Region of Astonishing Beauty: The Botanical Exploration of the Rocky Mountains

Overview

As we approach the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 2004, attention will inevitably turn to the nineteenth-century explorers who risked life and limb to interpret the natural history of the American West. Beginning with Meriwether Lewis and his discovery of the bitterroot, the goal of most explorers was not merely to find an adequate route to the Pacific, but also to comment on the state of the region's ecology and its suitability for agriculture, and, of course, to collect plant specimens. In ...

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A Region of Astonishing Beauty: The Botanical Exploration of the Rocky Mountains

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Overview

As we approach the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 2004, attention will inevitably turn to the nineteenth-century explorers who risked life and limb to interpret the natural history of the American West. Beginning with Meriwether Lewis and his discovery of the bitterroot, the goal of most explorers was not merely to find an adequate route to the Pacific, but also to comment on the state of the region's ecology and its suitability for agriculture, and, of course, to collect plant specimens. In this book, Williams follows the trail of over a dozen explorers who "botanized" the Rocky Mountains, and who, by the end of the nineteenth century, became increasingly convinced that the flora of the American West was distinctive. The sheer wonder of discover, which is not lost on Williams or his subjects, was best captured by botanist Edwin James in 1820 as he emerged above timberline in Colorado to come upon "a region of astonishing beauty."

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Williams provides cogent and absorbingly written descriptions....there is fascinating detail here...highly recommended.
— K.B. Sterling
Choice
Williams provides cogent and absorbingly written descriptions....there is fascinating detail here...highly recommended.
— K.B. Sterling
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570983979
  • Publisher: Rinehart, Roberts Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger L. Williams is professor emeritus of history at the University of Wyoming and is one of the leading authorities on the history of botany in both the United States and Europe. He is also co-author with Ruth Ashton Nelson of Guide to Rocky Mountain Plants.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
1 Lewis and Clark in the Rocky Mountains (1805-1806) 1
2 Edwin James and the Long Expedition 19
3 Thomas Drummond in the Northern Rocky Mountains 31
4 The Ascendancy of Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859) 37
5 George Engelmann: A Link between East and West 55
6 John Charles Fremont (1813-1890): An Unresolved Enigma 61
7 Geyer and Burke: Two Gardeners Abroad 69
8 Concluding the 1840s: Wislizenus, Fendler, and Stansbury 73
9 The New Era of Intensive Botanizing: Charles Parry in Colorado 79
10 Joseph Dalton Hooker: Darwin's Confidant 93
11 Sereno Watson: Botanist by Inadvertence 101
12 The Hayden Survey: Botanical Opportunity 105
13 Edward Lee Greene: Botanist-Historian 119
14 Marcus E. Jones of Utah 133
15 The Heightened Attention to Grasses 141
16 The Indomitable Alice Eastwood 149
17 Three Notable Collectors: Purpus, Cockerall, and Osterhout 155
18 Per Axel Rydberg: The Gentle Botanist 163
19 Aven Nelson: The Great Teacher 171
Epilogue 179
Notes 183
Bibliography 193
Index 203
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