John Bartram, photo by University of North Florida
John Bartram. Photo credit: University of North Florida.

The chapter honors John Bartram (1699-1777), renown botanist, naturalist and explorer who established America’s first botanic garden devoted to the collection and study of North American plants. Between 1728 and 1777 John and his son William traveled the length of eastern North America – from Lake Ontario to Florida and as far west as the Mississippi River to collect trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants for his botanic garden. The Bartrams are credited with identifying and introducing into cultivation more than 200 native plants. John Bartram authored Diary of the Journey Through the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, which documented his plant collecting in Florida during the 1760s. He was the first to classify Florida’s vegetation according to the new Linnaean System.

John Bartram House. Photo by Jeanne Farren.

John Bartram resided in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at an estate along the banks of the Schuylkill River and entertained many prominent patriots including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. His estate and gardens have been preserved and still welcomes guests to its 45 acre arboretum. Bartram Gardens is a Fairmount Park property operated by the John Bartram Association and has been designated a National Historic Landmark House and Garden.