Plants, Gardens, and the Founding Fathers

Did you know that Charles M. Weber, the founder of Stockton, was interested in gardening? Did you know that the tradition goes way back in time and that many of the nation's founders shared that interest? On February 27, 2013, New York Times Best Seller List author, Andrea Wulf, will visit the University of the Pacific to discuss the relationship between horticulture and the Founders, as explored in her 2011 book, Founding Gardeners: How the Revolutionary Generation Created an American Eden.

Thomas Jefferson (1805).

Thomas Jefferson (1805).

Wulf's illustrated talk looks at the lives of the Founding Fathers and how their attitude toward plants, gardens, nature, and agriculture shaped the American nation. George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison regarded themselves foremost as farmers and plantsmen. For them, gardening, agriculture, and botany were elemental passions, as deeply ingrained in their characters as their belief in liberty. In a unique retelling of the creation of America, the award-winning historian will show how plants, politics, and personalities intertwined during the early years of the nation.

Wulf was born in India, moved to Germany as a child, and currently lives in Britain. She has authored several books, among them, The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire, and the Birth of an Obsession, which won the American Horticultural Society 2010 Book Award and was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2008, the most prestigious non-fiction award in the United Kingdom. The Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation was published to acclaim in 2011 and made it to the New York Times Best Seller List.

Wulf has written for many newspapers, including The Guardian, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times. She is the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013 and a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello.

The event is sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa, the College of the Pacific, the John Muir Center for Environmental Studies, and the University of the Pacific Library. The presentation starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Library's Community Room, 3601 Pacific Avenue, in Stockton. A book signing will follow.

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