William Bartram’s Travels was an unprecedented mix of literary genres—part travel book, part scientific record and description — a romantic narrative, an ethnography of Southern native peoples, and an exposition by Bartram on natural and theological philosophy. When the book was first printed in 1791 Philadelphia, it was an ambitious publication venture. William Cahill, Joel Fry, Nancy Hoffman and Alina Josan introduce the book and share findings from their ongoing research project dedicated to documenting surviving copies of this first edition
The lecture will be presented by William Cahill, who researches the life and work of William Bartram and his contemporaries, Joel T. Fry, curator for Bartram’s Garden, the home of John and William Bartram in Philadelphia, Nancy Hoffman, a scholar whose most recent publication on the subject is William Bartram, the search for nature's design and Alina Josan, librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia.
This free lecture is presented in the majestic Elkins Room in conjunction with In Our Nature: Flora and Fauna of the Americas on display in the Rare Book Department of the Free Library's Dietrich Gallery through September 15, 2018.