On Tuesday, April 19, I was joined by professors Jim Tantillo and Scott Peters of Cornell to participate on a panel discussing the significance of Liberty Hyde Bailey's environmental manifesto, The Holy Earth, and the centennial edition which I edited.
The talk took place in the Albert R. Mann Library, the Ag library at Cornell, several floors below the incredible collection of plant specimens that Bailey began from his personal collection of hundreds of thousands most of a century ago, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. It was a fun talk, although I was recovering from flu, and the Q & A afterwards was particularly fruitful. I opened with a discussion of some of the discoveries made during research on the new edition; Jim Tantillo, from the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell and who in a former life worked at Walden Woods in Concord, MA, argued for the importance of Bailey's book in the long tradition of American Romanticist writings about nature; and Scott Peters from the Department of Development Sociology argued for a more Progressive-Era, pragmatist relevance for reading Bailey. The ensuing discussion was at times contentious, but continually fruitful and stimulating.
The video footage of the talk will be available soon, and I will post it here when it becomes available.
Here's the event description:
Book Talk: The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 4:00pm
Mann Library, 160 Stern Seminar Room Cornell University Mann Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
Protecting and sharing our environment for future generations is a global challenge we face today, and to celebrate Earth Day which falls on April 22nd this year, Mann Library is hosting a panel discussion highlighting the newly released 100th anniversary edition of The Holy Earth by Liberty Hyde Bailey (published by Counterpoint in cooperation with the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, December 2015).
Join us for a Chats in the Stacks panel discussion with Scott Peters, Department of Development Sociology; Jim Tantillo, Department of Natural Resources; and John Linstrom, editor of the anniversary edition of The Holy Earth, and former curator and director of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum.
At the turn of the last century, when farming first began to face the most rapid series of changes that industrialization would bring, the most compelling voice representing the agrarian tradition came from the public intellectual Liberty Hyde Bailey, known as the "Father of Modern Horticulture." He was a botanist, farmer, naturalist, and philosopher. Dean of the College of Agriculture at Cornell University from 1903 to 1913, he was moved by an enthusiasm and love for everything to do with life in the countryside, including gardening, forestry, and the economy, politics and culture of rural communities.
In 1915, Bailey's environmental manifesto, The Holy Earth, addressed the industrialization of society with a message of responsible land stewardship which has never been as timely as it is now. Bailey called for "a new hold" that society must take to develop a "morals of land management."
The centennial edition presents new editorial content and a new foreword by Wendell Berry whose own work is indebted to Bailey's writing, and it introduces the classic to a new generation of environmentalists.
Refreshments served and books available for purchase.