Through the journals of explorers from Columbus onward runs a theme of wonder and joy over beauty and natural resources. Once the idea of the Smithsonian Institution caught hold, other agencies were able to follow the lead. Nomenclature, orderly collecting methods, and popular enthusiasm became established. Mrs. Eifert's capsule biographies of Catesby, Bartram, Lewis & Clark, Alexander Wilson, Robert Ridgway and other leading American ornithologists illuminate the continuity of their work with the modern emphasis on conservation and re-development. She also includes chapters on some scientific explorers of the nothern reaches of the continent.