In August 1858, William James Stillman, a painter and founding editor of the acclaimed nevertheless short-lived paintings journal The Crayon, organized a tenting expedition for some of America's preeminent intellectuals to Follensby Pond in the Adirondacks. Dubbed the "Philosophers’ Camp," the journey included the Swiss American scientist and Harvard Faculty professor Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, the Republican lawyer and future U.S. lawyer primary Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, the Cambridge poet James Russell Lowell, and the transcendental thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson, who would later pen a poem about the experience. Info that these cultured males have been dwelling like “Sacs and Sioux” in the wilderness appeared in newspapers all through the nation and helped gasoline a widespread curiosity in exploring the Adirondacks.
On this book, James Schlett recounts the story of the Philosophers’ Camp, from the lives and careers of—and friendships and frictions amongst—the people to the in depth preparations for the expedition and the a quantity of-day encampment to its lasting legacy. Schlett’s account is a sweeping story that provides vistas of the dramatically altering landscapes of the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century. As he relates, the college students later formed an Adirondack Membership that obtained right down to arrange a eternal encampment at shut by Ampersand Pond. Their plans, however, have been dashed amid the outbreak of the Civil Warfare and the improvement of civilization proper right into a wilderness that Stillman described as “a not too enormously modified Eden.” Nevertheless the Adirondacks have been definitely altering.
When Stillman returned to the website of the Philosophers’ Camp in 1884, he found the woods spherical Follensby had been disfigured by vacationers. Enchancment, industrialization, and commercialization had reworked the Adirondack wilderness as they could virtually every totally different side of the American panorama. Such devastation would later encourage conservationists to find out Adirondack Park in 1892. At the shut of the book, Schlett seems at the preservation of Follensby Pond, now protected by the Nature Conservancy, and the camp website’s potential integration into the Adirondack Forest Shield.
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