The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States

Etienne Benson

Teaching the Article

Exercise 3: Community and Charity

However prosaic the act of tossing a nut to a park squirrel might seem, feeding was at the heart of the new relationship that humans were establishing with urban squirrels. In addition to making it materially easier for squirrels to thrive in the city, feeding also symbolized the belief that charity could help to bind a community together—even, potentially, across the divide separating humans from animals. Marian Longfellow, a niece of the Romantic poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, expresses this idea in her poem, “The Pensioner in Gray,” which appeared in the children’s magazine St. Nicholas in 1908.



  1. Marian Longfellow, “The Pensioner in Gray,” St. Nicholas, 36 (Nov. 1908), 11, available via Google Books:,%20%E2%80%9CThe%20Pensioner%20in%20Gray,%E2%80%9D&f=false
    Local copy of article (JPG)