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George Bird Grinnell

George Bird Grinnell

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George Bird Grinnell was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 anthropologist, historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

, naturalist
Natural history
Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

, and writer. Grinnell was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 with a B.A. in 1870 and a Ph.D. in 1880. Originally specializing in zoology
Zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

, he became a prominent early conservationist
Conservationist
Conservationists are proponents or advocates of conservation. They advocate for the protection of all the species in an ecosystem with a strong focus on the natural environment...

 and student of Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 life. Grinnell has been recognized for his influence on public opinion and work on legislation to preserve the American buffalo
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

.

Exploration and conservation


Grinnell had extensive contact with the terrain, animals and Native Americans of the northern plains, starting with being part of the last great hunt of the Pawnee in 1872. He spent many years studying the natural history of the region. As a graduate student, he accompanied Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1858, where he graduated last in his class...

’s 1874 Black Hills
Black Hills
The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the region is something of a geological anomaly—accurately described as an "island of...

 expedition as a naturalist. He declined a similar appointment to the ill-fated 1876 Little Big Horn expedition. (Punke, p. 109)

In 1875, Colonel William Ludlow
William Ludlow
William Ludlow was an officer in the Corps of Engineers and a major general in the United States Army who served in the Civil War, Plains Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, and led a scientific expedition examining the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park.-Early life:Ludlow was born in...

, who had been part of Custer's gold exploration effort, invited Grinnell to serve as naturalist and mineralogist on an expedition to Montana and the newly established Yellowstone Park. Grinnell prepared an attachment to the expedition's report, in which he documented the poaching of buffalo, deer, elk and antelope for hides. "It is estimated that during the winter of 1874-1875, not less than 3,000 Buffalo and mule deer suffer even more severely than the elk, and the antelope nearly as much." (Punke, pp. 102) His experience in Yellowstone led Grinnell to write the first of many magazine articles dealing with conservation, the protection of the buffalo, and the American West.

Grinnell made hunting trips to the St. Mary Lakes region of Glacier in 1885, 1887 and 1891 in the company of James Willard Schultz
James Willard Schultz
James Willard Schultz, or Apikuni, was a noted author, explorer, Glacier National Park guide, fur trader and historian of the Blackfoot Indians. While operating a fur trading post at Carroll, Montana and living amongst the Pikuni tribe during the period 1880-82, he was given the name "Apikuni"...

, the first professional guide in the region. During the 1885 visit, Grinnell and Schultz while traveling up the Swiftcurrent valley observed the glacier
Grinnell Glacier
Grinnell Glacier is located in the heart of Glacier National Park in the U.S. state of Montana. The glacier is named for George Bird Grinnell, an early American conservationist and explorer, who was also a strong advocate of ensuring the creation of Glacier National Park...

 that now bears his name. Along with Schultz, Grinnell participated in the naming of many features in the Glacier region. He was later influential in establishing Glacier National Park in 1910. He was also a member of the Edward Henry Harriman expedition of 1899
Harriman Alaska Expedition
In 1899, wealthy railroad magnate Edward Harriman arranged for a maritime expedition to Alaska. Harriman brought with him an elite community of scientists, artists, photographers, and naturalists to explore and document the Alaskan coast...

, a two-month survey of the Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

n coast by an elite group of scientists and artists.

Grinnell was prominent in movements to preserve wildlife and conservation in the American West. For many years, he published articles and lobbied for congressional support for the endangered American buffalo. In 1887, Grinnell was a founding member, with Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, of the Boone and Crockett Club
Boone and Crockett Club
The Boone and Crockett Club conservationist organization, founded in the United States in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt. The club was named in honor of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, whom the club's founders viewed as ethical hunters and honest men who loved the outdoors and earthly pursuits...

, dedicated to the restoration of America's wildlands. Other founding members included General William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

 and Gifford Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot
Gifford Pinchot was the first Chief of the United States Forest Service and the 28th Governor of Pennsylvania...

. Grinnell and Roosevelt published the Club's first book in 1895. Grinnell also organized the first Audubon Society and was an organizer of the New York Zoological Society.

