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Preview — Frontier Naturalist by Russell M. Lawson Goodreads Author. This is a true story of discovery and discoverers in what was the northern frontier region of Mexico in the years before the Mexican War. In , when the story begins, the region was claimed by both Mexico and the United States. Neither country knew much about the lands crossed by such rivers as the Guadalupe, Brazos, Nueces, Trinity, and Rio Grande.

Jean Louis Berlandie This is a true story of discovery and discoverers in what was the northern frontier region of Mexico in the years before the Mexican War. Jean Louis Berlandier, a French naturalist, was part of a team sent out by the Mexican Boundary Commission to explore the area.


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His role was to collect specimens of flora and fauna and to record detailed observations of the landscapes and peoples through which the exploring party traveled. His observations, including sketches and paintings of plants, landmarks, and American Indians, were the first compendium of scientific observations of the region to be collected and eventually published.

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Here, historian Russell Lawson tells the story of this multinational expedition, using Berlandier's copious records as a way of conveying his view of the natural environment. Lawson's narrative allows us to peer over Berlandier's shoulder as he traveled and recorded his experiences. Berlandier and Lawson show us an America that no longer exists. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages.

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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Enjoyable and very descriptive analysis of Berlandier's travels until his tragic drowning in the early s. Aside from the captivating narrative, the authors' description of this frontier naturalists underscores the historical truism that not everyone had monolithic views of nature, people, and the world in general. Narratively, it was pretty direct and the title illustrates the approach well. In spite of being an obvious Publish or Perish, this endeavor is remarkably interesting and easy to assimilate. There is a distinct advantage to encountering it as an audiobook, besides the price, as there is no effort involved in sounding the multitudinous French or Spanish place names.

Ever eager for more knowledge, he combined his skills in botany with those of cartography, zoology, ichthyology, meteorology, geology, geography, and ethnography of indigenous peoples.

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He further developed the skills of an apothecary and formulated a materia medica and an herbal for this new and unexplored land. He died unexpectedly by drowning in , and all of his extensive writings and specimen collection were thought lost. In , Darius Couch obtained sponsorship from the Smithsonian and traveled to the area with the expectation of finding Berlandier's materials.

He was able to purchase all with his own funds from the from the widow and set about replacing some of the specimens. There is also a discourse on the various European contemporaries and their attitudes and prejudices, as well as a veritable Who's Who of US army generals who later attained high political office and other fame.

Although I do not speak French and have only medical Spanish, I feel that Narrator Jack seemed very comfortable with the very many pronunciations involved. As always, enunciation of all languages involved is clear, and voice quality is conducive to a pleasant read. This book was gifted to me Aug 03, Terri rated it it was amazing. I received this audio book as a gift in exchange for a honest and unbiased review. A fourth packet contains a brief, possibly incomplete, account of an excursion to Fronton de Sa Isabel in and an account of Berlandier's arrest and forced trip to Mexico City in , while he was serving as alcalde mayor of Matamoros.

The materials appear to have been prepared with publication in mind. Arrangement may have been imposed by Sereno Watson. De Candolle emphasizes the long delay between this letter and Berlandier's original work in Mexico and suggests that Berlandier had pretended to be dead out of shame.

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The draft indicates that actually Berlandier had heard from Mirbel in and had written to him three times since without receiving a response. Series II: Botanical Manuscripts. The botanical manuscripts fall into two groups: those written by Berlandier and those written by others about his plants. Manuscripts by Berlandier were bound into four volumes in somewhat haphazard arrangement. This was likely done at the Gray Herbarium during Asa Gray's lifetime, as the bindings use paper from American periodicals and bookplates in the bound volumes designate them as gifts of Asa Gray.

One of the four volumes has since been disbound.

Frontier Naturalist

The major sections of botanical notes are: about pages containing descriptions of new plants, arranged alphabetically by family; about pages of notes on plants and their uses, arranged alphabetically by family; and about pages of descriptions of "Gramineas de los contornos de Mexique.

Moricand and Alphonse de Candolle, a manuscript by Asa Gray listing and describing plants in Berlandier's collection, and a list by Ivan Murray Johnston of plants described by Berlandier in "Memorias de las Comision de Limites…" There is also a letter from C. Short containing excerpts from a lost de Candolle letter.


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  • Couch in Couch gave the bulk of the documents to the Smithsonian Institution and offered the remainder for purchase, however, the Smithsonian lacked sufficient funds. Existence and Location of Copies Item 9 has been microfilmed. Harvard order number: Related Materials Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Field notes and plant identification records, approximately ; Asa Gray correspondence files, Related Names.

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    Creator Berlandier, Jean Louis, Person. Administrative Information. Title Berlandier, Jean Louis, Jean Louis Berlandier papers, A Guide. Repository Details. Search within Collection. From year To year.