James Fenimore Cooper (17891851) was born in Burlington, New Jersey, and his family moved to Cooperstown, New York, while he was still an infant. He attended Yale College until he was expelled for bad behavior. He served in the U.S. Navy, resigning in 1811 to get married. With his story The Pilot (1823), Cooper set the style for a new genre of sea fiction. His most famous novels are the Leather-Stocking Tales including The Pioneers (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840), and The Deerslayer (1841), featuring the quintessential American hero Natty Bumppo. Cooper, a keen social critic, wrote several well-regarded naval histories.
Richard Hutson is an associate professor of English and director of the American Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley. His teaching and writing have been primarily on American popular culture of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially on the American West.
Hugh C. MacDougall, a graduate of Harvard, Columbia Law School and Columbia School of International Affairs, served in the State Department for twenty-eight years, including postings in tropical Africa, Brazil, and Burma. He is a founder of the James Fenimore Cooper Society, and has presented many papers on Cooper and his writings.