With the passage of the 1894 National Park Protective Act, the remaining 200 wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park received a measure of protection. It was nearly too late for the species. Poaching continued to reduce the animal's population, which reached its lowest number of 23 in 1902. (Punke, pp. 218–219) Grinnell's actions led to ongoing efforts by the Department of Interior to find additional animals in the wild and to manage herds to supplement the Yellowstone herd. This ultimately led to a genetically pure viable herd, and the survival of the species.

Grinnell was editor of Forest and Stream Magazine from 1876 to 1911. He contributed many articles and essays to magazines and professional publications, including:
  • "In Buffalo Days", in American Big-Game Hunting, edited by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, New York, 1893.
  • "The Bison
    Bison
    Members of the genus Bison are large, even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. Two extant and four extinct species are recognized...

    ," in Musk-Ox, Bison, Sheep and Goat
    Goat
    The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

    , edited by Caspar Whitney, George Bird Grinnell, and Owen Wister
    Owen Wister
    Owen Wister was an American writer and "father" of western fiction.-Early life:Owen Wister was born on July 14, 1860, in Germantown, a well-known neighborhood in the northwestern part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His father, Owen Jones Wister, was a wealthy physician, one of a long line of...

    , New York, 1904 American Sportsman's Library
    American Sportsman's Library
    The American Sportsman's Library is an early and important series of 16 uniformly-bound volumes on sporting subjects, from an American perspective, published by the Macmillan Company in the period 1902-1905. Caspar Whitney, the owner/editor of Outing and a well-known outdoorsman and sporting...

    .

Ethnology of the Plains cultures


Grinnell’s books and publications reflect his lifelong study of the northern American plains and the Plains tribes. Along with J. A. Allen and William T. Hornaday, Grinnell was a historian of the buffalo and their relationship to Plains tribal culture. In When Buffalo Ran (1920), he describes hunting and working buffalo from a buffalo horse.

Grinnell’s best-known works are on the Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

, including The Fighting Cheyennes (1915), and a two-volume work, The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways
The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways
The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways is a condensed version of a two volume non-fiction book written by the famed anthropologist George Bird Grinnell, based on his account of his time spent among the last of the nomadic Cheyenne Indians...

 (1923). His principal informant for both books was George Bent
George Bent
George Bent was the mixed-race son of the fur trader William Bent, the founder of the trading post named Bent's Fort; and Owl Woman, a Cheyenne. Born near present-day La Junta, Colorado, Bent served as a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War and a Cheyenne warrior...

. George E. Hyde
George E. Hyde
George E. Hyde was the "Dean of American Indian Historians." He wrote many books about Indian tribes, especially the Sioux and Pawnee plus a life of the Cheyenne warrior and historian, George Bent.-Life:...

 may have done much of the writing. In 1928, Grinnell portrayed the story of Frank North
Frank North
Frank Joshua North was a clerk and interpreter at the Pawnee Agency trading post in Genoa, Nebraska, he served in the United States Army attaining the rank of major. North was partners with William F...

 and Luther North in Two Great Scouts and Their Pawnee Battalion. In other works on the Plains culture area, he focused on the Pawnee and Blackfeet
Blackfeet
The Piegan Blackfeet are a tribe of Native Americans of the Algonquian language family based in Montana, having lived in this area since around 6,500 BC. Many members of the tribe live as part of the Blackfeet Nation in northwestern Montana, with population centered in Browning...

 people: Pawnee Hero Stories (1889), Blackfoot Lodge Tales (1892), and The Story of the Indian (1895).

Of his work, President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 said:
Selected papers by Grinnell were edited by J. F. Reiger in 1972.

Partial list of works

  • When Buffalo Ran (1920, 2008) ISBN 978-1443768450
  • The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways
    The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways
    The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Lifeways is a condensed version of a two volume non-fiction book written by the famed anthropologist George Bird Grinnell, based on his account of his time spent among the last of the nomadic Cheyenne Indians...

    , Edited and Illustrated, (World Wisdom
    World Wisdom
    World Wisdom is an independent publishing company established in 1980 in Bloomington, Indiana. World Wisdom publishes religious and philosophical texts, including the work of authors such as Frithjof Schuon, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Titus Burckhardt, Ananda K...

