Henry Shaw

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Henry Shaw

Henry Shaw (Sheffield, England July 24, 1800- St. Louis August 25, 1889) prominent man of his time, philanthropist, lover of botany and founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden. < / p>

Henry_Shaw’s Biography

Henry Shaw was born in 1800 in Sheffield industrial city of England. On May 3, 1819, when he was eighteen years old, he moved to St. Louis with the intention of importing goods from St. Louis through the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

Two decades of financial success in St. Louis allowed him to leave the operations of business and devote himself to more refined tasks.

In 1840 he began a period of almost ten years of travel, in which he visited museums and botanical gardens in Europe, Asia Minor, and Russia. He also visited Chatsworth, in Derbyshire, England, where he saw the Joseph Paxton Arboretum and the collection of plants from around the world classified with signs of the Duke of Devonshire. With these visits, the idea of ​​creating a similar cultural enterprise in St. Louis, his adopted home, matured.

In the following three decades, Henry Shaw was shaping his dreams, to create a place of beauty and distinction that would serve to educate and improve American citizens. For which he was transforming his farm of “Tower Grove”, in one of the leading botanical gardens of the nation.

At the beginning, it was ordering thousands of plants, distributing them with garden criteria, according to the three great divisions of “J. C. Loudon” & nbsp ;: garden, arboretum, and fruticetum. It was also adorned with viewpoints, with parterres, and herbaceous soils of scientifically selected plants. Henry Shaw consulted regularly with William Jackson Hooker, the director of the Royal Botanic Garden of Kew, also had as adviser the botanist of Harvard Asa Gray for the establishment of a research infrastructure for scientists. St. Louis physician and botanist George Engelmann, the nation’s highest authority on American cacti, was his most influential advisor.

The “Shaw’s Garden” (now Missouri Botanical Garden) was opened to the public in 1859 to enthusiastic legions of visitors eager to see one of the first botanical institutions in the country. In the next thirty years, Henry Shaw increased the plantations, with new species of plants discovered by the great plants seekers of his time.

In 1867 Henry Shaw began to work intensively, to condition the Tower Grove Park, a strip of 112 hectares of land attached to the southern part of the botanical garden. Despite the growing popularity of garden landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted and his pastoral style, Henry Shaw again chose the garden design where plants are emphasized as specimens, in line with his educational vision. With great care he distributed the trees according to their height levels, decorating the landscape with exotic plants, oriental style pavilions and summer houses.

Henry Shaw left Tower Grove Park as a legacy for the city of Saint Louis. He wrote botanical treatises, equipped the Botany School of the University of Washington, helped found the “Missouri Historical Society”, and donated a school and grounds for the construction of a hospital to the city. Of the gifts of Henry Shaw, without a doubt the Botanical Garden of Missouri is the best known.

More Facts about Henry Shaw

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