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Nature's Writers Trail: Bartram

Library Guide for the Nature Writer's Trail.

William Bartram
April 20, 1739 - July 22, 1823

William Bartram was an American Naturalist. At just 26 he accompanied his father, John Bartram who had been named the "Royal Botanist", on the great botanical expedition of the newly acquired Florida Territory in 1765. Bartram fell in love with the America South and returned to Florida in 1773 after securing funding from wealthy plant collector John Fothergill to conduct a botanical exploration of the territory. Bartram attended the the May 1773 meeting of Native Americans (Creek and Cherokee Nations) in Augusta, most recollections have been lost, but Bartram’s description is remains and is to date the most valuable and detailed recollection of the event. He was not just a writer, he gained notice for his renderings of plants and animals as well. Bartram’s writings give an invaluable look into Native American culture, particularly that of the Creeks, at the time of the American Revolution.  

  • If we bestow but a very little attention to the economy of the animal creation, we shall find manifest examples of premeditation, perseverance, resolution, and consummate artifice, in order to affect their purpose."

  • "The paternal, and filial affections seem to be as ardent, their sensibility and attachment, as active and faithful, as those observed to be in human nature."

  • "The attention of a traveler, should be particularly turned, in the first place, to the various works of Nature, to mark the distinctions of the climates he may explore, and to offer such useful observations on the different productions as they may occur."

  • He is considered the "Father of American Botany".
  • He was a artist as much as he was a botanist.
  • He was largely self-educated.
  • He was good friends with Benjamin Franklin!
  • He was an original member of the American Philosophical Society.

  • Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Choctaws (1791) 
  • The Travels of William Bartram
  • William Bartram, The Search for Nature's Design: Selected Art, Letters, & Unpublished Writings
  • Travels on the St. John River

Bartram (Interlibrary Loan)

Travels of William Bartram (Interlibrary Loan)

The Flower Hunter and the People (Interlibrary Loan)

Travels on the St. Johns River (Interlibrary Loan)

William Bartram on the Southeastern Indians (Interlibrary Loan)