    , 2008) ISBN 978-1933316604
  • Native American Ways: Four Paths to Enlightenment, (A & D Publishing, 2007) ISBN 978-1934451939
  • Hunting In Many Lands: The Book Of The Boone And Crockett Club, (Kessinger Publishing
    Kessinger Publishing
    Kessinger Publishing is a publisher that offers for reprint rare, out of print and out of copyright books originally issued by other publishers. They are located in Whitefish, Montana.The original dates of publication of the titles are usually prior to ca...

    , 2007) ISBN 978-0548085257
  • The Fighting Cheyennes, (Kessinger Publishing, 2007) ISBN 978-0548134009
  • Blackfeet Indian Stories, (BiblioBazaar, 2007) ISBN 978-1434607300
  • The Cheyenne Indians V1: Their History And Ways Of Life, (Kessinger Publishing, 2007) ISBN 978-1432588465
  • American Big Game in Its Haunts, (Dodo Press, 2007) ISBN 978-1406547412
  • Blackfoot Lodge Tales, (BiblioBazaar, 2006) ISBN 978-1426447440
  • My Life As An Indian: The Story Of A Red Woman And A White Man In The Lodges Of The Blackfeet, (Kessinger Publishing, 2005) ISBN 978-1417955275
  • Two Great Scouts and Their Pawnee Battalion, (University of Nebraska Press
    University of Nebraska Press
    The University of Nebraska Press, founded in 1941, is a publisher of scholarly and popular-press books. It is the second-largest state university press in the United States and, including private institutions, ranks among the 10 largest university presses in the United States...

    , 1996) ISBN 978-0803257757
  • Alaska 1899: Essays from the Harriman Expedition, (University of Washington Press, 1995) ISBN 978-0295973777
  • American Duck Shooting (Classics of American Sport), (Stackpole Books, 1991) ISBN 978-0811724272
  • The Whistling skeleton: American Indian tales of the supernatural, (Four Winds Press
    Four Winds Press
    Four Winds Press was the hardcover publishing arm of Scholastic Corporation, and published hardcover versions of many books available in paperback through Scholastic's book clubs. These included many children's books....

    , 1982) ISBN 978-0590078016
  • The Cheyenne Indians, Vol. 1: History and Society, (Bison Books, 1972) ISBN 978-0803257719
  • The Cheyenne Indians, Vol. 2: War, Ceremonies, and Religion, (Bison Books, 1972) ISBN 978-0803257726
  • The passing of the Great West, (Winchester Press, 1972) ISBN 978-0876910658
  • By Cheyenne Campfires, (University of Nebraska Press
    University of Nebraska Press
    The University of Nebraska Press, founded in 1941, is a publisher of scholarly and popular-press books. It is the second-largest state university press in the United States and, including private institutions, ranks among the 10 largest university presses in the United States...

    , 1971) ISBN 978-0803257467
  • The Last of the Buffalo (American Environmental Studies), (Ayer Co Pub, 1970) ISBN 978-0405026652
  • Pawnee Hero Stories and Folk-Tales, (University of Nebraska Press
    University of Nebraska Press
    The University of Nebraska Press, founded in 1941, is a publisher of scholarly and popular-press books. It is the second-largest state university press in the United States and, including private institutions, ranks among the 10 largest university presses in the United States...

    , 1961)

  • Hunting on Three Continents, by George Bird Grinnell, Kermit Roosevelt
    Kermit Roosevelt
    Kermit Roosevelt I MC was a son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. He was an explorer on two continents with his father, a graduate of Harvard University, a soldier serving in two world wars, with both the British and U.S. Armies, a businessman, and a writer...

    , W. Redmond Cross, and Prentiss N. Gray (editors). New York: The Derrydale Press
    The Derrydale Press
    The Derrydale Press is an American book publishing company founded in 1927 with headquarters on Park Ave. in Manhattan, New York. It is the creation of Princeton University graduate Eugene V. Connett III...

