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Ernest Harold Baynes

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Baynes, Buffalo, and Birds

An Illustrated Talk

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Ernest Baynes was an important early conservationists and animal restorationist of the early 20th century. A self-taught naturalist, he published his photographs, articles, and eleven books illustrating the interconnectedness of man and animal. Baynes’ house in Meriden was filled with tame animals including bear, fox, boar, and wolf. A natural showman, he took to the road to promote his conservation causes. Baynes toured the country with a pair of trained draft bison and wagon to bring public attention to the near extinction of the American bison. He argued, “a loss to the world which can never be repaired, since an animal once extinct has gone forever.” While serving as a conservator to the bison herd in New Hampshire’s Corbin Park, he made the acquaintance of Theodore Roosevelt and eventually convinced the President to support the founding of the American Bison Society. Another passion for Baynes was the fight against the slaughter of birds for their plumage. He established the Meriden Bird Club, one of the first bird sanctuaries in the nation. Baynes visited Europe after World War I to document how the Allied Powers used animals to win the war. In recent years, the Plainfield Historical Society acquired over 5,0000 glass negatives from the attic of the Meriden home where Baynes died in 1925. The organization mounted a volunteer effort to digitalize and categorize this photographic archive. This illustrated presentation includes many of these images.

To book this presentation (in person or Zoom),
please contact Mary via the Contact Page.

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