”I speak of Africa and golden joys...” -Theodore Roosevelt
”As you know, I am not in the least a game butcher. I like to do a certain amount of hunting, but my real and main interest is the interest of a faunal naturalist. Now, it seems to me that this opens up the best chance for the National Museum to get a fine collection, not only of the big game beasts, but of the smaller animals and birds of Africa; and looking at it dispassionately, it seems to me that the chance ought not to be neglected... What I would like to do would be to get one or two professional field taxidermists, field naturalists, to go with us, who should prepare and send back the specimens we collect. The collection which would thus go to the National Museum would be of unique value.” -Roosevelt in 1908, proposing his idea of an African safari to the administrator of the Smithsonian Institution
RARE SIGNED LIMITED FIRST EDITION, ONE OF ONLY 500 COPIES SIGNED BY ROOSEVELT. A BEAUTIFUL SET IN THE SCARCE DUST JACKETS.
“When Theodore Roosevelt retired from the presidency in 1909, he was only 50 years old. The youngest former president in American history, he was looking for adventure and for a project that would take him away from Washington, D.C., and politics. A naturalist at heart, he turned, not surprisingly, to his boyhood fascination for natural history. Three weeks after the inauguration of his successor, William Howard Taft, Roosevelt set out for British East Africa to hunt big game. The Smithsonian Institution co-sponsored the expedition. Many of the specimens were destined for the new U.S. National Museum building, then under construction on the Mall and today known as the National Museum of Natural History.
“Roosevelt was accompanied on the trip by his son, Kermit (age 19), who served as official photographer, and three representatives from the Smithsonian: Major Edgar A. Mearns (1856-1916), a retired Army surgeon and field naturalist, J. Alden Loring (1871-1947) and Edmund Heller (1875-1939), both zoologists... Already in Africa organizing the outfit were R.J. Cuninghame and Leslie Tarlton, both famous big-game hunters...
“The expedition traveled throughout what is today southern and western Kenya, the Congo, Uganda, and southern Sudan by train, horse, camel, and a steamboat on the Nile—stopping for weeks at each destination to collect specimens. They hunted elephants on the slopes of Mount Kenya, and rare white rhinoceros in the Lado region of British Uganda. In late February 1910 they hunted eland, a species of antelope, in the Belgian Congo. They ended the expedition in Khartoum, Sudan, on March 14, 1910. Before returning to New York, Roosevelt and his son first traveled to Oslo, Norway, to collect the Nobel Peace Prize he had been awarded five years earlier.
“The Smithsonian East Africa Expedition amassed a collection of 23,151 natural history specimens, totaling 160 species of carnivores, ungulates, rodents, insectivores, and bats. The mammals alone numbered 5,013 specimens, including nine lions, thirteen rhinoceros, twenty zebras, eight warthogs, and four hyenas. In addition to collecting specimens of African flora and fauna the expedition also collected ethnographic objects for the Museum. Each specimen was carefully documented by the Smithsonian naturalists to ensure its research value. It took eight years to catalogue all of the material. Ned Hollister, a zoologist and the superintendent of the National Zoo, completed the catalogue, East African Mammals in the United States National Museum, in three volumes (1918 to 1924)” (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History). Roosevelt quotes from Smithsonian Magazine.
Roosevelt’s record of the expedition, told so vividly in African Game Trails, has become arguably the most famous of all big-game hunting epics. Illustrated throughout.
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910. Large octavo, original three-quarter pigskin over tan boards; original tan dust jackets. Two volumes. Without the exceedingly rare original slipcases; now housed in a fine custom cloth box with leather label by noted book designer Sjoerd Hofstra. A little toning to spines of jackets and books, occasional light foxing; jackets with closed tears at upper joints. A magnificent set, extremely rare in such good condition in the original dust jackets.
Price: $9,500 .