The women hunter books include the works by the early huntresses who organised their own hunting safaris all over the world, those who hunted with their husbands in Africa and India and those who were expert fox and hound hunters.
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Amazons Of Black Sparta: The Women Warriors Of Dahomey by Stanley Alpern (1998). The only thoroughly documented amazons in world history are the women warriors of Dahomy, an eighteenth and nineteenth century Western African kingdom. Once dubbed a small black Sparta, residents of Dahomy shared with the Spartans an intense militarism and sense of collectivism. Moreover, the women of both kingdoms prided themselves on bodies hardened from childhood by rigorous physical exercise. But Spartan women kept in shape to breed male warriors, Dahomean amazons to kill them. Originally a praetorian guard, the Dahomeans developed into a force 6,000 strong and were granted semi-sacred status. They lusted for battle, fighting with fury and valour until the kingdom's final defeat by France in 1892.
Elena Di Francia, Duchessa D'Aosta (1871 - 1951) was born in Twickenham, England and was a member of the royal family of the Orléans and became Duchess of Aosta by marriage.
Her hunting travels began when she was advised to stay in warm climates due to poor health. In 1907 she arrived in Egypt and then to the Indian Ocean. She resumed travelling in 1908 after returning to Italy to help with a disastrous earthquake. This time she headed to South Africa and Rhodesia, followed a year later to Kenya and Somalia. In 1913 she reached Asia, visiting India, Ceylon, Indo-china, Borneo, Sumatra, Australia and New Zealand. She returned back across the United States, Canada and Spain.
Viaggi In Africa by Elena Di Francia, Duchessa D'Aosta (1913) is the account of the Duchess of Aosta's three hunting safaris to Africa between 1907 and 1911. Each trip lasted up to ten months at a time and she explored the Nile, the Congo and much of East Africa. Italian language only.
The Wandering Princess: Princess Helene Of France, Duchess of Aosta 1871-1951 by Edward W Hanson (2017) is the story of Helene's adventurous life - from an ill-fated romance in Queen Victoria's court to an Italian royal marriage. She fled from boredom to explore and hunt in Africa, but returned to serve Italy in the national crises of earthquake, epidemic and war, heading the Red Cross nurses in the front lines of the Great War.
Lady Viola Emily Mildred Bathurst Apsley (1895 - 1966) was a notable British politician and huntswoman before a serious accident confined her to a wheelchair.
Bridleways Through History by Lady Viola Apsley (1948) is a history of hunting deer and fox with horses and hounds through the ages with a short appendix on the European bison.
The Amateur Settlers by Lord Apsley & Lady Viola Apsley (c.1920) covers their 6 month trip to Australia in the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia.
To Whom The Goddess: Hunting And Riding For Women by Lady Viola Apsley with Lady Diana Sheddon (1932) is a history of the upper class woman as equestrian and huntress, from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century.
The Fox-Hunter's Bedside Book by Lady Viola Apsley (1949) is anthology of poems, anecdotes and quotations from the rich variety of fox-hunting literature from a wide range of contributors including Cecil Aldin, Duke of Beaufort, Wilfred Blunt, Winston Churchill, Lionel Edwards, Henry Fielding, "Mr Jorrocks", Rudyard Kipling, General Montgomery, Will Ogilvie, William Shakespeare, "Snaffles", Arthur Stringer, R S Surtees and more.
Mrs William Waters (S L) Baillie (b. 1856) was the English wife of a British army clergyman in India. Refusing to be left behind by her husband on his hunts, she became a very keen big game hunter in her own right and at the age of 65, wrote about her adventures hunting panthers, ibex, bison and tigers. She started hunting with a double .360 Express but quickly changed to a black powder.500 Express which was considered a better calibre for tigers. She survived a servere attack by a bear and carried on hunting even though her wounds had hardly healed.
