Ernest Thompson Seton, Founder of the Woodcraft Movement 1860-1946: Apostle of Indian Wisdom and Pioneer Ecologist

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This book focuses on artist-naturalist Ernest Thompson Seton, a man who has been compared with Kipling as a writer, with Audubon as a bird artist, with Baden-Powell as a youth leader, and with Fabre as a naturalist. Despite these weighty comparisons and the fact that he was a key inspiration for many later wildlife conservationists and ecologists, Seton has remained a much neglected figure. This lucidly written and well-researched study provides a splendid introduction to the life and work of this “creative genius”, demonstrating the importance of Seton as the naturalist who, at the turn of the twentieth century, was largely responsible for initiating an ecological consciousness and ethic. Instead of focusing on Seton’s personal life, this book presents Seton as a wildlife artist, as a pioneer literary figure who established the realistic animal story, as the apostle of American Indian culture, as well as an influential figure in the founding of the Boy Scouts.


“Dr. Morris sets Seton and his work in historical context and in the context of a history of ideas about humans and nature, conservation and ecology, children and their needs. He reveals some of the tensions between the scientific and humanist view of nature, and between the romantic and utilitarian ideal types.” – (from the Foreword) Professor Pat Caplan, Goldsmiths College, London

“ ... this book on Ernest Thompson Seton is a much needed study of an unjustly neglected genius: a pioneer ecologist, the creator of the realistic animal story, and the inspirer of the outdoor youth movements, including the Boy Scouts. [He] was ahead of his time, and now the issues he was concerned with are becoming of great public interest, Professor Morris’s book is warmly to be welcomed.” – Professor R.A. Atcherley, University of Brighton

“...a serious work on an important but neglected subject, extremely well executed.” – Professor Roy Ellen, University of Kent at Canterbury

Table of Contents

Foreword by Pat Caplan
1. Introduction
2. The Backwoods Boy
3. The Artist-Naturalist
4. The Animal Biographer
5. The Founder of the Woodcraft Movement
6. The Apostle of Indian Wisdom

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