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100 Year Ago: November 1916

This is the 23rd installment of my ongoing series of short reviews of 100-year old National Geographic Magazines.

One of my favorite types of National Geographic Magazines are the Field Guide issues.  The November 1916 issue is one of the best.

As you can see from the cover, the entire issue is dedicated to “The Larger North American Mammals” starting with a frontispiece of a four-color drawing of an Alaskan Brown Bear:

Image courtesy of Philip Riviere.

This is followed by a short article (23 pages) written by E. W. Nelson and containing 24 illustrations.  Seventeen of those illustrations are black and white photographs of large mammals in the wild (8 of them are full page) and seven black and white drawings of animals that lived in prehistoric North America.

The article describes the decline in population of many of these species from overhunting and loss of habitats.  It then diverts to a discussion of extinct mammal whose remains have been found in tar pits and other fossil beds.  Lastly, it goes into the current efforts at preservation by federal and state governments and by private entities.


The article is followed by a 65-page Field Guide of which 32 contain 49 four-color painting by Louis Agassiz Fuertes.  The other 33 pages contain descriptions of the animals.  These descriptions include the animal’s common name, its genus and species (in Latin), its range, diet, and other interesting facts about it.  On the bottom of the last page there is an alphabetic index of all the animals reference.  It includes the page numbers of the text description and the illustration of the animal.  Note: the frontispiece is counted as one of the illustrations but has no page number.

Tom Wilson

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Love, love, love ! this issue, you are truly correct.... "one of the best" NGM's period. Near and dear to my heart. And the illustrations artworks have a charm and simplicity and realism that I greatly treasure.

This is one of my favorite (eg, illustrated) supplements as well.

Thanks for adding the sample images to Tom's excellent review Phil.



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