Mrs Baillie was the only female hunter among dozens of male big game hunters, to feature in 'British Sports And Sportsmen: Big Game Hunting And Angling'
Days And Nights Of Shikar by Mrs W W Baillie (1921) is a very good colonial sporting work written from a woman's perspective. She had many firsthand encounters with the nastier insects of India so she includes fascinating practical methods of dealing with bee stings, ticks, leeches and scorpions. When she was stung by a scorpion, she advises to kill it and mash it up and apply the pulp to the bite as a poultice. Free Ebook
Astrid Bergman Sucksdorff (1927 - 2015)was a Swedish nature photographer, hunter and writer.
Tiger In Sight by Astrid Bergman Sucksdorf (1970) is an autobiographical account of a filming expedition to India and her unexpected encounters with man-eating tigers and leopards who were attacking people and cattle in a neighbouring village. The author, an expert markswoman, records events of overnight vigils, the excitement and fulfilment of the hunt and village life in the mountains and jungles of Central India.
Chendru, The Boy And The Tiger by Astrid Bergman Sucksdorf (1965) is the story of the life of a young boy, Chendru, of the Murias, a people of the Gahr-Bengal jungle of India, and his inseparable companion, Tambu the tiger cub.
Tooni The Elephant Boy by Astrid Bergman Sucksdorff (1971)
Courtney Louise Borden, nee Letts (1899 - 1995) was one of a quartet of debutantes in the Chicago social scene during World War I, described as "the four most attractive and socially desirable young women in Chicago". It was while she was married to her 2nd husband, John Borden, that she took up hunting, upland bird shooting, waterfowling, fly fishing, and other outdoor sports...."Dogs, and guns, and hunting togs had already replaced fur coats and were becoming more important than a closet of dressed-up clothes."
Adventures In A Man's World: The Initiation Of A Sportsman's Wife by Courtney Borden (1933). The author married John Borden, the boss of the biggest food company in America in 1925 and subsequently joined him on his sporting expeditions in search of a wide variety of quarry. A woman who can shoot straight, grin when she misses, go head over heels down the rapids and bewail only the lost steelhead has proved that sport is by no means only a man's world. Gamebirds, waterfowl, flyfishing, walrus shooting in the Arctic, brown bears in Alaska, polar bears and much else besides.
The Cruise Of The Northern Light:Explorations And Hunting In The Alaskan And Siberian Arctic by Mrs John Borden (1928) is the account of the Borden Field-Museum 1927 Alaska Arctic Expedition. The author, her husband and a crew largely composed of Sea Scouts left San Franciso for Juneau, the Bering Sea and ultimately Wrangel Island above the Arctic Circle.
Joyce Boyd went to East Africa with her daughters to make a new life after her divorce. She married Lionel Boyd in 1925, and like her friends, Karen Blixen and Bror Blixen, they established a coffee plantation near Arusha. She became a plucky and prolific hunter tackling an enraged leopard which was marauding her cattle. She was bitten by a venomous snake while stalking a rhino and walked for 5 hours back to camp with a hugely swollen and painful leg. Fortunately she was only hit by one fang but was consequently bedridden for 3 months with phlebitis.
My Farm In Lion Country by Joyce Boyd (1933) is an account of her farming life on the slopes of Mount Meru, Tanganyika after WW1. Includes considerable big game hunting with chapters 'My First Lion', 'Christmas on Safari' and 'Still on Safari'.
Fiona Claire Capstick was born in South Africa and was the wife of the late African hunting author Peter Hathaway Capstick. After assisting her husband with his writing, she became a successful author in her own right and co-wrote 'The Winds of Havoc: A Memoir Of Adventure And Destruction In Deepest Africa with Adelino Serras Pires, whom she later married.
The Diana Files: The Huntress Traveller Through Historyby Fiona Capstick (2004) was the product of many years' research and is the largely untold story of women and big game hunting.
Between Two Fires by Fiona Capstick (2012). The life and times of Margarete Trappe, who came out to settle in German East Africa in 1907 where she died half a century later. This young woman and her husband, Ulrich, trekked on foot over several weeks with their retinue from near Tanga on the coast to the foothills of Mount Meru, overlooking Mount Kilimanjaro. By 1928, Margarete Trappe had become the first full-time professional huntress in Africa and the preferred guide of the aristocracy of Europe during lengthy big game hunting expeditions.
