AndrA (c) Michaux in North America: Journals and Letters, 1785aEURO”1797


AndrA (c) Michaux in North America: Journals and Letters, 1785aEURO”1797 Author: Editors: Eliane M. Norman, Walter K. Taylor, Charlie Williams Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: The University of Alabama Press Pages: 608 Illustrations and other contents: 124 colour figures, 18 black & white figures, 16 maps, 2 tables Language: English ISBN: 9780817320300 Categories: , , , , , , , ,

Journals and letters, translated from the original French, bring Michaux’s work to modern readers and scientists. Known to today’s biologists primarily as the ‘Michx,’ at the end of more than 700 plant names, AndrE Michaux was an intrepid French naturalist. Under the directive of King Louis XVI, he was commissioned to search out and grow new, rare, and never-before-described plant species and ship them back to his homeland in order to improve French forestry, agriculture, and horticulture. He made major botanical discoveries and published them in his two landmark books, Histoire des chEnes de l’AmErique (1801), a compendium of all oak species recognized from eastern North America, and Flora Boreali-Americana (1803), the first account of all plants known in eastern North America. Straddling the fields of documentary editing, history of the early republic, history of science, botany, and American studies, AndrE Michaux in North America: Journals and Letters, 1785-1797 is the first complete English edition of Michaux’s American journals. This copiously annotated translation includes important excerpts from his little-known correspondence as well as a substantial introduction situating Michaux and his work in the larger scientific context of the day. To carry out his mission, Michaux traveled from the Bahamas to Hudson Bay and west to the Mississippi River on nine separate journeys, all indicated on a finely rendered, color-coded map in this volume. His writings detail the many hardships – debilitating disease, robberies, dangerous wild animals, even shipwreck – that Michaux endured on the North American frontier and on his return home. But they also convey the soaring joys of exploration in a new world where nature still reigned supreme, a paradise of plants never before known to Western science. The thrill of discovery drove Michaux ever onward, even ultimately to his untimely death in 1802 on the remote island of Madagascar.

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Michaux is fascinating [but] largely unknown. All of the available works on Michaux are valuable for scholars seeking to understand him as well as the early environment of the South. [Yet] all have limitations.. The present effort-translations with annotations - will remedy the lack of a solid edition of Michaux's work.. The editors have done an excellent job in gathering material and presenting their work." - Kathryn E. Holland Braund, author of Tohopeka: Rethinking the Creek War and the War of 1812 "AndrE Michaux in North America brings together a wealth of material from the many worlds of early American natural history. This book is a massive undertaking, invaluable and sure to serve as a lasting resource on the transatlantic culture of scientific discovery." - Thomas Hallock, coeditor of Travels on the St. Johns River: John Bartram and William Bartra "In 1785, the great French botanist was sent to America as the official representative of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to obtain plants, especially trees, of the New World for the King's garden at Versailles. In 1794, he climbed Grandfather Mountain and wrote in his journal, 'Reached the summit of the highest mountain in North America and with my companion and guide, sang the Marseillaise and shouted "Long Live America and the Republic of France, long live Liberty! To Michaux, it was the top of the visible world and the perfect place to celebrate the triumph of freedom. Michaux was fascinated by the surrounding forest array of unique flora. Michaux's personal relationships with Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington helped imbue him with a love of independence." - Text on museum display panel at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina

Author Biography

AndrE Michaux (1746--1802) was a French botanist and explorer most noted for his study of North American flora. Charlie Williams is retired librarian at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina. He is chairman of the AndrE Michaux International Society (AMIS). Eliane M. Norman is professor emerita of biology at Stetson University. She is coauthor of AndrE Michaux in Florida: An Eighteenth Century Botanical Journey. Walter Kingsley Taylor is professor emeritus of biology at the University of Central Florida. He is coauthor of AndrE Michaux in Florida: An Eighteenth Century Botanical Journey and author of several field guides to Florida biota, including Florida Wildflowers in Their Natural Communities, A Guide to Florida Grasses, and Florida Wildflowers: A Comprehensive Guide.