February 21, 2013
John Bartram: America’s Greatest Natural Botanist
1. Born in 1699 near Darby, PA.
2. Had not received much formal school growing up.
3. Had self-taught himself growing up.
4. Quaker upbringing, which consisted of emphasis on empiricism and methodical activity helped prepare him to study nature scientifically The Beginning of his Passion
1. Although only at a 4th grade level Bartram loved to read. With help of a tutor, he learned Latin so he could read botanic texts. 2. Soon after he began identifying and collecting native species. 3. Would travel the still unexplored interior land during the fall when wild seeds had set. The Take Off
1. Carolus Linnaeus, Swedish naturalist calls Bartram “the greatest natural botanist in the world.” 2. At age 29, Bartram purchased a farm 102 acres along the Schuylkill River. 3. He experimented with soil fertilization, improving crops and vegetables, and introduced fruit trees. 4. Bartram began his garden in 1731
5. His goal was to collect every species of plant in North America. 6. Made journeys in the Alleghenies, the Catskills, Carolinas, and more. 7. Became a member of Philadelphia’s inner circle of intellectuals. Discoveries and Contributions
1. In 1728, Bartram created the first botanical garden in the United States on his estate purchased. (Still exists as a part of the Philadelphia park system. Located at 54th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard | Philadelphia, PA 19143) 2. First to refer to “balance” in nature, in 1731.
3. First to talk about the loss of habitat and its effect on plants and animals. 4. As a pioneering conservationist Bartram discussed natural selection, adaptation, pollution, and extinction. 5. Co-Founder of the American Philosophical Society along with Benjamin Franklin and others (1743) 6. While on the Altamaha River in Georgia (1765), Bartram saw a pure-white and a camellia-like flower, which was...