Also another biography of Margarete Trappe by Maximilian Von Rogister
Diane Chasseresse (pseudonym of Mrs Walter Creyke) was an intrepid hunter from an early age when she accompanied her father and brothers out on the Scottish moors. She started hunting rabbits and ducks, then fishing for trout and salmon and graduated to hunting a royal stag, with a very small calibre rifle.
Sporting Sketches by Diane Chasseresse (1890) covers angling, stalking, duck shooting, black-game in the Scottish Highlands.
Audrey Critchley was a former British fashion model who moved to East Africa in 1946 where she became a big game hunter, animal collector, insurance saleswoman and ran an animal farm. In 1955 she became friends with John Hunter and set up a animal trapping business.
Leopard Girl by Audrey Critchley (1959) is an account of the post-war experiences of a woman who became a noted animal trapper and dealer in Kenya. She was known as 'Leopard Girl' because she wore leopard print trousers.
Gretchen Cron was the American born daughter of a steam ship company executive. She married the German, Herman Cron who owned a hunting estate where she learned to hunt. In 1925 they took their first of 4 safaris to East Africa where they hunted and photographed many animals. More than 80 of the Cron's African trophies were donated in 1950 to the Offenburg Museum, Germany
The Roaring Veldt by Gretchen Cron (1930). Accompanied by her husband Herman, Cron describes several hunting trips to the Serengeti Plains of Tanganyika in the 1920s. She describes exciting hunting encounters with elephant, rhino and lion, with a particularly hair raising account of stalking a bull buffalo dubbed the 'Black Shadow.' There are additional descriptions of hunting leopard and kongoni. Herman Cron battled a severe bout with malaria and the opportune arrival of Denys Finch-Hatton helped save his life.
With Rifle And Petticoat: Women As Big Game Hunters 1880-1940 by Kenneth P Czech (2002) details specific time periods, regions hunted (Africa, Alaska, The Plains) and individual women, Kenneth Czech explores the interesting women who hunted a variety of big game animals around the world.
Other books by Kenneth Czech
Isabel De Quintanilla married professional hunter, Tony Sanchez-Arino in 1963 and went to Africa. She became an accomplished big game hunter herself, especially of elephant.
A Thousand Trails Through Africa by Isabel De Quintanilla (2005) is the story of Isabel De Quintanilla who left a privileged life in Valencia in the 1960s and followed the man of her dreams, Tony Sanchez-Arino, to Africa. In spite of extreme conditions and bouts with malaria and Dengue fever, they formed a hugely successful safari business in some of the most remote parts of Africa.
Vivienne Florence Beatrice De Watteville (1900 - 1957) was a British writer and adventurer. In 1923 she and her father went on a safari trip through Kenya, Uganda and the Belgian Congo, hunting for trophies for the Natural History Museum in Berne, Switzerland. When her father was killed by a lion, Vivienne De Watteville continued successfully hunting the animals she needed and finished the trip completely alone.
Out In The Blue by Vivienne De Watteville (1927) is her first book in which she describes her experiences on safari.
Speak To The Earth: Wanderings And Reflections Among Elephants And Mountains by Vivienne De Watteville (1937) tells of her photo safari in 1928-29. She spent two months in a hut on Mount Kenya and met the British mountaineers Shipton and Tilman.
Lady Augusta Augusta Fanny Rous Fane (1858 - 1950) was a prominent figure in London society. She travelled extensively in Europe, was a keen fox hunter and the author of a volume of reminiscences.
Chit Chat by Lady Augusta Fane (1926) are reminiscences including two chapters on fox hunting with hounds.
Helen Fischer was born in Switzerland and went to America where she became a professional animal photographer by way of the hunt. She hunted and took photographs all over North America and Mexico, but she eventually found the biggest satisfaction in the photographs she had taken, so gave up hunting.Peril Is My Companion by Helen Fischer (1957). Translated from the German by Eleanor Brockett. This is the record of Fischer's photo-safari around East Africa with an excursion to visit the Congo pygmies and details of her earlier life as a big game hunter.
