaday and George O. Shields, the Camp Fire Club of America was conceived as a social club–an opportunity for men who loved the outdoors to gather together regularly as they would around a campfire. In particular, Hornaday and Shields (Editor of Recreation magazine, who served briefly in a lobbying role for the New York Zoological Society) intended the CFCA as an outlet for sportsmen who did not meet the high standards of wealth, power, and social ranking required by the Boone and Crockett Club.  [See our earlier post on the B&C Club.]  Continue reading

Putting It All Together: The Hornaday Scrapbook Site Is Now Live

1007-04-01-067.jpgWe are thrilled to announce that our website displaying scrapbooks compiled by William T. Hornaday, covering his various wildlife conservation campaigns, is now live!  Made possible through the generous funding of the Leon Levy Foundation, the project has been the subject of a few WILD THINGS posts over the past few months, and we are pleased to be able to share the finished product with you now.  You’ll find the site hereContinue reading

Kings of the Wild Frontier: Hornaday and Boone & Crockett

1007-04-09-063-c_acc.jpgScattered throughout the scrapbooks of William T. Hornaday is ephemera from the Boone and Crockett Club. Founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, the Boone and Crockett Club formed, as they later stated in their 1923 certificate of incorporation, “to promote the conservation and management of wildlife, especially big game, and its habitat, to preserve and encourage hunting and to maintain the highest ethical standards of fair chase and sportsmanship in North America.” Boone and Crockett was originally organized as a very exclusive club, accepting only members in high social and cultural standing, all of whom must have personally hunted a pre-requisite breadth of wild game.  Continue reading

Mrs. Charles Cyrus Marshall: Trailblazing Conservationist

As we’ve discussed in a previous post, women became an important force in early campaigns for wildlife protection, and in the early decades of the twentieth century more and more wives, mothers, and daughters joined the cause. One woman in particular, Mrs. Charles Cyrus Marshall, went above and beyond to provide bountiful aid wherever it was needed. Though most of Mrs. Marshall’s documented work with state and national preservation may have been created through local action, her projects most certainly had national and historical impact.  Continue reading