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When William Temple Hornaday wrote this text for the Smithsonian Institution in 1889, the thirty million buffalo that had once roamed North America had been reduced to a few hundred. Alarmed by this decimation, Hornaday--a hunter, zoologist, writer, and the Smithsonian's chief taxidermist--set out for Montana to collect specimens for preservation at the Smithsonian. One of the main results of his trip was The Extermination of the American Bison, a timely recounting of the history and destruction of the buffalo, and a landmark work in early conservation advocacy.
Hornaday paints a vivid portrait of the buffalo's natural history, describing its distribution, habits, character, and "mental capacity," as well as the history of recorded encounters with buffalo since the sixteenth century. He then provides a haunting account of the animals' slaughter, lamenting the horrific destruction of almost the entire species. His final section describes the planning, construction, and reception of the Buffalo Group, his innovative museum display of six taxidermied buffalo that was intended to serve as both a scientific record of and a national monument to a nearly lost species.
Hanna Rose Shell's insightful introduction emphasizes how Hornaday's appeal for wildlife conservation continues to resonate today. It also provides a unique window into a forgotten network of taxidermists, hunters, and animal preservationists that shaped contemporary conservation movements.
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William Temple Hornaday (1854-1937) was one of the founders of what would become the Smithsonian's National Zoo and the Bronx Zoo. Hanna Rose Shell has published articles in The Boston Globe and Smithsonian magazine. She is a doctoral candidate in the History of Science at Harvard University.
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Book Description Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1588340538
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Brand New. New. Seller Inventory # A47651
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Brand New. New. Seller Inventory # DH29pg301to675-49691
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: Brand New. New. Seller Inventory # DH29pg1521to1606-10156
Book Description Smithsonian Institution Schola, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB1588340538
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-1588340538
Book Description Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2002. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX1588340538