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Philip Lester Dray
Unknown institution
The Fair Chase: The Epic Story of Hunting in America

A history of hunting as a sport in America, with its deep influence on culture and society since the 19th century.

My book is a social and cultural history of sport hunting, an American passion that was immediately popular when it was introduced to the public in the mid-19th century and which continues to affect our cultural and political landscape. Promoted as a means of reconnecting an increasingly urban America with nature, sports magazines invoked the elitism of the British hunt, the independence of the American frontiersman, and the stealth of the Native American. Even clerics sermonized on the sport’s behalf, as it was said to restore spiritual health and manliness. Gun-making, clothing, and tourism industries sprang up around the pastime. Hunting’s long history has deeply influenced our American experience, including begetting the conservation movement. However, due to the sport’s abandonment by elites, as well as our changing values regarding diet, animal ethics, the use of firearms, and what constitutes recreation, it has largely been neglected as a topic of historical inquiry in America

Project fields:
U.S. History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 9/30/2016