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André Michaux

"His name was André Michaux
and we should all remember his name,
for he was one of the most remarkable
human beings of the 18th century,
or of any century."
Charles Kuralt, 1994




Basic Biographical Facts

Download A Michaux Biography in Adobe Acrobat Format
  • Born 1746 at Satory, near Versailles, France
  • Died 1802 in Madagascar
  • Botanist, explorer and plant collector in the service of France
  • Visited: England, Spain, the Middle East, eastern North America, the Bahamas, Canary Islands, and the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Madagascar.

Principal Works

  • Histoire des chênes de l'Amérique, 1801, (THE OAKS OF NORTH AMERICA)
  • Flora Boreali-Americana, 1803, (THE FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA).

Early Years

The Marquis de Lafayette noted that André Michaux had risen "from simple farmer to have a name among learned men." Indeed, his origins were modest. Though he was born virtually in the shadow of the palace of the French kings at Versailles, he was no aristocrat, but the child of sturdy farmers on the king's estate.




Versailles as it might have appeared in Michaux's day

Photo: C. Williams

André Michaux obtained a typical eighteenth century education; it was brief and grounded in the classics. Learning Latin and some Greek, he first displayed the remarkable aptitude for languages that would help him throughout his life. Reading Latin classics aroused in him a desire to travel to exotic foreign lands. It is said that his schooling ended at age fourteen when his father took both André and his younger brother from school. The elder Michaux chose to instruct his sons in agriculture, and to inure them to the hardships that were an everyday part of farm life in the eighteenth century.

André Michaux learned his father's lessons well. He developed a marvelous ability to make plants grow and he would endure severe hardships without complaint. In a time when agricultural skills were held in the highest regard, he gained a reputation as a grower of difficult plants. This brought him to the attention of influential officials in the government of King Louis XVI. Nonetheless, André Michaux's life would have been like that of countless other men of his generation had tragedy not struck in the first year of his marriage to Cecile Claye. His young wife died within days after giving birth to their only child. Michaux never considered remarriage; Cecile was the love of his life. Losing her after only eleven months of marriage left him devastated. So strong were the painful memories of his beloved Cecile, that the beautiful forests and fields of home became unbearable. With their young son François André safely in his family's care, a despondent André Michaux sought new horizons.

The king's physician had observed the young man's extraordinary talent for agriculture and he encouraged André Michaux to study botany. Michaux now sought to make himself useful to his country. He would learn botany, then travel to foreign lands with climates similar to that of France, collect their useful plants, and return to naturalize them in his native soil. At first remaining on the farm, he applied himself zealously to his studies and experiments. Eventually he rose to become a student of the celebrated Bernard de Jussieu at Trianon. The foremost French botanist of the age, de Jussieu developed the first natural system of plant classification. Soon, Michaux moved on to Paris to study at the Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants), then known as the Jardin du Roi (King's Garden). There he became acquainted with André Thouin and other leading scientists of Paris. The Jardin des Plantes combined features of a great university and a botanical garden. Surrounded by the most brilliant minds in France, Michaux could have found no better place in the world to complete his training. He quickly impressed these men with his desire, energy, and capacity for hard work. Now a trained botanist, he soon realized his childhood dream of visiting exotic foreign lands.

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Middle Eastern Adventures

In February 1782, Michaux joined the entourage of Jean François Rousseau, recently appointed Consul to Persia (now Iran), on the journey to take up his post. Travel to Persia included a voyage across the storm-tossed Mediterranean Sea in winter, a journey by camel caravan across deserts inhabited by lawless brigands and hostile tribes, and a boat trip across the Persian Gulf in the midst of hostilities. The travelers arrived safely, but not without life-threatening adventures.

Soon separating from Rousseau to carry out his own mission to collect seeds and plants, Michaux's life was in danger many more times during his years in the Middle East. Once, he was captured by a hostile tribe and freed only by the timely intervention of the English Consul at Basra. Nonetheless, his reports are filled with the excitement of discovery, not complaints of difficulties. He had indeed found his life's work.

Michaux's reports and letters from the Middle East give us an indication of the character and strength of the man. He faced life-threatening dangers and endured many hardships, but he carried out his mission without complaining about difficulty or danger. Writing letters to his young son, he omitted the frightening details of his Middle Eastern travels, explaining only that "God had twice rescued him from the greatest danger when no number of men could have." In spite of setbacks and hardships, the botanist focused on his work.

