Mertz Library Humanities

Lecture 2018: American Eden

Friday, June 22, 2018

4 – 5 p.m.

David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic

Presented by the Humanities Institute of The New York Botanical Garden and the New York Academy of Medicine, this special lecture and booksigning by Victoria Johnson, Ph.D., features her acclaimed new study, American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, research for which was done in part at The New York Botanical Garden. Praised as a captivating biography that offers fascinating glimpses of early New Yorkers responding to world events by The Wall Street Journal, American Eden was also included in Amazon’s Best Books of the Month.

When Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on a dueling ground in July 1804, they chose the same attending physician: David Hosack. Family doctor and friend to both Hamilton and Burr, Hosack is today a shadowy figure at the edge of a famous duel, the great achievements of his life forgotten. In 1801, on 20 acres of farmland, Hosack founded the first botanical garden in the new nation, amassing a spectacular collection of medicinal, agricultural, and ornamental plants that brought him worldwide praise from the likes of Jefferson and Humboldt. Hosack used his pioneering institution to train the next generation of American doctors and naturalists and to conduct some of the first pharmaceutical research in the United States. Today, his former garden is home to Rockefeller Center.