William Temple Hornaday
|William Temple Hornaday|
William Hornaday feeding a greater kudu in the New York Zoological Park in 1920
December 1, 1854|
|Died||March 6, 1937
|Resting place||Greenwich, Connecticut|
|Parents||William Temple Hornaday, Sr.
Martha Hornaday (nee Martha Varner)
William Temple Hornaday, Sc.D. (December 1, 1854 – March 6, 1937) was an American zoologist, realtor, conservationist, author, poet and songwriter. He revolutionized museum exhibits by displaying wildlife in their natural settings, and is credited with discovering the American crocodile, saving the American bison and the Alaskan fur seal from extinction.
After serving as a taxidermist at Henry Augustus Ward's Natural Science Establishment in Rochester, New York, he spent 1.5 years, 1877-1878 in India and Ceylon collecting specimens. In May 1878 he reached southeast Asia and traveled in Malaya and Sarawak in Borneo. His travels inspired his first publication, Two Years in the Jungle (1885). In 1882 he was appointed chief taxidermist of the United States National Museum, a post he held until his resignation in 1890.
In his position at the museum, Hornaday was tasked with inventorying the museum's specimen collection of American Buffalo, which was meager. He then undertook a census of bison by "writing to ranchers, hunters, army officers, and zookeepers across the American West and in Canada." Based on firsthand accounts, Hornaday estimated that as recently as 1867 there were approximately 15 million wild bison in the American West. Through his census, he ascertained that those numbers had rapidly depleted. In a letter written to his superior at the Smithsonian, George Brown Goode, Hornaday reported that, "in the United States the extermination of all the large herds of buffalo is already an accomplished fact."
In 1886 Hornaday went out west, to the Musselshell River region of Montana, where the last surviving herds of wild American buffalo lived. He was tasked with collecting specimens from the region for the United States National Museum collections, so that future generations would know what the buffalo looked like, after their expected extinction.
The buffalo that Hornaday mounted remained on exhibit until the 1950s, when the museum underwent an exhibit modernization program. The Smithsonian sent the specimens to Montana, where they were placed in storage. After many years of neglect, they were rediscovered, restored, and placed on display in 1996 at the Museum of the Northern Great Plains in Fort Benton, Montana.
The decimation of the species that Hornaday witnessed had a profound effect on him, transforming him into a conservationist. In addition to the specimens for the collection, he acquired live specimens that he brought back to Washington, D.C., which formed the nucleus of the Department of Living Animals he created at the Smithsonian, the precursor to the National Zoological Park, which he helped establish a few years later in 1889. Hornaday served as the zoo's first director, but left soon thereafter after conflict with the head of the Smithsonian, Samuel Pierpont Langley.
He was appointed director of the New York Zoological Park (now the Bronx Zoo) in 1896 and became president of the Permanent Wild Life Protective Association. He co-founded (with Theodore Roosevelt) the American Bison Society in 1905 and served as its president from 1907 to 1910. He was able to exert some influence which led to the passage of legislation which extended protection to wild birds, game, bison, seals, and wild life in general. Hornaday wrote many magazine articles and books.
Scandal at the Zoo
Dr. Hornaday's tenure as director of the New York zoo met with controversy in September 1906, when Ota Benga, a pygmy native of the Congo, was placed on display in the monkey house. Benga shot targets with a bow and arrow, wove twine, and wrestled with an orangutan. Although, according to the New York Times, "few expressed audible objection to the sight of a human being in a cage with monkeys as companions,” black clergymen in the city took great offense. “Our race, we think, is depressed enough, without exhibiting one of us with the apes,” said the Reverend James H. Gordon, superintendent of the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum in Brooklyn. “We think we are worthy of being considered human beings, with souls.” And again in a letter to the zoo, Reverend Gordon remarked, "You people are on top. We have got to rise. Why not let us and not impede us? Why shut up a boy in a cage with chimpanzees to show Negroes akin to apes?"
New York Mayor George B. McClellan, Jr. refused to meet with the clergymen, drawing the praise of Dr. Hornaday, who wrote to him, “When the history of the Zoological Park is written, this incident will form its most amusing passage.”
As the controversy continued, Hornaday remained unapologetic, insisting that his only intention was to put on an “ethnological exhibit.” In another letter, he said that he and Madison Grant, the secretary of the New York Zoological Society, who ten years later would publish the racist tract “The Passing of the Great Race,” considered it “imperative that the society should not even seem to be dictated to” by the black clergymen.
Still, Hornaday decided to close the exhibit after just two days, and on Monday, September 8, Benga could be found walking the zoo grounds, often followed by a crowd “howling, jeering and yelling." Benga committed suicide in 1916 when his return trip to the Congo was delayed by World War I.