Nora Beatrice Blyth Gardner (1866 - 1944) was married to Colonel Alan Coulston Gardner who was a keen big game hunter and whom she always accompanied on safari.
Rifle And Spear With The Rajpoots: Being The Narrative Of a Winter's Travel And Sport In Northern India by Nora Gardner (1895) is an entertaining account of a journey and hunting trip to Srinagar, Islamabad, Chamba, Lahore, Dholpur, Muttra, Baroda, Jaipur, Kotah, Jodpur and other places. Free eBook
Lady Beatrice Violet Greville (1842 - 1932) was the daughter of the 4th Duke of Montrose. She became a prolific novelist, editor and feature writer, as well as a keen sportswoman.
Ladies In The Field: Sketches Of Sport edited by Lady Violet Greville (1894) is a collection of essays by various authors about the merits of outdoor life and hunting for women. She wrote the first chapter titled 'Riding In Ireland And India'. Free eBook
Women On Hunting: Essays, Fiction And Poetry by Pam Houston (1994) has drawn together a collection of texts that explores territories most often left for men. From the perspectives of both the hunter and the hunted, here are rich and varied works by Margaret Atwood, Anne Beattie, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Dillard, Louise Erdrich and others.
Hunting, Shooting And Fishing by Mrs Victor Hurst (1953) are memories of fifty years of fox hunting, mostly in Shropshire and the West Midlands with game shooting and trout and salmon fishing, largely in Scotland.
Lady Catherine Minna Jenkins was married to Sir Lawrence Hugh Jenkins, who was a judge in Bombay. She was a highly experienced hunter having taken 5 tigers in India and much game in British Somaliland before she set off to hunt Tibet for 4 months, while her husband was busy.
Sport And Travel In Both Tibets by Lady Minna Jenkins (1909). The author was one of the only Edwardian-era women who embarked on her own hunting expeditions. Animals hunted include blue sheep, Tibetan argali, gazelles, urial, barrasingha, ibex and markhor. Free eBook
Grace Watkins King (1877 - 1975) was the wife of Minnesota businessman Ernest Leroy King. With her husband, she travelled to Kenya on safari in 1924. She not only shot lions on safari but also shot clays with Annie Oakley. In 1924 their many African trophies, which were set up by taxidermist James L Clark, were donated to the Winona National Bank.
Hunting Big Game In Africa by Mrs E L King (1926) is an account of her African hunting safari in 1924. Grace King was quite well acquainted with firearms and purchased her heavy rifle from Dr Richard Sutton. They established a base camp on the N'Goro Nderi river where they hunted lion, buffalo and a variety of plains game. Along the Guaso Nyiro, they bagged elephant and hippo.
Edith Emily Money Maturin (b.1865) was born in India and was married to Frederick Harvey Maturin. Following their divorce Edith went to live in South Africa as Mrs Cecil-Porch in 1910.
Adventures Beyond The Zambesi: Of The O'Flaherty, The Insular Miss, The Soldier Man And The Rebel-Woman by Mrs Fred Maturin (1913) is the account of a hunting expedition, with the author making much of her suffragette convictions.
Petticoat Pilgrims On Trek by Mrs Fred Maturin (1909) is a first-person account of travelling across South Africa in 1903-4.
Woman Afield by Lucille Harris McConnaughey (1987) is about hunting in Alaska with hunting guide Jay Hammond who would become governor of Alaska.
