Portrait of George Bird Grinnell, Diary of the Washburn expedition to the Yellowstone and Firehole rivers in the year 1870 by Nathaniel Pitt Langhorne (1905), published by the author.
Born on September 20, 1849, George Bird Grinnell was an anthropologist and historian who was fascinated with Native American lore. A student of the famed Audubon, even living at the former Audubon estate, he was a fervent fan of all nature. He became a naturalist, eventually participating in General Custer’s Black Hills expedition in 1874. There in the Black Hills, he became familiar with the local Native American tribes and was even adopted into the Pawnee under the name “White Wolf.” He would later receive similar names from other tribes, and he became an advocate for the welfare and treatment of Native Americans. Grinnell eventually authored more than 20 books, including Blackfoot Lodge Tales: Stories of a Prairie People. Throughout his life, his commitment for nature and Native Americans never wavered. Grinnell was the founding member of the Audubon Society of New York (which later became the National Audubon Society), and was the editor of Field and Stream magazine. After being named Head Chief by White Calf, chief of the Blackfeet, he became a liaison between the government and the tribes to create understanding between the two groups. Grinnell passed away in 1938, leaving behind a legacy of legislation, written records and passionate advocacy.