Hosted by Friends of Hilltop Arboretum
In partnership with the Bartram Trail Conference
Celebrating Baton Rouge’s Bicentennial History
Friday, March 24 – Sunday, March 26, 2017
William Bartram was America’s first native-born naturalist artist. In 1773 he set out on a four-year journey from Philadelphia through the Carolinas and the Gulf South to Louisiana and the Mississippi River. Along the way he recorded his observations of the native people, plants and animals by writing and drawing in his journal. He reached Louisiana in 1775 a year before the American Declaration of Independence, 28 years before the Louisiana Purchase and 37 years before Louisiana became the 18th state in the Union. He spent only a few months in Louisiana reaching his western most point of exploration when he crossed the Mississippi to “Pointe Coupe”, in present day Pointe Coupee Parish. From this place Bartram reversed his path arriving back home in Philadelphia in early 1777. He later organized and drew from his journals to publish his book “Travels” in 1791. The book found a significant readership in American and Europe and is still in print today.
In celebration of the City of Baton Rouge’s Bicentennial Anniversary, the William Bartram’s Louisiana Trail Conference will take us back to 18th Century Louisiana where we’ll learn about the history and natural world of West Florida as well as Bartram’s contributions to art and literature.
Register and Pay:
Click here to register (Deadline MARCH 13, 2017)
Questions call 225-767-6916 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, March 24, 2017
Early Conference Check-In and Free Tour of Magnolia Mound Plantation:
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. – You can check in early and pick up your conference packet and a free pass to tour the plantation home and grounds (also good for Sunday afternoon 1:00-4:00pm).
Free Afternoon LSU Tours:
1:30 – 2:30pm – Founded in 1869, the Shirley C. Tucker Herbarium at Louisiana State University is the oldest collection of preserved plant specimens in the Gulf South and is the second largest collection of Louisiana plants. Collections Manager Jennie Kluse will lead a tour of the updated facility, with a look at early specimens and species associated with the Bartrams.
3:00 – 4:00pm – The Special Collections at LSU Hill Memorial Library was opened in 1903, and moved to the present campus in 1926. In the McIlhenny Room, items of interest for your observation include, among others, works by John and William Bartram, Mark Catesby, Alexander Wilson, Jacob Bigelow, and John James Audubon. A special treat will be some original watercolor drawings by Margaret Stones from her Flora of Louisiana project of the 1970s-80s.
Conference attendees must sign up separately for these two behind-the-scenes tours. Each tour is limited to 20 people. The group will gather together and walk to each facility, further instructions will be provided.
Click here to sign up now. You will also be allowed to include a guest.
Marker Dedication and Opening Reception:
Magnolia Mound Plantation (Front Gallery)
4:00 – 6:00p.m. Early Conference Check-In
5:30 p.m. William Bartram Marker Dedication
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Wine and Cheese Reception
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Location: East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library
7711 Goodwood Boulevard, Baton Rouge
8:30–9:00: Registration and Coffee
9:00–9:15: Welcome: President, T. R. Henderson
9:15–10:45: Bartram’s Louisiana Travels
Taylor McGaughy: “Peregrinations to Pontchartrain”: William Bartram’s Westerly Wanderings
Dennis Jones: “Sweet Home Alabama”: Evidence for an 18th Century Native American Occupation at the Chatsworth Plantation Site (16EBR192) in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
Dorinda Dallmeyer: “White Cliffs, Deep Time”: William Bartram and Geology
11:00 –12:00: Marking Bartram’s Trail
Peggy Davis Coates: Louisiana’s Bartram Trail Revisited
Sam Carr: Regional and National Bartram Trail Efforts
12:00–1:00: LUNCH (Conference Room)
Save a few minutes during the lunch break to walk out the back door of the conference room and stroll through the Botanic Garden at Independence Park. The garden features collections of crape myrtles, herbs, roses, LA Iris, day lilies, buttery plants, ferns and gingers.
