from Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley

by Daniel J. Philippon

Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge (1855), by David Hunter Strother
The Catalogue
of an Exhibition of
Rare Books, Manuscripts,
Maps, Engravings, and Photographs
Related to the Literature of Nature
Written about Western Virginia
from the Seventeenth through the
Twentieth Centuries, on View
in the Tracy W. McGregor Room,
Alderman Library,
University of Virginia,
27 April - 14 July 1997

landmark n. 1. A prominent identifying feature of a landscape.
adj. Having great import or significance.
--The American Heritage Dictionary, 3rd ed.

Cursed be he who removes his neighbor's landmark.
--Deuteronomy 27:17

[ Foreword | Preface | Acknowledgments | Works Consulted | Major Gifts ]


Two introductory sections of field guides and presidential materials precede the three main portions of the exhibition.

1. Field Guides
2. The Backyard of Presidents

Part One: Early Encounters

Five sections display regional nature writing from the colonial and early Republic periods, including first editions of some of the most important documents of early American literature.

3. Whose Nature, Whose Writing?
4. Westward Journeys
5. Visitors from Abroad
6. Itinerant Naturalists
7. Women on the Road

Part Two: Jeffersonian Legacies

A single section devoted to Jefferson is followed by five sections that present nineteenth-century reactions to the landmarks he describes in Notes on the State of Virginia (1785).

8. Jefferson at Monticello
9. Landmarks I: Harpers Ferry
10. Landmarks II: The Peaks of Otter
11. Landmarks III: The Natural Bridge
12. Landmarks IV: The Springs
13. Landmarks V: The Caves

Part Three: Changing Times

Six sections offer more recent representations of the Virginia landscape, beginning with fictional texts from the antebellum period and ending with modern memoirs and nature essays.

14. Antebellum Fiction
15. The Civil War
16. Modern Fiction
17. Modern Travelers
18. The Culture of Nature
19. Modern Memoirs and Nature Essays

This exhibition is based on the research for
The Height of Our Mountains
forthcoming from the Johns Hopkins University Press in Spring 1998

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