Book Talk: American Eden

May 14th, 2019 - 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Humanities Center - Levinthal Hall 424 Santa Teresa St.
Stanford, CA 94305

When Dr. David Hosack tilled the country’s first public botanical garden in the Manhattan soil more than two hundred years ago, he didn’t just dramatically alter the New York landscape; he left a monumental legacy of advocacy for public health and wide-ranging support for the sciences. A charismatic dreamer admired by the likes of Jefferson, Madison, and Humboldt, and intimate friends with both Hamilton and Burr, the Columbia professor devoted his life to inspiring Americans to pursue medicine and botany with a rigor to rival Europe’s. Though he was shoulder-to-shoulder with the founding fathers―and even present at the fatal duel that took Hamilton’s life―Hosack and his story remain unknown.

Now, in American Eden, historian Victoria Johnson eloquently chronicles Hosack’s tireless career to reveal the breadth of his impact. The result is a lush portrait of the man who gave voice to a new, deeply American understanding of the powers and perils of nature. American Eden has been called “captivating” by both the Wall Street Journal and Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow. American Eden was a New York Times Notable Book of 2018. It was also a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in Nonfiction, the 2018 Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Biography, and the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in History. For more information: americaneden.org.


  • 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm - Pre-Reception
  • 5:30 pm - 5:45 pm - Welcome and Introductions
  • 5:45 pm - 6:30 pm - "Lively Lecture"
  • 6:30 pm - 7:00 pm - Q&A
  • 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm - Book Signing/Post-Reception


  • Victoria Johnson - Author, American Eden, Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College in New York City