1:00–2:30: Literature, Art, and the Natural World
Andy Ross: “Within a Few Inches of Your Eye”: Visual and Narrative Meditation in Bartram’s Travels
Elizabeth Athens: “A Lively Animated Picture”: William Bartram and Drawing Ad vivum
Randy Harelson: “Native Flora of Louisiana”: Watercolor Drawings of Margaret Stones
2:45–3:30: Remembering John Hall
Thomas Hallock: “Remembering John Hall”: The work of the BTC and the Good Nature of Environmental Education
3:30–4:30: Forty Years on: The History of the Bartram Trail Conference
This roundtable discussion will feature charter members of the Bartram Trail Conference. Three Louisiana members, Charles Fryling, Sally Daigle, and Polly Williams, will discuss their early adventures and their hopes for the future of the Bartram Trail Conference. Moderator: Chuck Spornick.
Cocktails, Banquet and Keynote Address:
6:30-7:30: Cocktails on the Plaza
Beer, Wine and Passed Hors d’oeuvres
7:30 – 9:00pm: Banquet and Keynote Address (see conference details)
Daniel H. Usner: “A Prospect of the Grand Sublime”: The Louisiana-Florida Borderland Seen and Unseen by William Bartram
Sunday, March 26, 2017
LSU Hilltop Arboretum Tree Stroll/Brunch and Pointe Coupee
9:00am or 11:00am – You begin this field trip with a tree stroll and brunch at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum which will be offered at two different times during the morning (9am or 11am), sign-up for your preferred time slot when you register.
On a beautiful spring morning you will enjoy the serenity of Hilltop’s 14-acres as you stroll past the arboretum’s collection of “Bartram” trees and plants, a map will be provided. Views of Louisiana aquatic plants along the pond will be in full view as you enjoy brunch under the cover of the Margaret Brown Holmes Outdoor Pavilion. Heirloom Cuisine Caterers will provide a mouth-watering Louisiana menu (see Conference Details). The Louisiana Vintage Dancers dressed in period costumes will entertain us under the pavilion with their unforgettable dances of the 1700’s. Bring your dancing shoes so you can join in! The arboretum’s Hodge Podge Nursery will also be open offering native plants for sale, and the Hilltop Gift Shop will be offering unique gifts including a poster of the famous watercolor painting of the Big Leaf Magnolia by Margaret Stones, and copies of her book Flora of Louisiana.
After brunch you will follow William Bartram’s trail as you travel in your car to New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish, the terminus of Bartram’s travels in Louisiana. The drive will take about 30 minutes and a map will be provided. Randy Harelson and Richard Gibbs will be your hosts for a tour of their historic home, LeJuene House (Circa 1810), and its garden. On your return to Baton Rouge you will stop for a visit at St. Francis Chapel (Circa 1890) which houses religious objects dating from 1738. Tours from 11 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Burden Museum and Garden Tours
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Wear your conference name badge for FREE tours at Burden Museum and Gardens which includes the LSU AgCenter Botanic Garden, LSU Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens.
Burden Museum and Gardens offers discovery and adventure through historic, natural and educational experiences that provide a window into Louisiana’s rich cultural past. Situated on 440 acres in the heart of Baton Rouge, it is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the flora and fauna of Louisiana’s lush landscapes and agricultural heritage.
Register and Pay:
Click here to register (Deadline MARCH 13, 2017)
Questions call 225-767-6916 or email email@example.com
Speaker Bios and Topics
Bartram’s Louisiana Travels
Taylor McGaughy: “Peregrinations to Pontchartrain: William Bartram’s Westerly Wanderings.”
Abstract. In late 1775, unaware that the imperial crisis had ruptured into armed hostilities and nursing a potent epidermal malady, William Bartram disembarked from a vessel at the fork of the Amite and Iberville rivers and set out overland for Fort Manchac. Upon passing under the canopy of a majestic forest for nine manqueiles, he arrived at his destination and witnessed the torrent of the Mississippi, or “the great sire of rivers.” From there, he launched into the far western leg of his famed journey to the American Southeast, surveying the flora, fauna, and peoples of British West Florida. This research tracks Bartram’s jaunt through modern-day Mississippi and Louisiana.