The Middle Eastern journey occupied three years as Michaux worked his way across Persia from the Caspian Sea to the Indian Ocean collecting seeds, plants, and other objects. Returning to Paris in June 1785 with his collections, he asked to be allowed to return to the area so that he might explore the regions of Kashmir and Tibet. Fortunately for North American botany, his superiors in the French government had other plans for this hardy, resilient scientist. His coolness, determination and his accomplishments on the perilous Middle Eastern expedition had earned him an even bigger prize. The North American continent was his to explore!

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Mission to North America

Michaux was chosen to lead a scientific mission to the United States. Relations between the two countries were especially warm. French support had been crucial in the American Revolution which had ended only two years earlier. The young United States dispatched its brightest stars to represent America in France. The departing American minister in Paris, Benjamin Franklin, was beloved by the French. Franklin's successor in Paris was Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson dined with Buffon, the superintendent of the Jardin des Plantes, visited the garden and made a lifelong friend in André Thouin. America welcomed a French scientific mission to study American forests and gather plants which would strengthen her European ally.

The primary goal of Michaux's mission was to search American forests for new species of trees with which to rebuild the forests of France. For almost a century, France had been engaged in a series of wars with England. Waging this extended conflict, fought on land and sea from India to Quebec, had stripped the best timber from French forests for the building of warships. Healthy forests were a source of state power and France needed to rebuild her forests quickly. Michaux's mission served a vital national interest.

Appointed King's Botanist, Michaux departed immediately, arriving in New York in November 1785. Accompanying the botanist were his 15-year old son François André, Paul Saunier, a young gardener trained by Thouin, and a servant. Michaux immediately established the brisk pace which he would maintain throughout his years in America. He overcame the initial obstacles of bad weather and unfamiliar language and territory to dispatch his first shipment to France almost immediately. The French Consul in New York readily assisted the energetic botanist, even delaying ships leaving port while Michaux's shipments were loaded aboard.

In the ensuing months Michaux established a 30-acre garden near Hackensack, New Jersey and began to travel outside the immediate environs of New York City. Though his journals for this period are lost, his expense reports and some letters survive. He soon visited Philadelphia to call on Benjamin Franklin and meet William Bartram, the leading American botanist of the time. Michaux then continued southward, visited George Washington at Mount Vernon, and traveled as far south as Fredericksburg, Virginia before returning to his New Jersey garden.

William Bartram and André Michaux formed a bond of friendship and respect. Each time Michaux visited Philadelphia, he called on Bartram and the botanists began to exchange letters and seeds. In the 1770's William Bartram had made an extraordinary exploration of the southern frontier and it is likely that Bartram's stories of the region and the new plants to be found there at least partly inspired Michaux's subsequent move to Charleston, South Carolina. In September 1786 he left Saunier in charge of the New Jersey garden and sailed with his son to Charleston. There he established a larger garden on 111 acres a few miles outside the city. This garden became his base of operations for the next decade.

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Charleston and Wilderness Exploration

The Charleston area suited Michaux's needs. Charleston was a large, wealthy city with a flavor of French culture from its Huguenot community. The French botanist was welcomed and assisted with his work. It was somewhat more difficult to make shipments to France from Charleston than from New York, but there were many offsetting advantages. Michaux quickly developed the garden and became acquainted with the leading citizens in the area. Among others, he visited the Drayton and Middleton plantations, seats of two of the most influential families in the region. Memories of his visits linger not only in diaries and letters, but in gardens. Because, in addition to shipping American plants to France, Michaux also introduced new plants to America. The mimosa or silk tree, Albizia julibrissin, the crape myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, the tea plant, and the camellia are only some of the plants he is credited with bringing to America. Middleton Place identifies a particularly beautiful camellia as the gift of André Michaux and recently succeeded in propagating this treasured plant.

Extended journeys exploring the frontier and collecting plants followed quickly upon Michaux's establishment of the garden in Charleston. His journals for the period from April 1787 onwards do survive and provide a detailed record of his explorations. In the spring of 1787, accompanied by the Scottish botanist John Fraser, he followed Bartram's route up the Savannah river on his first long journey to the southern frontier. Michaux and Fraser soon parted company and Michaux continued into Cherokee territory near the river's headwaters. In this locale he encountered the plant we know today as Shortia galacifolia, a rare species that has been linked with him ever since.

