AMERICAN EDEN | Victoria Johnson on David Hosack, Nature, and Art in the Garden of the Early Republic


AMERICAN EDEN | Victoria Johnson on David Hosack, Nature, and Art in the Garden of the Early Republic


This lively lecture by historian Victoria Johnson features her latest book, American Eden, which both the Wall Street Journal and Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton) have called “captivating.” American Eden was 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. It was also a New York Times Notable Book of 2018.

When Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on a dueling ground in July 1804, they chose the same attending physician: David Hosack. Family doctor and friend to both men, Hosack is today a shadowy figure at the edge of a famous duel, the great achievements of his life forgotten. But in 1801, on twenty acres of Manhattan farmland, Hosack founded the first public botanical garden in the new nation, amassing a spectacular collection of medicinal, agricultural, and ornamental plants that brought him worldwide praise from the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Sir Joseph Banks, and Alexander von Humboldt. Hosack also expressed his passion for nature and his young nation with key roles in the nascent American art world, both as a co-founder of New York’s first museum of fine art and a patron of Thomas Sully, John Trumbull, and Thomas Cole.

More information about Victoria’s book is at

Speaker Bio

Victoria Johnson is Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College of the City University of New York, where she teaches on philanthropy, nonprofits, and the history of New York City. She earned her undergraduate degree in philosophy from Yale in 1991 and her Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia in 2002. She taught for thirteen years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor before moving back to New York. She is currently at work on a biography of the artist and landscape architect Frederic Edwin Church. 


Note: This lecture will be virtual. Register for the Zoom link. 

Registration and Ticket Purchasing