College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)


Carey Roberts


Paul J. Rainey, Northeast Mississippi, New York City, William Faulkner, William Service, Reivers, Bronx Zoo, Paul J. Rainey’s African Hunt, Universal Studios, Big Game Hunting, Great War, Nairobi, Kenya, Eleanora Sears, J.C. Hemment, Carl Akeley, William Graves, General Pershing, 1918 Russia, Czechoslovakia, Silver King, polar bear, Dr. Cook, Robert Peary, fox hunting, Tippah County, Union County, Mississippi, Bolshevik Revolution, KGB, big game hunting, Paul J. Rainey’s African Hunt, 1912, Cosmopolitan, Lenin, Trans Siberian Railroad, ambulance driver, World War I, film, silent movies, Universal Studios, Carl Laemmle, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa, Asia, Arctic, cold regions, North Pole, Bronx Zoo, Rainey Gates, American Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., Newton Baker, wildlife film, Martin and Osa Johnson, JC Hemmett, Carl Akeley, elephants, lions, dog, Er M. Shelley, H.K. Binks, New York socialite, Eleanora Sears, Vanderbilt, Rainey Institute, Cleveland Museum of Art, MET, yacht, adventure, Rainey Estate




Paul J. Rainey was a man of the 20th century who had it all. A fortune, land, ability to travel, and fame. He was a big game hunter who out did all others and a wildlife filmmaker who broke records and helped to finance the beginning of Universal Studios. While all his claims to fame were with hunting and filmmaking, Rainey went on to serve in the Great War as an ambulance driver, spy, and Captain in the British army. Rainey was originally from Ohio, but in 1901 he bought land in Northeast Mississippi. Here, Rainey established his Tippah Lodge and home. While his time in history was well documented in The New York Times, his legacy has been forgotten except in the northeast corner of Mississippi. In Tippah and Union counties, Rainey has become a local legend and mysterious 20th century man. Very little is understood or known about him, but this thesis breaks new ground. With research across the United States and interviews with local historians, Rainey comes to life through the pages of history. His hidden legend in Northeast Mississippi is hidden no more, but now laid out in a way that will encourage modern scholars to learn more about a man who has offered so much to the history of the world, but has been forgotten and covered by time. A literary figure as well as a legend, Rainey shows up in famous works of the Mississippi author, William Faulkner, and in Canadian poet WIlliam Service’s poetry. His legacy lives on and is now presented to the public for the first time in an academic format. Described as the real life great gatsby, Rainey lived a life of influence and fame in the 20th century and impacted the world with his skills, adventurous lifestyle, and northeast Mississippi legacy.

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