George Bird Grinnell

George Bird Grinnell books and biography

George Bird Grinnell

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George Bird Grinnell (September 20, 1849 – April 11, 1938) was an American anthropologist, historian, naturalist, and writer. Grinnell was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in 1870 and a Ph.D. in 1880. Originally specializing in zoology, he became a prominent early conservationist and student of Native American life.


Exploration and conservation

Grinnell had extensive contact with the terrain, animals and Native Americans of the northern plains, starting with his participation in the last great hunt of the Pawnee in 1872. He spent many years pursuing the natural history of the region. As a graduate student, he accompanied Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s 1874 Black Hills expedition as a naturalist. In 1875, he was approached by Colonel William Ludlow, who had also been on Custer's gold exploration effort, to again serve as naturalist and minerologist on an expedition to Montana and the newly established Yellowstone Park. His experience in Yellowstone led to the production of the first of many magazine articles dealing with conservation and the American west.

Grinnell Glacier and Lake Josephine, Glacier National Park.
Grinnell Glacier and Lake Josephine, Glacier National Park.

In 1885, Grinnell discovered the glacier in Montana that now bears his name and he was later influential in establishing Glacier National Park in 1910. He was also a member of the Edward Henry Harriman expedition of 1899, a two-month survey of the Alaskan coast by an elite group of scientists and artists.

Grinnell was prominent in movements focusing on preservation of wildlife and conservation. In 1887, Grinnell was a founding member, with Theodore Roosevelt, of the Boone and Crockett Club, dedicated to the restoration of America's wildlands. Other founding members included General William Tecumseh Sherman and Gifford Pinchot. 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.

Grinnell was editor of "Forest and Stream Magazine" from 1876 to 1911 and contributed many articles and essays to magazines and professional publications, including:

  • "In Buffalo Days", a long essay, published in "American Big-Game Hunting", edited by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, New York, 1893.
  • "The Bison," a long essay, published in "Musk-Ox, Bison, Sheep and Goat", edited by Caspar Whitney, George Bird Grinnell, and Owen Wister, New York, 1904.

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 with Plains tribal culture. In "When Buffalo Ran" (1920), he focuses specifically on hunting and working buffalo from a buffalo horse.

Grinnell’s best known works are on the Cheyenne, including "The Fighting Cheyennes", published in 1915, and a two-volume work on "The Cheyenne Indians" (1923). In 1928, he presented the story of Frank Joshua North and Luther North in "Two Great Scouts and their Pawnee Battalion." Other works on the Plains culture area focusing on the Pawnee and Blackfeet people include "Pawnee Hero Stories" (1889), and "The Story of the Indian" (1895).

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

Partial list of works

  • Blackfoot lodge tales; the story of a prairie people, by George Bird Grinnell (1892)
  • Blackfeet Indian Stories, by George Bird Grinnell (1915)
  • When Buffalo Ran by George Bird Grinnell (1920)
  • Hunting on Three Continents, by George Bird Grinnell, Kermit Roosevelt, W. Redmond Cross, and Prentiss N. Gray (editors). New York: The Derrydale Press (1933) -- The seventh book of the Boone and Crockett Club, 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, "Taps for the Great Selous" by Frederick R. 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 Foreward By Theodore Roosevelt and Biographical Notes By James E. West. 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, "How I Learned to Fly" by Orville Wright, "Adventurous Hunting" by Kermit Roosevelt, "An Arctic Mirage" by Donald B. MacMillan, "The First Crossing of the Polar Sea" by Lincoln Ellsworth, "In the Arctic" by Lincoln Ellsworth, "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, "Shipwreck" by Robert A. Bartlett, "Written in the Air" by Charles A. Lindbergh, "Tiger! Tiger!" by Merian C. Cooper, "Bandits" by Clifford H. Pope, and "Adventure" by Stewart Edward White. All 13 photo plates of the honorary Scouts are present; both Roosevelts in the same photo.

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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Blackfoot Lodge Tales

By George Bird Grinnell
Action , Adventure

Blackfoot Lodge Tales
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Fighting Cheyennes

By George Bird Grinnell
American History

Fighting Cheyennes
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