Bergh, Henry

Bergh, Henry bûrg [key], 1811–88, American philanthropist, b. New York City. He founded (1866) the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This organization, the first of its kind in the country, was granted the authority to enforce local animal protection laws by the New York state legislature in the same year. In 1875, with Elbridge T. Gerry and others, he helped form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. His father, Christian Bergh, 1763–1843, b. near Rhinebeck, N.Y., was a shipbuilder. At his East River yard he built the President and other U.S. naval ships that fought in the War of 1812, and later designed and built packet ships.

See Z. Steele, Angel in Top Hat (1942); E. Freeberg, A Traitor to His Species: Henry Bergh and the Birth of the Animal Rights Movement (2020).

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