Taylor McGaughy is a doctoral candidate at Auburn University. His dissertation research focuses on East and West Florida during the British period.
Dennis Jones: “Sweet Home Alabama: Evidence for an 18th Century Native American Occupation at the Chatsworth Plantation Site (16EBR192) in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.”
Abstract: The Native American group known as the Alibama is presently part of the federally recognized Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. The Alibama traveled west from their ancestral homeland within the state that now bears their name as a result of France’s defeat in 1763 during the Seven Years, which is commonly known in North America as the French and Indian War. Living in the vicinity of the French Fort Toulouse in Alabama, the Alibama Indians were persecuted by their neighbors who were allied with the British. A group of the Alibama found refuge for approximately 20 years during the late 18th century within a portion of what is now recorded archaeologically as the Chatsworth Plantation site (16EBR192) in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. While this site was primarily the scene of an early 19th to early 20th century sugar cane plantation, archaeological data recovery investigations conducted at the site between 2010 and 2014 recovered a smattering of artifacts that are evidence of the late eighteenth century Alibama Indian occupation. William Bartram visited this site briefly in 1775 after he had traveled to the Mississippi River via Bayou Manchac, which was then an international boundary between British West Florida and Spanish Louisiana. He complimented the natural setting of the village and noted that his companion, William Dunbar, purchased baskets and pottery while they were there.
Dorinda G. Dallmeyer: “White Cliffs, Deep Time: William Bartram and Geology.”
Abstract: While Bartram’s Travels is still hailed for its descriptions of flora, fauna and landscape along with the native and frontiers-people he met, much less attention is now paid to his observations on geology. Historically, however, that was not the case. Many followed in his footsteps, among them the noted British geologist Sir Charles Lyell, whose journal of his visit to the southeast in 1846-1847 follows Bartram’s track closely. Of particular interest to Lyell were the White Cliffs of the Mississippi that Bartram described in 1775. This talk will focus on the formation, the literature, and enduring allure of these cliffs for geologists and nature-lovers alike.
Dorinda G. Dallmeyer directs the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Georgia and is past president of the Bartram Trail Conference.
Marking Bartram’s Trail
Peggy Davis Coates: “Louisiana’s Bartram Trail Revisited”
LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum is leading a regional partnership to commemorate naturalist William Bartram’s travels through Louisiana in cooperation with the Bartram Trail Conference. Bartram’s trail is marked with signage placed through the fundraising of the partners. This presentation will trace Bartram’s path through the greater Baton Rouge area to the westernmost point of his journey in Pointe Coupee Parish, focusing on six sites where historical markers have been erected.
Peggy Davis Coates, a native of South Louisiana, joined the LSU Hilltop Arboretum as Executive Director in June 2007. Peggy’s last position, one she held for 12 years, was with Baton Rouge Green as their Program Director. Peggy received her Master’s Degree of Landscape Architecture from Louisiana State University and her Masters of Science Degree in Urban Forestry from Southern University. In nine years of service at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum she has worked in concert with the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum, LSU’s Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, and a core of amazing volunteers to develop the arboretum into a regional environmental destination. Major site, plant collection and facility improvement projects make a substantial impact on the Baton Rouge area, and through programs, events and activities for gardeners of all ages.
Sam Carr: “Regional and National Bartram Trail Efforts.”
Abstract: This presentation will review the work done by the Bartram Trail in Putnam County, Florida as well as the national effort underway by the Bartram Trail Conference to achieve recognition by the National Park Service as a national heritage trail. It will include national and regional trail entities that are involved in establishing trails and how the Bartram Trail Conference can assist.
Sam Carr was instrumental in the establishment of the Bartram Trails in Putnam County, Florida. He works for a variety of historical and heritage tourism causes along the St. Johns River and is a Governor’s appointee to the Florida Greenways and Trails Council.
