Henry Shaw: his life and legacies.
St Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001.
Octavo, dustwrapper, 228 pp. black and white photographs.
Founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw, the Missouri Botanical Garden is recognized internationally as a research center and is known to every St. Louis resident for seasonal floral displays, the Japanese Garden, and the Climatron © - the first geodesic-dome greenhouse. But few know much about Henry Shaw himself, the successful businessman who began the Garden, commonly called “Shaw's Garden,” and gave it and the 276 acres of Tower Grove Park to the city. While the Garden was open to all, Shaw's private life has until now remained closed.
Shaw was an enigmatic man, the kind about whom myths easily arise. Although he claimed to have quit business at the age of thirty-none, he was still collecting rents from property at his death fifty years later. He wrote of attractive women in his diaries and journals and kept some of their letters, but he never married. He deplored slavery on his arrival in Missouri, but thirty-five years later he owned eleven slaves. He proposed his own philosophy of history, arguing that wine was the secret of national progress.
After extensive research in Shaw's native England and at the Missouri Botanical Garden archives, William Barnaby Faherty in this biography of Shaw separates the myths from the facts and brings new insight into Shaw's life and personality. AT the same time, through the story of the man who founded it, he presents a colorful picture of one of the world's outstanding botanical institutions.