Bergh, Henry(bûrg), 1811–88, American philanthropist, b. New York City. He founded (1866) the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to AnimalsAmerican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(A.S.P.C.A.), chartered in 1866 in New York by Henry Bergh to shelter homeless animals, to assist farmers in caring for their livestock, and to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the prosecution of game-law
..... Click the link for more information. . This organization, the first of its kind in the country, was granted the authority to enforce local animal protection laws by the New York state legislature in the same year. In 1875, with Elbridge T. GerryGerry, Elbridge Thomas,
1837–1927, American reformer, b. New York City; grandson of Elbridge Gerry. Admitted (1860) to the New York bar, he came to be adviser to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and soon afterward became interested in child
..... Click the link for more information. and others, he helped form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. His father, Christian Bergh, 1763–1843, b. near Rhinebeck, N.Y., was a shipbuilder. At his East River yard he built the President and other U.S. naval ships that fought in the War of 1812, and later designed and built packet ships.
See Z. Steele, Angel in Top Hat (1942); E. Freeberg, A Traitor to His Species: Henry Bergh and the Birth of the Animal Rights Movement (2020).
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Bergh, Henry(1811–88) animal protection pioneer; born in New York City. Manager of his father's shipyard (1837–43), he traveled overseas after his father's death and spent one year in St. Petersburg, Russia (1863–64), as secretary of the United States legation. Resigning because of his wife's ill health, and becoming increasingly concerned with the inhumane treatment of animals, he founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) after his return (1866). He later assisted in the formation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (1875). Although he wrote several plays, poetry, and some literary sketches, he is best known for turning the ASPCA into an international movement.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.