Literature, Art, And The Natural World
Elizabeth Athens: “‘A Lively Animated Picture’: William Bartram and Drawing Ad vivum”
Abstract: In the eighteenth century, recognition of nature’s inherent mutability presented a challenge for artist-naturalists such as William Bartram. In the absence of any single true form in the natural world, representation was always in danger of reifying its object in a manner that runs counter to lived experience. In this presentation, I discuss how Bartram’s emphasis on drawing over other media countered representation’s tendency to reify. Drawing possesses an “open” graphic structure that allows figure and ground to retain their autonomy; moreover, it carries a sense of directness and immediacy quite unlike etching and engraving, which usually require a series of transfers and reversals to translate the original composition into print. The immediacy and ambivalence of the drawn line—its ability to refer back to its creation and out toward the world—allows for a more dynamic form of representation, one that operates in multiple registers. It demands an imaginative collaboration of artist-naturalist and viewer that invests the drawing with a sense of mutability, as though it were perpetually coming into being. I argue that Bartram’s drawings of alligators and teratogenic plants, made during his travels through the American South, take full advantage of his chosen medium of drawing. Through his portrayal of natural wonders via graphite and pen and ink, Bartram emphasized the importance of imaginative collaboration in the creation of an animate, living image.
Elizabeth Athens is the Assistant Curator of American Art at the Worcester Art Museum, where she oversees the Museum’s collections of American paintings, furniture, and decorative arts. She completed her Ph.D. from Yale University, where her research focused on William Bartram’s graphic influences and his theory of representation.
Andrew B. Ross: “‘Within a Few Inches of Your Eye’: Visual and Narrative Mediation in Bartram’s Travels.”
This presentation suggests that unlike other texts that celebrate the author as a credible source of knowledge, in his Travels, Bartram tries to minimize authorial mediation. Doing so allows the author to narrate natural history fieldwork in such a way as to make his readers to feel as though they are naturalists themselves; the audience becomes viewers, participants, and at times even commentators in the course of the narrative. More narrowly, this analysis highlights the impact of shifts in space, time, and focalization that occur throughout Travels, focusing upon Bartram’s legible concern with how a written medium transmits an experience of visual spectatorship. In making this interpretation, I position Travels as a book that theorizes perception in a way that exemplifies the connection between ways of seeing and ways of knowing that inform philosophy, politics, and aesthetics at the end of the eighteenth century.
Andy Ross is a doctoral candidate in the English department of the University of Nevada, Reno where he is completing a dissertation about the visual culture of early American natural history.
Randy Harelson: “Native Flora of Louisiana: the Watercolor Drawings of Margaret Stones.”
Abstract: Australian botanical artist Margaret Stones created 224 watercolor drawings of Louisiana’s native plants over 14 years in the 1970s and 80s. (Some of those plants are ones John and William Bartram noted in their extensive work in the 18th century.) Stones drew all the plants only from life, using no photographs or other devices except a magnifying glass and microscope. Randy Harelson, curator of a recent LSU Museum of Art exhibition of Margaret Stones’s work, will show a number of these amazing botanical artworks, and tell the story of Stones’s career at Kew Gardens in London, and illustrating native flora, first of Tasmania, then of Louisiana.
Randy Harelson is an artist, writer, horticulturist, and educator, originally from Baton Rouge. He owns and lives in the historic LeJeune House in New Roads, Louisiana. He is the author of New Roads and Old Rivers (LSU Press, 2012) with Brian Costello, photographs by Richard Sexton.
Remembering John Hall
Thomas Hallock: “Remembering John Hall: The work of the BTC and the Good Nature of Environmental Education.”
Abstract: “How do we use William Bartram to connect with the natural world? Amidst our many differences, how do we keep the focus our threatened ecosystems? This short talk honors the life of our friend, long-time BTC member John Hall. With a quick recap of John’s life and work, we offer his model as a legacy to follow.”
Thomas Hallock is Professor of English at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He co-edited with Nancy Hoffmann, William Bartram, the Search for Nature’s Design: Selected Art, Letters and Unpublished Writings. His volume, John and William Bartram: Travels on the St. Johns River, co-edited with Richard Franz, is due out in January. Hallock is at work on a series of travel essays that explain why he loves teaching the American literature survey, called A Road Course in American Literature (www.roadcourse.us).
