Seton, Ernest Thompson

Seton, Ernest Thompson,

1860–1946, American writer and artist, b. England. His name was originally Ernest Seton Thompson. His stories and paintings of wildlife, especially Wild Animals I Have Known (1898, new ed. 1942), were standard works on nature study and wood lore for boys and girls in the first quarter of the 20th cent. In 1902 he organized the Woodcraft Indians (later the Woodcraft League), much in the spirit of the later Boy Scout (now Scout) movement.


See his autobiography, The Trail of an Artist-Naturalist (1940) and extracts from his journals, ed. by his widow, J. M. Seton (1967).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Seton, Ernest Thompson


Born Aug. 14, 1860, in South Shields, England; died Oct. 23, 1946, in Santa Fe, N.M. Canadian writer, animal painter, and naturalist.

Seton graduated from the Ontario College of Arts in 1879. For many years he lived in backwoods and prairie areas. He wrote about 40 books, mainly about animals, which he illustrated with accurate and skillful drawings. Several of his books were devoted to the life and folklore of Indians and Eskimos.

Seton’s first work was “Life of the Prairie Chicken” (1883). He won fame with Wild Animals I Have Known (1898), Lives of the Hunted (1901), and the eight-volume Lives of Game Animals (1925–27). He also published The Biography of a Grizzly (1900), The Birchbark Roll (1906), and Woodcraft and Indian Lore (1912). Seton’s books, which combine scientific accuracy with entertaining narration, have influenced many animal writers.


In Russian translation:
Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1–10. Moscow, 1910.
Moiazhizn’. Translated by A. Makarova. Rostov-on-Don, 1957.
Rol’fvlesakh. Moscow, 1958.
Rasskazy o zhivotnykh. Moscow, 1966.
Kregkuteneiskii baran. Moscow, 1974.


“Pamiati E. Setona-Tompsona.” Sovetskaia kul’tura, Aug. 13, 1960. Garst, D. S., and W. Garst. Ernest Thompson Seton, Naturalist. New
York, 1959.
Pacey, D. Creative Writing in Canada. [Toronto] 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Seton, Ernest Thompson

(1860–1946) naturalist, writer, illustrator; born in Durham, England. The 12th of 14 children, he emigrated to Canada with his family in 1866 when his father's shipping business failed. He studied art, but returned to his first love, natural history, writing and illustrating a series of books about birds and animals; critics accused him of humanizing his wild creatures for narrative effect. He was a strong proponent of conservation and of preserving Indian culture and woodcraft skills. A founder of the Boy Scouts of America (1910), he resigned as chief scout in 1915 to protest former President Theodore Roosevelt's campaign to "militarize" scouting. He spent his last years in a country house he built in New Mexico.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Seton, Ernest Thompson. Trail of an Artist-Naturalist: The Autobiography of Ernest Thompson Seton.
Seton, Ernest Thompson. "Ernest Thompson Seton's Boys." Ladies Home Journal 19.8 (July 1902): 17.