Influence on Scouting
Hornaday had a large impact on the Scouting movement and especially the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Not only is there is a series of conservation awards named after him, but his beliefs and writings are a major reason conservation and ecology have long been an important part of the BSA's program. This awards program was created in 1915 by Dr. Hornaday. He named the award the Wildlife Protection Medal. Its purpose was to challenge Americans to work constructively for wildlife conservation and habitat protection. After his death in 1938, the award was renamed in Dr. Hornaday's honor and became a BSA award.
Death↑Jump back a section
William Temple Hornaday married Josephine Chamberlain in 1879. They were married for fifty-eight years, until his death. The Hornadays had one daughter, Helen.
A year after his death, in 1938, at the suggestion of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the National Park Service named a peak, Mount Hornaday, in the Absaroka Range in Yellowstone National Park for him.
- Two Years in the Jungle (1885; seventh edition, 1901)
- Free Run on the Congo (1887)
- The Extermination of the American Bison (1887)
- Taxidermy and Zoölogical Collecting (1891)
- The Man who Became a Savage (1896)
- Guide to the New York Zoölogical Park (1899)
- The American Natural History (1904; revised edition, four volumes, 1914)
- Campfires in the Canadian Rockies (1906)
- Campfires on Desert and Lava (1908)
- Popular official guide to the New York Zoological Park (1909)
- Our Vanishing Wild Life (1913)
- Wild Life Conservation in Theory and Practice (1914)
- Bechtel, Stefan (2012). Mr. Hornaday's War. Boston: Beacon Press. p. 4. ISBN 978080706351 Check
- Bechtel, Stefan (2012). Mr. Hornaday's War. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 5–6. ISBN 978080706351 Check
- "Musselshell -- An Endangered River". Montana River Action. Retrieved June 26, 2011.
- The Hornaday Smithsonian Buffalo exhibit
- "William Temple Hornaday: Visionary of the National Zoo". National Zoological Park. February 1989. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- Spiro, Jonathan P. (2009). Defending the Master Race: Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant. Univ. of Vermont Press. pp. 37–48. ISBN 978-1-58465-715-6. Lay summary (29 September 2010).
- "The New American Bison Society". American Bison Society. Retrieved 2008-07-12.
- "William Temple Hornaday". The University of Iowa Museum of Natural History. 2000. Archived from the original on 2008-07-14. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- Keller, Mitch (2006-08-06). "The Scandal at the Zoo". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- Poole, W. Scott. Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2011, p. 95. ISBN 978-1-60258-314-6.
- Eby, David L. (2007). "Hornaday Facts". U.S. Scouting Service Project. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
- "Dr. W. T. Hornaday Dies In Stamford. Noted Naturalist, 82, Was the First Director of the New York Zoological Park. Served There 30 Years. Protector of Wild Life Wrote to President as He Was Dying, Asking His Cooperation Fought to Save Wild Life His First Expedition City's Wild-Life Family Grew Odds Against Early Crusade". New York Times. March 7, 1937. Retrieved 2009-08-30. "Dr. William T. Hornaday, who retired as the first director of the New York Zoological Park in 1926 after thirty years' service and who since had devoted himself to the protection of wild life, largely through his writings and efforts as head of the Permanent Wild Life Protection Fund, died tonight at his home, the Anchorage, in West North Street, this city."
- Bechtel, Stefan (2012). Mr. Hornaday's War. Boston: Beacon Press. p. xi,129,176.
- Whittlesey, Lee (1988). Yellowstone Place Names. Helena, MT: Montana Historical Society Press. p. 105. ISBN 0-917298-15-2.
- Andrei, Mary Anne. "The accidental conservationist: William T. Hornaday, the Smithsonian bison expeditions and the US National Zoo," Endeavor 29, no. 3 (September 2005), pp. 109-113.
- Bechtel, Stefan. Mr. Hornaday's War: How a Peculiar Victorian Zookeeper Waged a Lonely Crusade for Wildlife That Changed the World. Beacon Press, 2012.
- Dehler, Gregory J. "An American Crusader: William Temple Hornaday and Wildlife Protection, 1840-1940," Ph.D. dissertation, Lehigh University, 2001.
- Dolph, James A. "Bringing Wildlife to the Millions: William Temple Hornaday, The Early Years, 1854-1896," Ph.D. dissertation, University of Massachusetts, 1975.
- Kohlstedt, Sally A. (1985), "Henry Augustus Ward and American Museum Development," University of Rochester Library Bulletin 38.
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- William Temple Hornaday - Saving the American Bison page at the Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Hornday in the National Wildlife Federation's Conservation Hall of Fame
- Works by William Temple Hornaday at Project Gutenberg