Naturalist George Bird Grinnell wrote a series of young adult adventure novels between 1899 and 1913 in response to a fear about the future of America’s masculine identity. In this Independent Study, I ask the question: how did the Young Jack series serve as one of the solutions to the white wealthy male’s perceived crisis of masculinity? Grinnell wrote the novels in response to this crisis that was occurring during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in America. The Young Jack novels served as one of the means for the frontier clubsmen to abate their fears of a generation of effeminate young men, a disappearing frontier, and an increase in immigrant populations. To answer this question, I explored four main themes: boyhood, masculinity, wilderness, and whiteness. Through an analysis of the Young Jack series, I concluded that the novels presented Jack Danvers as the model for an ideal transformation from a young boy to an American man. The Young Jack series are an invaluable source which provide insight into the motives of the white wealthy men and the young American boys they hoped to influence.


Roche, Jeff




American Studies | Cultural History | History of Gender | United States History


Gilded Age, masculinity, wilderness, nature, whiteness, boyhood, George Bird Grinnell, Theodore Roosevelt

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Ariel N. Veroske