Paul James Rainey (September 18, 1877 - September 18, 1923) was an American businessman, philanthropist, hunter, and photographer
He was born on September 18, 1877 to Eleanor and William J. Rainey.
Scion of a wealthy family whose fortune came from coal and coke production, Rainey developed a reputation as a playboy. He invested in numerous personal projects, including his Tippah Lodge in Mississippi, a hotel, prize horses, and private railroad cars.
Although he owned other residences, he favored Tippah Lodge, his sprawling estate in rural Mississippi.
Rainey was active with the American Geographical Society, American Museum of Natural History, the New York Zoological Society, and the Smithsonian Institution, among other organizations. In 1912, a six-reel documentary film Paul J. Rainey's African Hunt was released. The Library of Congress has a copy of the film in its paper print collection. Producer Joseph P. Bickerton, Jr. organized the Jungle Film Corporation to buy and commercialize Rainey's African hunt footage. These films were the first motion pictures to be produced at regular theater prices and were successful in the U.S. and abroad.
Rejected by the military for health reasons, Rainey purchased an ambulance and drove it on the Western Front during World War I.
After the war, Rainey hunted big game in Africa and shot some of the earliest film footage of African animals in the wild.
He died in 1923 of a cerebral hemorrhage on his forty-sixth birthday. The death occurred while Rainey was en route from England to South Africa, where he had planned to hunt. He was buried at sea.
After his death, Rainey's family set aside 26,000 acres (110 km2) of his marshland as a wildfowl refuge. Located in coastal south Louisiana, the refuge, known as the Paul J. Rainey Wildlife Sanctuary, is owned by the National Audubon Society. His sister commissioned the Rainey Memorial Gates at the Bronx Zoo as a memorial.