John Burroughs was an American naturalist. He is known for his writings -- articles, books, and poetry -- on the topic of the environment.Born in 1827, Burroughs spent a great deal of time outside while growing up on a dairy farm in the heart of the Catskill Mountains in New York state. At the age of 16, he began teaching grammar school until moving to Washington D.C. at age 36. Here he became a clerk in the U.S. Treasury Department.
Burroughs soon met poet Walt Whitman, who
helped him polish his writing skills. Burroughs began to write essays about his environmental observations. These articles were published in the Atlantic Monthly.
In 1867, Whitman helped Burroughs write and publish his first book, Notes on Walt Whitman as a Poet and Person. This was followed by Wake-Robin in 1871 and Winter Sunshine in 1875, both of which Burroughs produced independently. These books helped solidify his literary reputation.
Before the turn of the century, Burroughs moved back to New York and built himself a log cabin. Here, in "Slabslides" as he called it, he entertained guests such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Muir. He spent time traveling, both abroad and in the United States. He also worked and traveled with Roosevelt, which prompted him to write the book Camping
and Tramping with Roosevelt in 1907.
In his later years, Burroughs expanded his range of writing to include poetry, explanations of life, and even World War I. His writings also became more philosophical. Some of his later works included Bird and Bough, The Summit of the Years, and Under the Apple Trees in 1906, 1913, and 1916 respectively.
John Burroughs died in 1921. Soon after, the John Burroughs Association was
developed with the support of the American Museum of Natural History. The organization's goals have been to promote the love of nature that Burroughs showed throughout his life and to support locations associated with him, such as Slabsides. The John Burroughs Association still operates today.
The writings of John Burroughs