After Big Game: The Story Of An African Holiday by R S and Mrs M E Meikle (1915) is an account of travels on the Uganda Railway and an excursion into German East Africa. The authors were friends of the Governor of Kenya, Sir Henry Belfield and visited East Africa on a hunting trip at his invitation so were treated royally wherever they went. With a safari consisting of 144 members, the Meikles proceeded to hunt in British East Africa near the Guaso Nyiro. They bagged hartebeest, oryx, rhinoceros, lion, gerenuk and waterbuck. After a bout with dysentery, the party returned to the field where Mrs Meikle relates a variety of camp experiences with a bit of buffalo hunting mixed in. There is a final chapter in the book written by F G Aflalo relating to fishing in the Protectorate. It includes sea-fish at Mombasa, trout in the Aberdares, barbel at the Nile Falls and the giant perch and tigerfish of Lake Albert. Free eBook
Amy Charlotte Bewicke Menzies (b.1856) was married to Capt. Stuart Alexander Menzies and was an author of several books.
Women In The Hunting Field by Mrs Stuart Menzies (1913) is a snapshot of pre-war English hunting from the woman's side. This book is really a primer on English hunting in general with a sections on fox, hare and stag hunting. Free eBook
Florence H Morden (d.1939) was the first wife of the explorer, scientist and big game hunter, William Morden who led several expeditions in Asia and Africa on behalf of the American Museum of Natural History. Florence often accompanied her husband and kept a personal notebook to record their travels. Upon her death in 1939, William Morden published this book privately.
From The Field Notebook Of Florence H Morden by Florence H Morden (1940) has details on a hunt in British East Africa for lion, sitatunga and elephant, with additional sport in Kashmir and Ladakh.
House-Boat Days In The Vale Of Kashmir by Florence H Morden (1929). Article from the National Geographic Magazine, October 1929
Baroness Hilda Louisa Janey Murray (1872 - 1929) was a Scottish sportswoman who was married to Baron Murray of Elibank. She died following an accidental discharge of her gun when shooting near her house.
Echoes Of Sport by Hilda Murray (1910) Hare, ptarmigan, wildfowl, grouse, partridge, stalking, angling in Scotland and a couple of chapters on hunting. An interesting work by a fine sporting lady. Free eBook
Marguerite Roby was an American by marriage, a widow and seasoned traveller who, after reading a book about the Congo while travelling to Australia, suddenly decided to stop off and explore Africa. Her first husband was a physician from Philadelphia and she then studied medicine with her second husband in New York. Her medical knowledge was immensely useful in a trip beset with illness, injury and there was no better way of keeping the peace with the natives, than attending to their afflictions.
"Frequently, my bearers became mutinous, and I had to deal with them unaided. One of my boys, however, named Thomas, was very faithful to me, and I owe my life to him, for when I had a bad attack of fever and my temperature was 107 degrees he saved me from death by persistently pouring cold water over my head after letting down my hair. I was quite unconscious, and had given myself a dose of morphia in the hope that if I was to die I might pass away easily. And I shall never forget the look of joy on Thomas's face when, after a sleep of five days, I opened my eyes. Altogether I had three attacks of fever, and the last was so bad that I had to make my way when I was convalescent from Lake Victoria Nyanza to Mombasa, and thence by steamer to Marseilles."
My Adventures In The Congo by Marguerite Roby (1911) recounts her adventurous trip to Africa, first incognito as a maid to a wealthy couple, then as a bicyclist through the Belgian Congo. She hunted hippopotamus, elephant and buffalo. On more than one occasion she had to face down mutinous porters. Free eBook
The Twilight Zone Of A Huntress by Kay Evon Sampson (2011) is a collection of short hunting stories. At age 54, Kay Evon Sampson married a big game hunter and soon became one herself. She hunted a Kodiak brown bear and a mountain goat on Kodiak Island and hunted in Namibia. She was consequently awarded the Safari Club International's Diana Award.
Olive Muriel Smythies, nee Cripps (b. 1890) was 18 years old when she married Evelyn Arthur Smythies who became a distinguished philatelist and forestry officer in India. Evelyn Smythies and Jim Corbett proposed that an area in Uttarakhand to become a national park and in 1936, the Hailey National Park came into being as India's first National Park. It was later renamed the Jim Corbett National Park.
Tiger Lady: Adventures In The Indian Jungle by Olive Smythies (1953)is about life as the wife of a Forestry Officer in India and Nepal for 36 years.