The 1787 journey was Michaux's first exploration deep into the American frontier, but he would return time and again. In all, he ventured into the territory of three fourths of the states east of the Mississippi, the Canadian province of Quebec, and the Bahama Islands. In Spanish Florida, he traveled by dugout canoe, in Canada he traveled by birchbark canoe, but most of his thousands of miles of wilderness travel were in the saddle or on foot. Each day he rode or walked a few miles more, stopping to examine any interesting plant he found in his path. He made the most of each journey, searching for new plants along his route. He found plants new to science not only when he was the first trained botanist to visit an area, but also along well-traveled paths. His friend William Bartram praised his skill in this regard. Bartram remarked that Michaux could find new plants in areas he and his father had already visited.

While Michaux was at ease in the drawing rooms of Philadelphia or Charleston, most of his days were spent in far simpler circumstances. He traveled with a minimum of baggage and secured provisions along the way. On the long journey to the Mississippi River, he rode alone, carrying everything he needed on a single horse. The botanist might find hospitality among settlers, but he was ready to sleep under the stars. An incident mentioned in his journal demonstrates both his patriotism and his disregard of personal hardship. Despite his early years in the service of the King, the botanist became an ardent believer in the cause of revolutionary France. Michaux related that he had spent a hungry February night sleeping in the open on his deerskin rather than eat and sleep comfortably indoors with a host who disparaged France. There were many other times in less memorable circumstances when the botanist camped alone in the forest because he was simply near no dwelling when he stopped for the day. The routine hardships of wilderness travel meant nothing to him.

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The Proposal to Jefferson and the Genet Affair

Visiting Philadelphia in 1792 after his most ambitious exploration to that time, a trip to the Hudson Bay region of Canada, he proposed an even more ambitious venture to Thomas Jefferson. Michaux offered to explore the sources of the Missouri River and down the rivers that drained into the Pacific Ocean if Jefferson could arrange financing through the American Philosophical Society, a private scientific organization. However, international politics intervened and Michaux's dreams of seeing the Pacific Ocean were thwarted. Instead, the botanist traveled across Pennsylvania and down the Ohio River into Kentucky delivering messages for the new French Minister to the United States, Citizen Genet. As a patriotic French citizen and government employee, Michaux could not have refused the request of his country. Nonetheless, Genet was a poor diplomat and participation in his scheme tarnished Michaux's reputation. Clearly, Genet sought to provoke American citizens to take up arms against Spain. President George Washington insisted upon American neutrality, and was outraged by Genet's intrigues. Genet's plot soon collapsed. However, Thomas Jefferson drew something useful from the incident. The instructions he gave to Lewis and Clark a decade later echo the contract he drew up for Michaux. This unique historic document, which is now on display at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, was not only written by Jefferson, it also bears the signatures of the first four United States Presidents.

Because Michaux's base of operations from 1787 onwards was Charleston, he most frequently traveled in the Carolinas and Georgia. Michaux both made shorter excursions within these states and traversed them enroute to more distant destinations. On his earliest journeys to the high mountains of Carolina, perhaps his favorite area for exploring and collecting plants, he followed William Bartram's route up the Savannah river from the coast to the mountains. However, beginning in 1789 Michaux found his own favorite route to the mountains through the central Piedmont of the Carolinas.

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Carolina Piedmont Journeys

Michaux ultimately recorded seven journeys through the Carolina Piedmont crossing the Catawba River in the vicinity of what was then the village of Charlotte. Landsford Canal State Park, SC preserves the scene of one of his Catawba River crossings just as it would have appeared to the botanist on horseback in 1795. The Tuckaseegee Ford in NC is another of his crossing points that we can locate today. On one of these journeys he chose a route that led him north along the west bank of the river past the future site of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Michaux often noted an interesting new species of magnolia tree he found nearby. He observed this new species several times in the Carolina Piedmont, then found it in bloom in the wilderness of Tennessee further west. He named his new species Magnolia macrophylla, but in the early years after its introduction into France many botanists and horticulturists wanted to call it Magnolia michauxii in his honor. It is an unusual tree with an almost tropical look and remains a rare plant in North Carolina. This magnolia's deciduous leaves are two to three feet long and up to a foot wide; its fragrant flowers are up to a to a foot and a half in diameter and are usually marked with a striking purple blotch at the base of the petals. This exotic tree caused a sensation in Europe among those who appreciated plants. Napoleon's Empress Josephine was among the first to have this new magnolia in her garden.

