Walter Edgar's Journal: Mark Catesby - Nature's Messenger
In 1722, Mark Catesby stepped ashore in Charles Town in the Carolina colony. Over the next four years, this young naturalist made history as he explored America’s natural wonders, collecting and drawing plants and animals which had never been seen back in the Old World. Nine years later Catesby produced his magnificent and groundbreaking book, The Natural History of Carolina, the first-ever illustrated account of American flora and fauna.
In this episode of the Journal we talk with Patrick Dean, author of Nature's Messenger: Mark Catesby and His Adventures in a New World (2023, Simon & Schuster). As Dean will tell us, Catesby was a pioneer in many ways, with his careful attention to the knowledge of non-Europeans in America—the enslaved Africans and Native Americans who had their own sources of food and medicine from nature— which set him apart from other Europeans of his time.