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John Burroughs
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Author
    (April 3, 1837-March 29, 1921)
    Born in Roxbury, New York
    American naturalist, farmer, and nature essayist
    Active in the U.S. conservation movement
    Wrote twenty volumes, including 'Wake-Robin' (1871), 'Fresh Fields' 1884), and 'Bird and the Bough' (1906)
    Taught at Harpersfield Seminary and Ashland Collegiate Institute
    His nickname was 'Sage of the Slabsides.'
    He lived with a woman nearly half his age after his wife died in 1917.
    He was accused of plagiarizing a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay early in his career.
    He is frequently confused or lumped in with fellow bearded environmentalist John Muir, but the two disagreed sharply on many issues and argued frequently.
    He harshly criticized the automobile as a 'despoiler of nature.' In response, Henry Ford gave him a Model T as a gift - and had photos taken of him touring the countryside in it.
    His writings were less based in scientific discovery than contemporary flowery prose - as such, some of his material has not aged well.
    He instigated a widely publicized 'nature fakers' feud with his competitors, whom he characterized as selling 'yellow journalism of the woods.'
    At his peak, he was the best known 'nature writer' in the United States.
    Many believe that he was subjected to a posthumous character assassination by 'friends,' Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, an Harvey Firestone (leading to his being largely forgotten).
    He was a good friend of Walt Whitman's and he frequently accompanied him on tours of military hospitals during the Civil War.
    He was an early colleague of Theodore Roosevelt's, who influenced his views on conservation (they went on camping trips together).
    His idyllic descriptions of rural life and pastoral American forests are genuinely beautiful.
    He lived to the ripe age of 83, and remained healthy enough to go camping, hiking, rafting, fly-fishing, and fruit farming.
    He died a month after undergoing chest surgery (1921).
    Anyone who can piss off Henry Ford must be doing something right.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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