Susan Fenimore Cooper was an early voice in the tradition of American nature history writing. She composed a nature journal entitled Rural Hours and many essays about nature and landscape. In her works, Cooper described the regional, natural environment around her home village──Cooperstown, New York; her writings were one of the first American natural histories. Establishing Cooper as early female natural historian, this paper will focus on Cooper’s investigations of the Cooperstown region.
In this essay, there are two principal parts. In the beginning, the paper will define natural history and establish Cooper as early female natural historian in America. In the second part, this essay will closely examine Cooper’s effectiveness as a natural history writer: it will analyze how Cooper introduced generations of American readers to the knowledge and the understanding of the Cooperstown region and celebrated the American natural environment as a cultural resource; also, it will examine how Cooperconveyed her ecological ideas (such as the idea of the common links among all living species, and so forth) and advocated conservation ethic in her natural historical discourse, thereby introducing a pattern of proto-ecological thinking for American culture.