Michaux's expeditions to the mountains of the Carolinas were especially fruitful. In this remote region he ascended many of the highest peaks. To reach the summits of Grandfather Mountain, Roan Mountain, the Black Mountains, the unique peaks of Table Rock and Hawksbill, and many other mountains the indomitable explorer followed his local guides on routes traveled only by hunters. He was well aware of his vulnerability, yet he pressed on. The lure of discovering new plants always drew him onward. Often he was rewarded with new species of rare beauty. Michaux was high in these mountains near the headwaters of the Catawba River when he discovered a magnificent new evergreen shrub with flowers that turned entire mountain peaks into vast oceans of purple blossoms. He named it Rhododendron catawbiense for the river whose waters he had followed to find this treasure. Today, this shrub is known not just for its beauty in the wild places where Michaux found it, but as one of the genetic parents of many of the beautiful hybrid rhododendrons found in gardens.

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Return to France

Michaux became an ardent republican proud of his country and its ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity, but the revolution also disrupted his work. With disorder at home, he was unable to continue his shipments of plants and seeds. Money for his salary and expenses stopped coming from France. Nonetheless, he continued to work tending the gardens, exploring and collecting and cultivating plants in his gardens in Charleston and New Jersey for eventual shipment to France. With all chances of a trip to the Pacific for Jefferson and the American Philosophical Society long lost, he gathered his meager resources and set out in the spring of 1795 on yet another journey into the frontier alone. Returning almost a year later, having crossed eastern North America to the Mississippi River, all his resources were exhausted and he had to return to France.

Misfortune marked his voyage to France in 1796. The ship was driven ashore on the Dutch coast in a gale. Nearly drowned, Michaux was rescued, but his personal possessions and some boxes of seeds were lost. Part of his journal was also lost and his magnificent herbarium was damaged by salt water. Of course, being Michaux, he immediately set to work repairing the damage to his herbarium. The task required weeks of painstaking work, but this most recent brush with death likely only induced him to work harder and faster.

Returning to a Paris very different from the city he had left in 1785, Michaux was received with acclaim by his scientific colleagues and reunited with his son François André. Soon, however, Michaux discovered to his dismay that the new government had no intention of paying him the salary he had been promised by its Royal predecessor. He was financially ruined. Of necessity, he lived simply and began to draft his two landmark books, the OAKS OF NORTH AMERICA and the FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA. Before he could finish both these works with the limited resources available to him, he chose to accompany a new voyage of exploration to the south seas. Departing in 1800, Michaux accompanied the Baudin expedition as far as the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. There Michaux and the young zoologist Bory de St. Vincent left the ill-fated expedition after differences with the captain.

Bory de St. Vincent soon departed Mauritius to survey and map the lovely neighboring island of Réunion; he went on to a long and varied career. Michaux, however, chose to leave Mauritius to study the plant life on the larger island of Madagascar. Accustomed to long days of untiring labor all his life, Michaux ignored friendly warnings and kept up his torrid work pace on this disease-ridden tropical island. Sadly, he soon succumbed to a tropical fever.

When word of his death finally reached France many months later, Michaux was eulogized by his colleagues in Paris. Initially, there was a plan for a statue, but ultimately no statues were erected in his memory. However, his books had been completed and printed while he was on his last voyage. Each landmark volume advanced the cause of the science to which Michaux had dedicated his life. His name is still attached to the names of hundreds of plants new to science that he named. The herbarium that he gathered with such great effort is still studied by botanists today. Each year botanists from North America make the pilgrimage to Paris to study plants in the Herbarium Michaux housed in the Laboratorie de Phanerogamie of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle. Moreover, his son François André followed in his father's footsteps. The younger Michaux became a celebrated botanist in his own right and authored the first comprehensive book on North American trees, the SYLVA OF NORTH AMERICA.

André Michaux the man has not been forgotten either. The enthusiastic words he recorded in his journal after the difficult climb to the summit of Grandfather Mountain in 1794 have been immortalized in a stirring speech by Charles Kuralt on the same mountain exactly two centuries later. Michaux's words, shouted from the mountaintop he believed to be the highest in America, and so eloquently repeated by Kuralt, ring down through the centuries: "Long live America and the Republic of France, Long live liberty!"

This brief account of the life of André Michaux is drawn largely from primary sources. I wish to thank several translators to whom I am indebted: Suzanne Barber, Marie-Eve Berton, Dr. Carol Brooks, Dr. Eliane Norman and also my tutor Stacy Rémy.

Almost any issue regarding the life and career of André Michaux is a worthy subject for scholarly inquiry. Even his date of death has not been established with certainty. His biography and many other sources give the date as 1802, but there is evidence for 1803.

