The Naturalist: Theodore Roosevelt, A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History
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A captivating new account of how Theodore Roosevelt’s lifelong passion for the natural world set the stage for America’s wildlife conservation movement and determined his legacy as a founding father of today’s museum naturalism
No U.S. president is more popularly associated with nature and wildlife than is Theodore Roosevelt—prodigious hunter, tireless adventurer, and ardent conservationist. We think of him as a larger-than-life original, yet in The Naturalist, Darrin Lunde has firmly situated Roosevelt’s indomitable curiosity about the natural world in the tradition of museum naturalism. As a child, Roosevelt actively modeled himself on the men (including John James Audubon and Spencer F. Baird) who pioneered this key branch of biology by developing a taxonomy of the natural world—basing their work on the experiential study of nature. The impact that these scientists and their trailblazing methods had on Roosevelt shaped not only his audacious personality but his entire career, informing his work as a statesman and ultimately affecting generations of Americans’ relationship to this country’s wilderness.
Drawing on Roosevelt’s diaries and travel journals as well as Lunde’s own role as a leading figure in museum naturalism today, The Naturalist reads Roosevelt through the lens of his love for nature. From his teenage collections of birds and small mammals to his time at Harvard and political rise, Roosevelt’s fascination with wildlife and exploration culminated in his triumphant expedition to Africa, a trip which he himself considered to be the apex of his varied life. With narrative verve, Lunde brings his singular experience to bear on our twenty-sixth president’s life and constructs a perceptively researched and insightful history that tracks Roosevelt’s maturation from exuberant boyhood hunter to vital champion of serious scientific inquiry.
Romantic, 173. “Nowhere, not even at sea” E. Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, 263. “She was beautiful in face and form” N. Miller, Theodore Roosevelt: A Life, 158. Chapter 10: Winchester Naturalist At his Chimney Butte Ranch Roosevelt, Letters from Theodore Roosevelt to Anna Roosevelt Cowles, 62; Morison, The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, vol. 1, 123. Chimney Butte Ranch was also called the Maltese Cross Ranch. The former name refers to the location; the latter is in reference to the
Full-Bore Birder Chapter 5 Egypt, Land of My Dreams Chapter 6 Alone at Harvard PART II All Hunters Should Be Nature Lovers Chapter 7 Roosevelt Rebels Chapter 8 Hell with the Fires Out Chapter 9 Change in the West Chapter 10 Winchester Naturalist Chapter 11 Real Men and Mousers Photo Insert Chapter 12 A Tiffany Knife to the Heart Chapter 13 Who’s a Nature Faker? PART III Roosevelt’s New Naturalism Chapter 14 I Am Going to Africa Chapter 15 A Railroad Through the Pleistocene
where they hoped to turn it, driving the bison directly into the main body of hunters following. Approaching in a long, crescent formation, they got to within half a mile before some of the animals rose to their feet. Those men leading the hunt then gave the Loo-ah cry and started galloping toward the herd in unison. Grinnell, among the main body of slower riders, found himself “in the midst of a throng of buffalo, horses, and Indians.” Shooting at stampeding targets, dodging the bison horns
fox-sparrow,” he said, dropping the feather back onto the path. Just as Roosevelt had come to speak out against the market hunters’ slaughter of mammals, he used the power of his office to protect his beloved birds. He specifically targeted the plume hunters who were slaughtering millions of beautifully feathered birds for hat ornaments, a cause Roosevelt had earlier championed in a much more limited way as governor of New York, signing legislation (at the behest of ornithologist Frank Chapman)
and that he had to make a trip to Mount Kenya if he was to have any chance at getting a big bull elephant. He made a list of animals he sought, ordering them by priority: lion, elephant, black rhinoceros, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, eland, sable, oryx, kudu, wildebeest, hartebeest, warthog, zebra, waterbuck, Grant’s gazelle, reedbuck, and topi. He also hoped to get up into some of the fly-infested habitats of northern Uganda in search of the rare white rhino. Winston Churchill had shot one the year