784 pages, 20 b/w photos
In The Correspondence of John Bartram, 1734-1777, American botany biographers present the letters known to exist that were written to or by John Bartram – "His Majesty's Botanist for North America" and one of the most important scientific figures of the 18th century. Working with material from 24 libraries, the editors assembled more than 600 letters and present them exactly as written (with spelling and punctuation intact). Though much of Bartram's mail pertained to his seed business, he exchanged letters with naturalists, merchants, gardeners, his children and relatives, fellow Quakers, British nobility, Carolus Linnaeus, and his "much Respected ould and Constant Friend", Benjamin Franklin. As the letters are arranged in approximate chronological order, the reader observes Bartram getting older, more irascible and progressively less healthy. In all of his writings, Bartram expresses himself frankly on subjects ranging from plant reproduction and politics to child-rearing practices, the nature of creation, and his fear of thunderstorms, revealing himself to be both a keen witness and a robust participant in the changing American experience.
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