Forty Years On: The History Of The Bartram Trail Conference
This roundtable discussion, moderated by former BTC president Chuck Spornick, will feature charter members of the Bartram Trail Conference. Three Louisiana members, Charles Fryling, Sally Daigle, and Polly Williams, will discuss their early adventures and their hopes for the future of the Bartram Trail Conference.
Banquet Keynote Address
Daniel H. Usner: “A prospect of the grand sublime”: The Louisiana-Florida Borderland Seen and Unseen by William Bartram
Abstract: When William Bartram traveled between Pearl River and Pointe Coupée in 1775, this part of the Lower Mississippi Valley was undergoing one of its most transformative periods–which matters a lot considering the region’s later experiences with Americanization, the Civil War, and Hurricane Katrina. Spain’s acquisition of Louisiana and Britain’s acquisition of Florida after the Seven Years’ War had drastically altered the geopolitical configuration of the Lower Mississippi Valley, making the great river an international boundary between European empires while heating up commercial development of the region. A sudden migration of European, African, and Native American peoples into the region during the 1760s and 1770s also raised plenty of new opportunities and challenges. Although only vaguely described by Bartram, whose visit was cut short by high fever, headache, and impaired vision, the volatility experienced by inhabitants along the Louisiana-Florida border constituted an important setting for this phase of the naturalist’s travels across the Deep South.
Daniel Usner is the Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and a past president of the American Society for Ethnohistory. He teaches courses on colonial North America, American Indian history, and Atlantic World empires and borderlands. A native son of New Orleans, Usner also specializes in the cultural and environmental history of south Louisiana. His research focuses on the American South during the colonial and early national periods and on relations between the United States and Indian nations to the present. Usner is the author of Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy (1992), American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley (1998), Indian Work: Language and Livelihood in American Indian History (2009), and Weaving Alliances with Other Women: American Indian Work in the New South (2015). He is currently writing a book entitled From Bayou Teche to Fifth Avenue: How Chitimacha Indian Baskets Moved across America.
Heirloom Cuisine Menus
Saturday, March 25, 2017
EBRP Main Branch Library
Conference Lunch Deli Buffet
Garden Green Salad “Bar” with Mixed Lettuces, Grape Tomatoes, Sunflower Seeds, Sliced Cucumbers, Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Shredded Cheese (Ranch & Balsamic Vinaigrette on the side)
Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad with Roasted Chicken
Shrimp Remoulade with Assorted Crackers and Sliced Ciabatta
Lemon Squares and Chocolate Mousse with Fresh Berries
Raspberry Sweet Tea with Fresh Mint
6:30-7:30pm Cocktails on the Plaza
Beer and Wine
Crawfish Corn Maque Choux, Savory Cheesecake served on Crackers, Spicy White Bean Hummus served on Ciabatta Croutons, Butter Toasted Pecans
7:30-9:00pm Keynote Banquet Buffet
Fried Louisiana Catfish with Hush Puppies served with Creole Tartar Sauce and Cocktail Sauce
Mini Muffalettas (With & Without Meat)
Fried Green Tomatoes with Remoulade
Braised Mustard Green (Without Meat)
Kettle Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Toppings that include Brown Sugar,
Marshmallows, Cinnamon Butter and Toasted Pecans
Traditional Bread Pudding with Rum Soaked Raisins and Spiced Pecans
Sunday, March 25, 2017
LSU Hilltop Arboretum Tree Stroll and Brunch
Guests Greeted with Southern Tea Bar
Unsweetened Tea, Mint Leaves, Raw Sugar from Alma Plantation, Lemon Slices
Under Open-Air Pavilion
Quiche Station: Assorted Quiche include Egg, Vegetables, Cheese or Egg, Cheese & Bacon
Homemade Biscuit Station: Louisiana Biscuits with Sliced Ham, Steen’s Syrup, Country Gravy, and Louisiana Jellies, Jams & Preserves (Fig Preserves, Muscadine Grape Jam/ Preserves, Mayhaw Jelly, and Bocage Honey)
Grits & Grillades Station: Shrimp and Grits
Fresh Seasonal Fruit Display
Coffee, OJ and Infused Water