America in the 19th
century seemed a land of limitless natural resources. Writers,
artists, hunters, collectors, and the new middle class enthusiastically
celebrated and exploited the wonders of the natural world in their
work, homes, and dress.
But this fascination
with nature and a thriving market for its products caused sharp
declines in the numbers of many American species. Despite attempts
to control hunting, few regulations were
widespread and effective enough to halt the slaughter of some
animals. Angered by the cruelty inflicted on birds hunted for
fashion, a few compassionate and determined individuals stepped
forward in the 1890s to found the first Audubon
and conservation societies.
Some objects have a
feather icon next to them. Click the icon to find out more information.
Hunting and Collecting