Charlie Williams

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SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING

Download Suggestions for Further Reading in Adobe Acrobat Format

 

 

MICHAUX’S BIOGRAPHY

Savage, Henry Jr. and Elizabeth J. Savage. André and François André Michaux. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1986.

The only full length biography and simply invaluable. Extensive research covering the full lives and careers of both Michauxs. Source materials are carefully footnoted and the bibliography is outstanding.

 

MICHAUX IN COLLECTIVE BIOGRAPHY

Eifert, Virginia. Tall Trees and Far Horizons, Adventures and Discoveries of Early Botanists in America. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1965.

"Michaux and the Spanish Conspiracy" is an exciting account of Michaux’s life highlighting involvement in the "Genet Affair" of 1793.

 

Fishman, Gail. Journeys Through Paradise, Pioneering Naturalists in the Southeast. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2001.

One chapter is devoted to André Michaux and includes new information on Michaux’s travels in the Carolina Piedmont.

 

Jewett, Frances L. and Clare L. McCausland: Wilderness Treasure. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964.

Includes separate chapters on André Michaux and his son Francois André.

 

Peattie, Donald Culross. Green Laurels, the Lives and Achievements of the Great Naturalists. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1936.

Grand natural history writing in the old style. Captures the spirit of the French botanist, but a few of the details have been corrected by later researchers.

Savage, Henry Jr. Lost Heritage. New York: William Morrow & Co., 1970.

One long, exciting chapter is devoted to André Michaux and his son.

 

MICHAUX IN THE HISTORY OF PLANT EXPLORATION

Coats, Alice M. The Plant Hunters. New York: McGraw Hill, 1969.

Michaux is included in this history of plant exploration around the world. Some of the information presented here has been revised by later researchers.

 

Duval, Marguerite. The King’s Garden. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1982.

French view of Michaux. He is seen in the context of three centuries of French plant exploration

 

Reveal, James. Gentle Conquest, The Botanical Discovery of North America. Washington: Starwood Publishing, 1992.

Michaux in the context of the botanical exploration of all of North America. The illustrations include some painted by Redouté that appeared in the NORTH AMERICAN SYLVA of Francois André Michaux.

 

Spongberg, Stephen A. A Reunion of Trees. Cambridge, MS: Harvard University Press, 1990.

A thoughtful analysis of Michaux’s work is found in chapter two.

 

ADDITIONAL USEFUL SOURCES

Cothran, James R. Gardens of Historic Charleston. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1995.

Michaux in the "city within a garden,"Charleston, and his horticultural introductions to the US.

 

Ewan, Joseph. Classica Botanica Americana Vol. 3. Andre Michaux. Flora Boreali-Americana. New York: Hafner Press, 1974. Reprint, facsimile of the 1803 edition.

The introduction to this reprint of Michaux’s Flora has a wealth of detail about the botanist and his work. Joseph Ewan was recognized as the leading botanical historian of the 20th century and this is his most extensive published writing about Michaux.

 

Johnson, Lady Bird and Carlton B. Lees. Wildflowers Across America. New York, Abbeville Press, 1988.

The chapter on plant explorers of the past includes a brief section on Michaux.

 

Kastner, Joseph. A Species of Eternity. NewYork: Alfred A. Knopf, 1977.

Michaux in the context of early North American plant explorations; highlights the connections with Thomas Jefferson.

 

MacPhail, Ian. André and Francois-André Michaux; the Sterling Morton Library Bibliographies in Botany and Horticulture I. Lisle, IL: Morton Arboretum, 1981.

A scholarly bibliography of all books by the Michauxs. Precise analysis and descriptions of all editions are useful for rare book buyers.

 

Malone, Dumas. Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1962.

The leading 20th century historian of Jefferson offers a thorough and cogent analysis of the Genet Affair of 1793 and puts Michaux’s involvement in context.

 

MAGAZINE ARTICLES SINCE 1990

Bagby, Milton. “The Path of Michaux’s Passion.” Kiawah Island Legends, The Magazine of Gracious Island Living. (2001): 67-75.

Reviews Michaux’s career with special emphasis on his contributions to lowcountry gardens. Color and halftone illustrations include a detail of P.J. Redoute’s drawing of Pinckneya.

 

Dudney, Mark. "The Yellowood, Tennessee’s Bicentennial Tree." Tennessee Living in the Cumberlands (Spring-Summer 1995) 32-34.

The yellowood tree discovered by Michaux near the Cumberland River in 1796 became Tennessee’s State Bicentennial Tree in 1996.

