Recording his plantings
Recording his plantings
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Recording his plantings

WILLIAM BARTRAM, C. 1780

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Recording his plantings
William Bartram, c. 1780
BARTRAM, William (1739-1823). Two autograph manuscripts, n.p., c. 1780s - 1790s.

One page, 195 x 202mm (lightly toning to left margin, partly spit at fold); one page, 107 x 92mm.

Naturalist William Bartram records his plantings. A pair of manuscript lists, likely accomplished following his return from his extensive travels in the Carolinas in the 1770s, recording the Latin names of thirty-nine species of plants, most of which have origins in the American southeast. The first list, titled "List of Growing Plants in the Box", details the names of twenty-seven species, occasionally followed with colloquial names, and notes on growing requirements (e.g. "Moist soil" and "shady). Of particular interest is number four on this list: the famous Franklinia alatamaha, or the "Franklin Tree," a rare and near extinct species that Bartram discovered while camping along the Altamaha River in Georgia. The last example documented in the wild was 1803, and all Franklin trees found today can be traced to the seeds Bartram brought from Georgia. The second and shorter list is entitled, "Contents of a Box of Plants for Mr. Girard," lists twelve plant species with a number at right presumed to indicate the quantity of each. Bartram prepared the list presumably for the Philadelphia financier and philanthropist Stephen Girard, who himself was an avid gardener, performing much of the physical labor himself on his farm. Most famous today for his Travels Through North and South Carolina, these two lists document the activities of the working naturalist and his development of Bartram's Garden on the banks of the Schuylkill.

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