American Environmental History: Summary lesson three.

Painting and Photographic images of a nation in turmoil.
The watersheds Saranac lake in the Adirondack Mountain preserve.  
George Catlin

Twin Visions of two nations

George Catlin, 1830s

Diverse ways of interpreting American landscapes


Mumford on the national importance of landscape

DuBois and the Black Belt, an alternative vision

threats to the public domain

land policy failures

landscape artists

Two further means of seeing beneath the surface:

• Paintings by George Catlin, Thomas Cole's school & Frederick Church & Childe Hassam.

Meaning in landscape art.

• photographs Alfred Stieglitz, and painting Georgia O'keeffe.

Alfred Stieglitz (January 1, 1864 – July 13, 1946) was an American photographer and modern art promoter who was effective over his fifty-year career in making photography an accepted art form.

Georgia Totto O'Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was an American artist born near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and died in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


The laws:

Distinguishing the public trust, public domain & an idea of a commons as sources of a preservationist tradition in America.

Commerce & the Public Trust,

Siry: Marshes pp. 62-82. Plume bird visit.

• The Public Trust doctrine, the arguments for a national treasure; watersheds & water levels


writing to recover community- A class activity.

national scenery

country, a taste for

Landscape painting as a means of knowing the past

• CFAM Protecting the past on Canvass and the Ground–

Siry: Marsh, Shaler, and Shelford, Marshes pp. 83-111.

The tradition and counter traditions

• The Organic revolt against laissez-faire: John Wesley Powell,

French ideas of laissez faire, to allow to make or do without interference.

Powell's irrigation survey and vision. 1874-1888

Ellet, Marsh, and Powell; all see the delusions in ideas.

More details of the conflict



1832, Catlin, proposed a park

1855, Olmsted: Central park NYC

1864, Olmsted: Yosemite park

1864, George Marsh Man & Nature

1869, Powell down the Grand Canyon

1871 US Fish Commission

1872, Yellowstone

1872, Arbor day

1872, Powell's Arid Regions plan

1882, Forestry division

1885, NY; Adirondack preserve

1888, Powell's Irrigation Survey

1891, Forest Reserves

1892, Great Depression

1900, Lacey Act

1901, Newland's Act

1908, Grand Canyon monument

1909, Pinchot-Ballinger rift

1911, Weeks Act, forests

1916, National Park Service

1920, National Water Power Act

1926, Surplus in the food markets

1929, Stock Market crash

1933, drought on the High Plains

1934, Black Sunday on Great Plains

book clipThomas Moran'
Resolving land and water conflicts. Writing about Egan's book.


Albert Bierstadt, Yosemite Valley.



Mumford vs. DuBois dual versions of the nation's broken promise The Souls of Black Folks, 4-7.


See Second summary page on Lewis Mumford and interpreting the American landscape

Essay due November 12 revised and printed out- submit to Blackboard™ √.

What is worth protecting in America for the future?