     (1933) -- The seventh book of the Boone and Crockett Club
    Boone and Crockett Club
    The Boone and Crockett Club conservationist organization, founded in the United States in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt. The club was named in honor of Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, whom the club's founders viewed as ethical hunters and honest men who loved the outdoors and earthly pursuits...

    , this wide-ranging collection includes accounts of Expeditions toward the North Pole and to the south of the Equator, articles relating to wild animals, and other pieces that speak the perils of hunting game to the brink of extinction. Among the most noteworthy contributions are "The Vanished Game of Yesterday" by Madison Grant, "An Epic of the Polar Air Lanes" by Lincoln Ellsworth, "Aeluropus Melanoleucus" by Kermit Roosevelt
    Kermit Roosevelt
    Kermit Roosevelt I MC was a son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. He was an explorer on two continents with his father, a graduate of Harvard University, a soldier serving in two world wars, with both the British and U.S. Armies, a businessman, and a writer...

    , "Taps for the Great Selous" by Frederick R. Burnham
    Frederick Russell Burnham
    Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO was an American scout and world traveling adventurer known for his service to the British Army in colonial Africa and for teaching woodcraft to Robert Baden-Powell, thus becoming one of the inspirations for the founding of the international Scouting Movement.Burnham...

    , "Volcano Sheep" by G.D. Pope, "Three Days on the Stikine River" by Emory W. Clark, and "Giant Sable Antelope" by Charles P. Curtis.
  • The Boy Scout's Book of True Adventure, Fourteen Honorary Scouts, with Foreword by Theodore Roosevelt
    Theodore Roosevelt
    Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

     and Biographical Notes By James E. West
    James E. West (Scouting)
    Dr. James E. West was a lawyer and an advocate of children's rights, who became the first professional Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America , serving from 1911–1943. Upon his retirement from the BSA, West was given the title of Chief Scout.-Personal life:His father died around the...

    . Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York (1931) -- Essays include: "A Tobacco Trade" by George Bird Grinnell, "Scouting Against the Apache" by Frederick R. Burnham
    Frederick Russell Burnham
    Frederick Russell Burnham, DSO was an American scout and world traveling adventurer known for his service to the British Army in colonial Africa and for teaching woodcraft to Robert Baden-Powell, thus becoming one of the inspirations for the founding of the international Scouting Movement.Burnham...

    , "How I Learned to Fly" by Orville Wright, "Adventurous Hunting" by Kermit Roosevelt
    Kermit Roosevelt
    Kermit Roosevelt I MC was a son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. He was an explorer on two continents with his father, a graduate of Harvard University, a soldier serving in two world wars, with both the British and U.S. Armies, a businessman, and a writer...

    , "An Arctic Mirage" by Donald B. MacMillan, "The First Crossing of the Polar Sea" by Lincoln Ellsworth
    Lincoln Ellsworth
    Lincoln Ellsworth was an arctic explorer from the United States.-Birth:He was born on May 12, 1880 to James Ellsworth and Eva Frances Butler in Chicago, Illinois...

    , "In the Arctic" by Lincoln Ellsworth
    Lincoln Ellsworth
    Lincoln Ellsworth was an arctic explorer from the United States.-Birth:He was born on May 12, 1880 to James Ellsworth and Eva Frances Butler in Chicago, Illinois...

    , "The Black Ghosts of the Tana River" by James L. Clark, "My Flight Over the Atlantic" by Richard E. Byrd, "In the Jungles of Cochin-China" by Theodore Roosevelt
    Theodore Roosevelt
    Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

    , "Shipwreck" by Robert A. Bartlett, "Written in the Air" by Charles A. Lindbergh, "Tiger! Tiger!" by Merian C. Cooper, "Bandits" by Clifford H. Pope
    Clifford H. Pope
    Cliford Hillhouse Pope was a noted American herpetologist. He was the son of Mark Cooper Pope and Harriett Alexander Pope, and grew up in Washington, Georgia. Shortly after his graduation from the University of Virginia, Pope went to the Tropical Research Station at British Guiana, maintained...

    , and "Adventure" by Stewart Edward White. All 13 photo plates of the honorary Scouts are present; both Roosevelts in the same photo.

External links