Monday, September 28, 2009

Unwrapping The Holy Earth: A Breakdown of Bailey's Classic Book

I first came across Bailey's The Holy Earth as a museum intern at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum. The title was striking but what lay inside was even more so. The copy I thumbed through was the museum's only copy of the first print edition, signed by Bailey's daughter Ethel. I desperately wanted to annotate, highlight, underline, circle, and write reflections in the margins. The prose was dense and crafted with a different lilt but energy flowed out of the pages. There was gold here to be mined.

With new print editions available, the annotations can now begin in earnest. The full text is also available online from the Library of Congress . Currently, as Director of the museum, I caution folks that the book is not a quick read. It isn't even structured for today's reader. The great summation of the book isn't saved for the end as a loud revelation that predominates today's style. The small deceivingly simple chapters need to be ruminated on, one at a time, one per day. There is a visible structure to Bailey's theme. The one I have provided made sense to me. (Click on Blog Image) It has been used in a Holy Earth class held at the museum. As I mentioned then, use it as a template for your own ordering. This blog posting will look at each grouping. Feel free to join in the conversation and read along with us.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Coming Agrarian Revival: A Footnote to Liberty Hyde Bailey's, "The Holy Earth," By Maynard Kaufman

This lecture was prepared for delivery at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum,
South Haven, Michigan, on March 5th, 2008, the day, which would have been Bailey’s 150th birthday.
Click on the title bar for the full text

Liberty Hyde Bailey as an Agrarian Thinker
Wendell Berry has defined the agrarian as the opposite of the industrial, and he got this directly from Liberty Hyde Bailey. In one of his early books, The Outlook to Nature published in 1905, Bailey began by emphasizing nature as the norm that should govern civilization. We now live in an industrial civilization which sees the farm, or nature, merely as a producer of raw materials. The agrarian, like Bailey, recognizes the industrial sector as being the producer of the tools needed to produce food, but the agrarian would like to see the industrial sector integrated more harmoniously with nature. Although Berry goes on to relate Bailey back to a tradition of agrarian thinkers, from the ancient Roman poet, Virgil, to Thomas Jefferson, the fact is that Bailey was a new kind of agrarian, the first environmental agrarian.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Holy Earth Review at Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed has a thoughtful and reflective review on Liberty Hyde Bailey's, "The Holy Earth" by Scott McLemee. "By the time he died in 1954, Bailey was a sage and a legend -- part Al Gore, part Indiana Jones, avant la lettre."

Read the entire article at: mclemee / Intellectual Affairs - Inside Higher Ed
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Monday, September 14, 2009

An Evolutionist's View on Nature and Religion

A woman who knew my evolution beliefs once asked me where heaven is. There seemed to her to be no place left for it in the cosmos of the evolutionist. This is a type of difficulty which perplexes many persons. They dwell upon the physical symbolism of faith and creed, as if the things of the spirit must be measured by time and space and materials. I could only answer that I never expect to be able to discover heaven with a telescope. Perhaps heaven is much nearer than we think.
- L.H. Bailey, from the 1899 article, "An Evolutionist's View on Nature and Religion" in The Idepedendent

Friday, September 04, 2009

Quotable Bailey

Nature does not become senile; it pauses, and then resurrects.
- L.H. Bailey
Carriage barn at the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum, South Haven, Michigan