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Letters from Alabama

Chiefly Relating to Natural HIstory

Written by Philip Henry Gosse, introduciton by Harvey H. Jackson, and edited by

Publication Year: 1993

Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888), a British naturalist, left home at age 17 and made his way to Alabama in 1838, where he had heard educated people were in demand. He was employed by Judge Reuben Saffold at Pleasant Hill in Dallas County as a teacher for about a dozen children of local landowners, but his principal interest was natural history. During the eight months he lived in th Black Belt he watched, listened, thought, took notes, and made sketches--activities that eventually led to Letters from Alabama. He lived among Alabamians, talked and listened to them, saw them at their best and their worst, and came to understand their hopes and fears. They were a part of the natural world, and he paid attention to them as any good scientist would. With the skills of a scientist and the temperament of an artist, Gosse set down an account of natural life in frontier Alabama that has no equal. Written to no one in particular, a common literary device of the period, the letters were first published in a magazine, and in 1859 appeared as a book. By that time Gosse was an established scholar and one of England’s most noted scientific illustrators.


Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. A-5

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pp. A-7-A-24

Late on a May afternoon in 1838, English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse landed in Mobile. He found accommodations and the next morning rose "with the first opening of sunlight [and] ... hasten[ ed] into the dense forests which closely environ[ ed] the town." Years later he recalled his wonder and delight at what...

Facsimile of Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. v-vi

Facsimile of Contents

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pp. vii-xii

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Letters from Alabama

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pp. 1-306

YOUR desire to have some information of the country in which the good providence of God has for the present allotted my residence, shall be gratified so far as my opportunities of observation will admit. I shall communicate it more readily, because from the very hasty and imperfect notion I have yet formed, I think it probable that scenes, circumstances, and manners, differ widely from those to which you..


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pp. 307-324

E-ISBN-13: 9780817383121
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817306830

Publication Year: 1993