 

Fulcher, Bob. Michaux, Muir and Gray on the Roan. Tennessee Conservationsist (September-October 1998) On the www at: www.state.tn.us/environment/

Reinterprets the route of Michaux’s explorations on Roan Mountain and links Michaux’s 18th century explorations to 19th century visits by naturalist and writer John Muir and botanist Asa Gray of Harvard.

 

Ingham, Vickie L. "Southern Imports, Horticultural Legacy of André Michaux." Southern Accents 13, No. 8 (October 1990): 74-80.

Examines some of the plants Michaux is credited with introducing to the U.S., color illustrations.

 

Loewer, Peter. "Andre Michaux in the Carolinas." Carolina Gardener 7, No. 2 (September-October 1994): 13-17.

Overview of Michaux’s career, color illustrations of some of his plant discoveries.

 

Price, Susan Davis. "The French Connection." American Gardener 78, No. 3 (May-June 1999): 38-42.

Detailed description the interlocking botanical careers of the two Michauxs father and son; the color illustrations are not to be missed.

 

Rembert, David Jr. "Carolina’s French Connection." South Carolina Wildlife 41, No. 2 (March 1994): 46-49.

Michaux’s career is described; includes a partial list of the plants Michaux discovered in SC.

 

MICHAUX’S JOURNAL

 

Michaux, André. "Journal de mon Voyage." Portions of the Journal of André Michaux, Botanist, Written During His Travels in the United States and Canada, 1785 to 1796. With an Introduction and Explanatory Notes; by C.S. Sargent. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 26, No. 129 (January to July 1889).

This is in the original French with English introduction and footnotes. This is the only complete publication of Michaux’s American journal. André Michaux’s journals have never been completely translated into English and published.. "Portions" in the title of this source is somewhat misleading. This is the entire extant journal. The original notebooks covering the years 1785-86 and some other pages were lost in a shipwreck in 1796.

André Michaux’s original handwritten journals are archived in the United States; they were donated to the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia by his son François André in 1824.

 

MICHAUX’S JOURNAL IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION

 

Michaux, André. "Journal of André Michaux 1793-96" translated and edited by Reuben Gold Thwaites in Early Western Travels 1748-1846 Vol. 3. Cleveland: 1906. Reprint, AMS Press, N.Y., 1966.

English translation with detailed annotations of the portions of Michaux’s journal describing his trips into Kentucky in 1793 on the mission for Genet and 1795-1796 on his journey of exploration to the Mississippi river. This is the most valuable translation of Michaux’s journals. The translation begins at the start of each journey in Philadelphia or Charleston and faithfully follows the French transcription published by the American Philosophical Society in 1889 .

 

Branch, Michael and Daniel Philippon eds. The Height of Our Mountains, Nature Writing from Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University. Press, 1998.

Translates a portion of Michaux’s journal from western Virginia.

 

Dugger, Shepherd H. The Balsam Groves of Grandfather Mountain. Boone, N.C: [Reprint], 1934.

Translates Michaux’s journal account of his 1794 visit to the high Mountains of NC including the celebrated climb of Grandfather Mountain. Most of the plant data has been edited out.

 

Rankin, Richard ed. North Carolina Nature Writing, Four Centuries of Personal Narratives and Descriptions. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, 1996.

Translates portions of Michaux’s journal accounts from NC including two of the journeys through the Piedmont counties.

 

Seaborn, Margaret M. ed. André Michaux’s Journeys in Oconee County, South Carolina in 1787 and 1788. Walhalla, SC: Oconee County Library, 1976.

Translates, annotates and interprets, following the work of C.S. Sargent, portions of Michaux’s journal relating to the discovery of the rare plant Shortia galacifolia.

 

Taylor, David. South Carolina Natural History Writing. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998.

Reprints a portion of Seaborn’s translation of Michaux’s journal relating to Michaux’s visit to Oconee County, SC in 1787-1788.

 

Williams, Samuel Cole. Early Travels in the Tennessee Country 1540-1800. Johnson City, TN: Watauga Press, 1928.

Translates and annotates portions of Michaux’s journal relating his travels in Tennessee in 1793 and 1795-96; the 1789 visit is omitted.

 

MICHAUX’S HERBARIUM

The original botanical specimens André Michaux collected are housed as a separate historical herbarium at the Muséum National d’Historie Naturelle, Laboratorie de Phanérogamie, Paris. A set of microfiche images of the herbarium with a printed guide is available from the Inter Documentation Company in Leiden, Netherlands.

 

Compiled by Charlie Williams, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County 10/99 revised 8/2001

 

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