African Game Trails by Theodore Roosevelt, Circa 1910

Roosevelt, Theodore. African Game Trails. New York and London: Syndicate Publishing Company, circa 1910. Original boards and color plates.

Presented is Theodore Roosevelt’s African Game Trails published in 1909 and 1910 by the Syndicate Publishing Company. The book features over 200 illustrations from photos taken by Roosevelt’s son, Kermit Roosevelt, and others on the expedition. African Game Trails still retains its original brown cloth boards decorated with an exciting lion hunting scene. The book is housed in a protective archival slipcase designed to match.

After serving for two terms as president, Theodore Roosevelt declined to run for office again in 1908. Instead, he left for Africa in April 1909 with his son, Kermit, and a party of 250 porters and guides on a big game hunting expedition. Known for his love of the wild and the establishment of national parks, Roosevelt had a keen interest in collecting specimens for scientific study. He made an arrangement with the Smithsonian Museum (then called National Museum) for “one or two professional field taxidermists, field naturalists, to go with us, who should prepare and send back specimens we collect.” He then offered to donate the large game he planned to hunt for the museum’s natural history collection. Many of his donated specimens, including the rhinoceroses, are still at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History today. With the growing human populations expanding into these animals’ habitats, Roosevelt aimed to record information on the large mammals of East Africa before they disappear.

Scribner’s Magazine sponsored Roosevelt with a $50,000 commission to produce twelve articles on the African safari. These articles later were published together and became African Game Trails. The narrative describes the trip in great depth, with tips for animal tracking and hunting as well as a comprehensive overview of the African landscape. While the book is primarily written about big game hunting and Roosevelt’s experiences, he also relays his ideas for the westernization of African civilizations. Over the year that Roosevelt spent in Africa, he collected over one thousand specimens including elephants, rhinoceroses, lions, and zebras. African Game Trails provides a record of early 20th century African culture and natural history through the lens of an American hunter and naturalist.


Overall age appropriate condition. The original decorative boards show some edgewear and rubbing. Areas of loss have been conserved and stabilized and the end papers are slightly discolored from age. The binding is tight and internally, the pages are clean and bright.

Dimensions: 10” H x  7” W x 2.25” D (with slipcase)

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