Wildlife Conservation Society: Library & Archives

Hornaday Wildlife Conservation Scrapbooks

Volume 7 documents Hornaday’s campaign to create wildlife sanctuaries in national forests. The “Hornaday Plan for Game Increase,” as it was known, launched in 1915 as the first official cause of Hornaday’s Permanent Wild Life Protection Fund. Similar plans had been submitted as early as 1902 by Congressman John F. Lacey, and in 1911, the Boone and Crockett Club also proposed a plan to set aside land in national forests for game sanctuaries. Hornaday, however, hotly debated any suggestions of resemblance between his plan and the 1911 Boone and Crockett one, calling it as similar as the resemblance between a “three-year old corpse and a living man.” In addition to the vitality Hornaday presumed his plan would hold, a major difference was that the Boone and Crockett plan was a state initiative whereas Hornaday’s was a federal one.

After kickstarting his campaign with an endorsement from Theodore Roosevelt at the 1915 annual meeting of the New York Zoological Society, Hornaday prepared for a speaking tour across the west to garner popular support. Between August and October, he travelled to Minneapolis, MN; Denver, CO; Cheyenne, WY; Salt Lake City, UT; Pocatello, ID; Helena, MT; Seattle and Tacoma, WA; Portland, OR; San Francisco, Pasadena, and Los Angeles, CA; Tucson, AZ; and Albuquerque, NM. He barnstormed from city to city, preaching the necessity of his plan in the face of mounting threats to wildlife. Along the way, he gained a number of influential supporters. In addition to most of the governors of the states where he spoke, these supporters ranged from Joseph F. Smith, President of the Church of Latter Day Saints, to Aldo Leopold, who had already been deeply impressed by Hornaday’s 1911 work, Our Vanishing Wildlife.

Eventually, Hornaday’s plan was incorporated into the 1917 Chamberlain-Hayden bill. Yet in spite of the political and public support the plan received, it failed to pass Congress, with the opposition objecting to the issue of federal oversight. The plan’s failure was a tremendous disappointment to Hornaday, and he later wondered in his Thirty Years War for Wildlife, why the “disgusting fate of our campaign for big game sanctuaries in national forests … did not turn me against conservation causes for all subsequent time.”

Volume 7’s contents were compiled by Edith Helen Franz, who served as Hornaday’s assistant (in addition to serving as the accountant for his Permanent Wild Life Protection Fund and the librarian for the New York Zoological Society). The items associated with this scrapbook were laid into the book but never mounted. They are displayed here in the order in which they were found by WCS Archives staff in 2012.

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