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Bailey, Liberty Hyde (15 March 1858–25 December 1954), horticulturist and botanist, was born near South Haven, in Van Buren County, Michigan, the son of Liberty Hyde Bailey, Sr., a farmer and fruit grower, and Sarah Harrison. From childhood he was interested in nature, observing and making collections of plants and animals in the fields near his home. During his school days he came upon copies of Charles Darwin’s ...

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Liberty Hyde Bailey Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-12222).

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Blackstone, William (05 March 1595–26 May 1675), Anglican clergyman, horticulturist, and first European settler in what is now Rhode Island, was born in Whickham, Durham, England, the son of John Blackstone, a wealthy landowner and poultryman, and Agnes Hawley. At Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Blackstone (sometimes Blackston or Blaxton) took his B.A. in 1617 and his M.A. in 1621. He at once took orders in the Church of England....

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Bull, Ephraim Wales (04 March 1806–26 September 1895), horticulturalist, breeder of the Concord grape, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Epaphras Bull, a silversmith descended from a colonist who had come to America in 1635, and Esther Wales, the daughter of a wealthy family from Dorset, Massachusetts. A serious student, Ephraim won a medal for scholarship at the age of eleven, but since his father could not afford further education for him he was apprenticed to Louis Lauriat, a local chemist, to learn the craft of goldbeating—hammering gold into thin sheets for use in gilding—at the age of fifteen. After working for another goldbeater in Dorchester for a time, he opened his own business in 1826, and later that same year married Mary Ellen Walker, a relative of the president of Harvard. The couple had three children but separated in 1871....

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Burbank, Luther (07 March 1849–11 April 1926), horticulturist, was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Walton Burbank, a farmer and brickmaker, and Olive Ross. Although Burbank’s family was of comfortable middle-class means, his formal schooling was modest, consisting of public school attendance until the age of fifteen, supplemented by part-time study during the next four winters at the Lancaster Academy. An important influence in his early life was his cousin Levi Sumner Burbank, who had been curator of geology at the Boston Society of Natural History and often took the youngster with him on local natural history excursions....

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Luther Burbank With a view of his home, 1907. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-108372).

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Callaway, Cason Jewell (06 November 1894–12 April 1961), business executive, agriculturist, and developer, was born in LaGrange, Georgia, the son of Fuller Earle Callaway and Ida Jane Cason. His father was the founder of Callaway Mills, Inc., a highly successful cotton processing firm. He attended Bingham Military School in Asheville, North Carolina, followed by one year at the University of Virginia. He enjoyed a successful year at Charlottesville, but his father decided that he needed skills training. Therefore, he enrolled at Eastman School of Business in Poughkeepsie, New York. Young Callaway was given responsibility for Valley Waste Mills, a division of his father’s Callaway Mills. At age twenty he organized Valley Waste Mills into a great commercial success as a pioneering recycling operation. His achievements gained his father’s attention as well as that of other top managers in the firm, since the waste division netted more than $1 million in profits during the three-year period just before U.S. entry into World War I....

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Crockett, James Underwood (09 October 1915–11 July 1979), gardener and writer, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of Earle Royce Crockett and Inez Underwood Crockett. After attending area public schools, he studied horticulture briefly at the University of Massachusetts. By 1935 he had moved to Long Island, New York, where he became an employee of Oak Park Nurseries, in East Patchogue. Four years later he moved again, this time to Texas, and became the superintendent of the Japanese Nursery Company in Houston. During his two years in Texas he studied horticulture part time at the state Agricultural and Mechanical College, now known as Texas A&M University....

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Andrew Jackson Downing. Engraving on paper, c. 1852, by John Halpin. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of T. Bragg McLeod.

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Downing, Andrew Jackson (31 October 1815–28 July 1852), nurseryman and landscape gardener, was born in Newburgh, New York, the son of Samuel Downing, a wheelwright turned nurseryman, and Eunice Bridge. His youthful experiences in the Hudson Valley inspired his later interest in landscape and architectural design. As Newburgh grew from village into small industrial city, and as farmers increasingly raised fruits and vegetables for urban markets, Downing’s career evolved from that of selling garden stock to the landscaping of grounds and the design of rural and suburban homes. And as the pace of urban growth accelerated, he became the most influential early advocate of spacious parks within cities and codified the suburban ideal for middle- and upper-class Americans....