He was born in 1858 in New York City. Homeschooled for most of his formative years, he would go on to attend Harvard College with this advice from his father: “Take care of your morals first, your health next and finally your studies.” After graduating magna cum laude, he moved on to Columbia Law School. But rather than pursue a legal career, he chose to enter politics, where he would soon become a national figure.
Outside of the spotlight, he was active and athletic, pursuing interests such as boxing, tennis, hiking, rowing, polo and horseback riding. In particular, he had a passion for hunting: From an early age, he was fascinated with insects, wildlife and the outdoors, and he shot his first bird at the age of 14. He also taught himself taxidermy and created his own “museum of natural history.”
To him, hunting was more than just an enjoyable sport, it was an opportunity to help protect the world’s natural resources. He was the consummate conservationist who, having derived such great satisfaction from wildlife and nature, worked to preserve it for generations to come.
Click here to learn more about the sportsman and firearms enthusiast whose custom Springfield sporting rifle is shown here. His is just one of the many fascinating treasures on display at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va.