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The Feather Trade and the American Conservation Movement

This virtual exhibit from the National Museum of American History focuses on the odd origins of the Audubon society and other early conservation movements: nineteenth-century America's rage for plumage to adorn women's hats. Divided into three sections -- Feather Adornment, Hunting and Collecting, and Audubon Movement -- this exhibit begins by illustrating the use of feathers, and indeed whole birds, as fashion accessories in a period fascinated with the natural world. The excessive hunting practices which fed this fashion and the subsequent devastation of populations of native birds such as the egret led concerned "socialites" to found the Audubon society. The exhibit is brief but studded with numerous interesting thumbnails, from a 1903 advertisement urging consumers to "buy direct" from an ostrich farm to a letter from Teddy Roosevelt praising "the substitution of the camera for the gun."
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Date Issued c1999
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 1999-03-12
Archived Scout Publication URL

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