The Archivist: 1914 Oklahoma game warden's report reads like pure poetry

Mary Phillips: Oklahoma game warden of 1914 talked about love of wildlife.
BY MARY PHILLIPS, Published: January 6, 2014
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Every new year brings a multitude of end-of-the-year reports and one hundred years ago, the newspaper was full of stories about the accomplishments of 1913 and the hopes for 1914.

This article appeared in The Oklahoman on Jan. 1, 1914, under the headline “Gothamites Think Well of Oklahoma Fish and Game Warden.”

When John B. Doolin, state game and fish warden issued his annual report, lovers of nature quickly showed great satisfaction at the novelty of a report which told of the wonders of field, forest and stream, on which held figures to the background, even though the department showed a large profit for the benefit of the state treasury.

In the east, where the reports of the Doolin kind are unknown, nature lovers were startled and pleased at the readable report of John Doolin, and the New York Tribune commented on the report as follows:

“Among the dull, dreary wastes of official documents, the annual report of John B. Doolin, game and fish warden of Oklahoma, slips before the eye, a green and shady oasis. “Field, Forest and Stream,” it is called. And there is hardly a dull page in it.

“Anybody can write statistics, is John B.'s idea. The difficult thing is to interest people in wildlife and so get the needed laws to protect your game. Song birds, game birds and game animals are in many cases at the point of extinction, he observes ‘There never was a more pathetic tragedy than this slaughter of week and helpless creatures.'”

“However, it is not with tragedy, but with rich luscious, dripping tales of the woods and the brooks and the rivers that our friend, the warden, makes his plea. Have you heard of the catfish of Cimarron river, in Pleasant Valley? In this salty, yellow stream, ‘where bed of shifting sand is as clean as if swept hourly with a housewife's broom,' there swim untold numbers of drum, rock buffalo, carp and hickory shad. Also there flourishes the yellow catfish, reaching a weight of 100 pounds.

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