Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest

Overview

Jack Nisbet first told the story of British explorer David Thompson, who mapped the Columbia River, in his acclaimed book Sources of the River, which set the standard for research and narrative biography for the region. Now Nisbet turns his attention to David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and throughout other areas of western North America. Douglas's discoveries include hundreds of western plants—most notably the Douglas Fir. The Collector tracks Douglas's fascinating history, ...

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The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest

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Overview

Jack Nisbet first told the story of British explorer David Thompson, who mapped the Columbia River, in his acclaimed book Sources of the River, which set the standard for research and narrative biography for the region. Now Nisbet turns his attention to David Douglas, the premier botanical explorer in the Pacific Northwest and throughout other areas of western North America. Douglas's discoveries include hundreds of western plants—most notably the Douglas Fir. The Collector tracks Douglas's fascinating history, from his humble birth in Scotland in 1799 to his botanical training under the famed William Jackson Hooker, and details his adventures in North America discovering exotic new plants for the English and European market. The book takes readers along on Douglas's journeys into a literal brave new world of then-obscure realms from Puget Sound to the Sandwich Islands. In telling Douglas's story, Nisbet evokes a lost world of early exploration, pristine nature, ambition, and cultural and class conflict with surprisingly modern resonances.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Botanist David Douglas (1799-1834) was born a commoner in a tiny Scottish village, but his exceptional talents as a plant hunter and collector won him early notice in high places. In 1824, he was dispatched by the Royal Horticultural Society to America's Pacific Northwest to find plants for the English and European markets. The society obviously made the right choice: Douglas collected over 200 species during his herculean 10,000-mile walk between the Pacific Coast and Hudson Bay. Jack Nisbet chronicles Douglas's astonishing life and mysterious death in this richly detailed biography.
From the Publisher
"Jack Nisbet’s brisk, thrilling accoun allows us to walk, ride, and paddle along with David Douglas, the tireless nineteenth-century Scotsman whose name is attached to Cascadia’s iconic fir. Nisbet takes us on the ultimate naturalist’s tour of a largely
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570616679
  • Publisher: Sasquatch Books
  • Publication date: 8/31/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 788,392
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 11.06 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Jack Nisbet is a historian, teacher, and author focusing on the intersection of human history and natural history in the Pacific Northwest. His Sources of the River won the Murray Morgan Prize from the Washington State Historical Society. 

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Nature's Hand ix

I Fruits of the New World: 1823-24 1

II The Rites of Neptune: 1824-25 23

III Between the Desert and the Sea: Spring-Summer 1825 37

IV Taking the Smoke: Summer-Winter 1825 53

V The Interior Year: Spring 1826 73

VI Sleeping on Shattered Stones: Summer 1826 91

VII The Perfect Enthuslast: Fall 1826-Spring 1827 117

VIII Crown of the Continent: Spring-Summer 1827 143

IX "A Scientifick Naturalist": Fall 1827-Fall 1829 167

X Breathing New Climates: Fall 1829-Fall 1832 191

XI The Canyon: Winter 1832-Summer 1833 211

XII Craters: 1834 229

Epilogue: Nourishment Beyond Names 251

Acknowledgments 256

Bibliography 257

Chapter Notes 265

Index 275

Maps

David Douglas in North America: 1824-34 vii

The Northwest Coast: 1825-33 36

The Interior: 1826-27 72

The North Country: 1833 212

Hawaiian Islands: 1834 228

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