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A Talk by Pulitzer Prize finalist Victoria Johnson on American Eden

$10, Free to Members.  No reservations or pre-purchase of tickets necessary. 

A post-talk reception will be held for Arboretum Members.

This lively, illustrated talk by author Victoria Johnson features her book American Eden, which was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in Nonfiction, the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography, and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History.

When Dr. David Hosack tilled the country’s first public botanical garden in the Manhattan soil more than two hundred years ago, he didn’t just dramatically alter the New York landscape; he left a monumental legacy of advocacy for public health and wide-ranging support for the sciences. A charismatic dreamer admired by the likes of Jefferson, Madison, and Humboldt, and intimate friends with both Hamilton and Burr, the Columbia professor devoted his life to inspiring Americans to pursue medicine and botany. Hosack’s story remains largely unknown. Now historian Victoria Johnson chronicles Hosack’s brilliant career and reveals a man who gave voice to a new, deeply American understanding of the powers and perils of nature.

From the meadows of Manhattan and from correspondents around the world, Hosack collected over two thousand species at his twenty-acre botanical garden.  In his enormous conservatory, Hosack introduced New Yorkers to ornamental flowers, shrubs, and trees from as far away as Japan, Madagascar, and the Cape of Good Hope.  Today, Radio City Music Hall sits on the footprint of Hosack's conservatory. His land is home to Rockefeller Center.

Victoria Johnson earned her undergraduate degree in philosophy from Yale in 1991 and her Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia in 2002. From 2002-2015, she taught at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is currently an Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where she teaches on philanthropy, nonprofits, and the history of New York City.