In 1899 Edward H. Harriman, like a small but growing number of adventurous individuals, vacationed in Alaska. Harriman, however, was far from a typical tourist. A shrewd, aggressive financier who was putting together a railroad empire and making himself one of the richest men in the world, Harriman set out to hunt Alaska brown bear in a style befitting a man of his wealth and station. Having leased the George H. Elder, a luxurious steam yacht with room for more than 100 guests and crew, Harriman began to reconsider the purpose of his trip. By the time the Elder left Seattle on May 31, 1899, he had recruited 25 of the country’s leading scientists, including naturalists John Muir, John Burroughs, and George Bird ...

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