‘The wolf is the enemy of civilization, and I want to exterminate him’

Corbin's Advice or The Wolf Hunter's Guide. Tells How to Catch 'Em and All about the Science of Wolf Hunting.

Bismarck, N. D: The Tribune Co., Printers, 1900.

Price: $2,750.00

About the item

Only edition. With illustrations from photographs in text. 76, [1] pp. 1 vols. 12mo. ‘The wolf is the enemy of civilization, and I want to exterminate him’. Original printed buckram. Mailing panel of envelope tipped to upper cover. Very good (toned, a few short marginal flaws). Phillips, p. 87; not in Heller. OCLC: 44441706 (Yale, State Hist. Soc. of North Dakota).

Item #314514

Scarce polemical guide to wolf hunting by Benjamin Corbin (1835-1912), Civil War soldier, trapper, hunter, stockman and frontier land promoter, who called himself the “boss wolf hunter.” Born in Virginia, he was raised in Ohio and hunted there and in Iowa before emigrating to North Dakota. Corbin boasts of eighty wolf scalps from Iowa, where a bounty was paid for every wolf killed, and advocates a county and state bounty for the extirmination of wolves. Corbin’s Advice includes chapters on his Civil War experiences and transcripts of his struggle to get paid his wolf bounty. With discussion of the North Dakota wolf population and the cost of depredations to ranchers’ flocks and herds.

In Wolves and the Wolf Myth in American Literature (2009), S. K. Robisch describes one of Corbin’s trapping methods as the exemplar of “what has been done to wolves in the United States …demanding that we rethink ourselves, our literature, and our mythology in earnest,” and concludes, “Sometimes the job is to aim someone’s face at Ben Corbin’s advice and hold it there until revulsion gives way to awareness.”

Inscribed on the front flyleaf, “Compliments of Benj. Corbin.”

This copy with a stamped address panel to J. W. Freeland, Corydon, Iowa. Freeland (1840-1912) was a county judge and trustee of the town. Corbin’s book was printed at the offices of the Bismarck Weekly Tribune, in a June 1899 issue of which Corbin advertised town lots for sale in Glencoe, Emmons County, with a youthful portrait of himself and a sketch of a trapping young wolves (both cuts appear in the present volume).