Ten Thousand Miles On Elephants by Olive Smythies (1961) tells the story of her experiences during the many years she and her husband, Evelyn Smythies, spent in India, where they had their home, lived and worked, and shot and fished, amidst some of the most magnificent scenery in the world. Besides India, the author travelled extensively in Burma and Borneo and recalls many of the scenes and events there which interested her most. The author also writes about the years they spent in Nepal.
Jungle Families by Olive Smythies (1954) are four animal tales set in the Indian jungle.
Woman The Hunter by Mary Zeiss Stange (1997). Exploring how women and men relate to nature and violence, Mary Zeiss Stange demonstrates how false assumptions abut women and about hunting permeate contemporary thought. Her book is a profound critique of our society's evasion of issues that make us uncomfortable, and it culminates in a surprising claim: that only by appreciating the value of hunting can we come to understand what it means to be human.
Heart Shots: Women Write About Hunting by Mary Zeiss Stange (2003) is an interesting anthology of pieces on big game hunting and deer shooting by a wide range of women writers, largely from the twentieth century. Bear, deer, elk and other quarry in North America, trapping, shooting on the Nile, lots of big game hunting in various parts of Africa, lions, tigers, ducks, geese and shooting over marshes, antelope, coyote shooting and a lot else besides.
Gun Women: Firearms And Feminism In Contemporary America by Mary Zeiss Stange (2000) paints a precise and unflinching account of America's gun women.
Diana Strickland was an English adventurer and author who was known in her time to be a 'modern woman' a 'wealthy society beauty', 'a keen big-game hunter and a fine shot' and a 'tropical explorer'. Not only did she journey and hunt across the Congo, in 1927 she drove a Wolverhampton-built Star motor car from Dakar in west Africa to Maswa in the east. This expedition, though completed, was very difficult - her navigator died of black water fever, her mechanic fell ill and returned home and the French authorities tried to prevent her crossing the Sahara alone. She never published an account of this 13 month long journey.
Through The Belgian Congo by Diana Strickland (1925) is an account of the author's journey and big game hunt in the Belgian Congo. Sources differ as to whether she took her husband along because she writes of the "uplifting experience to find oneself in command of an expedition". There were three English men in her hunting party only known as Briggs, Payn & Douglas - some sources presume Douglas was her husband. Diana Strickland observed and writes about the brutality of the Belgian administration in the Congo. She was also a practical hunter who always got stuck in with tracking in arduous terrain, skinning animals, making soap from hippo fat and killing a charging buffalo when Douglas's rifle jammed. She describes hunting hippo, elephant, waterbuck near Lake Kivu, lion on the Ruindi Plain and buffalo and more elephant in the Ituri Forest.
Mrs Richard Tyacke, born Isabella Edwards, (d.1927) was the wife of sportsman Lt. Col. Richard Humphrey Tyacke who served in India. They were both avid hunters and wrote books about their hunting trips to Albania, Kashmir and the western Himalayas.
How I Shot My Bears: Or Two Years' Tent Life In Kullu And Lahoul by Mrs Richard Tyacke (1893). The author was one of the great characters of nineteenth-century Kulu. She arrived with the sporting writer Richard Humphrey Tyacke causing some local scandal as no one was sure of their marital status. Five-foot-one in height, her favourite pastime was hunting game, killing in her first season 6 black bears and 8 red ones as well as more than 500 birds and 11 deer. This might have been considerably increased "had we cared to go in for slaughter". Between the accounts of her killing and skinning she does provide a fine description of Kulu in the late nineteenth century. Free eBook
Ethel Younghusband travelled to British East Africa with her husband who was a captain in the King's African Rifles. She joined her husband on several hunting trips in Uganda.
Glimpses Of East Africa And Zanzibar by Ethel Younghusband (1910). After joining her husband at Mombasa, the author enjoyed all manner of travel and sporting adventures in Kenya. She relates episodes of visiting Masai villages and hunting expeditions to the Settima Hills. She concludes that Africa was an excellent place for women to visit but not live. Free eBook