Bailey in Print

The Liberty Hyde Bailey Gardener’s Companion

Comstock Publishing Associates, an imprint of Cornell University Press, 2019

“Every family can have a garden.” -Liberty Hyde Bailey

Finally, the best and most accessible garden writings of perhaps the most influential literary gardener of the twentieth century have been brought together in one book. Philosopher, poet, naturist, educator, agrarian, scientist, and garden-lover par excellence Liberty Hyde Bailey built a reputation as the Father of Modern Horticulture and evangelist for what he called the “garden-sentiment”—the desire to raise plants from the good earth for the sheer joy of it and for the love of the plants themselves. Bailey’s perennial call to all of us to get outside and get our hands dirty, old or young, green thumb or no, is just as fresh and stirring today as then.

Full of timeless wit and grace, The Liberty Hyde Bailey Gardener’s Companion collects essays and poems from Bailey’s many books on gardening, as well as from newspapers and magazines from the era. Whether you’ve been gardening for decades or are searching for your first inspiration, Bailey’s words will make an ideal companion on your journey.

The Holy Earth

Counterpoint Press, 2015

“[Bailey] gives to our cant phrase ‘quality of life’ a gravity and a happiness that most of us have forgot even to try for, exceeding the capacity of our language of novelty and the news, but reachable if ever again we should decide to try.” –Wendell Berry, from the foreword

By turns expansive and compact, growing from tradition and challenging dogma, Liberty Hyde Bailey’s environmental manifesto, The Holy Earth, draws on a deep well of agrarian tradition stretching back through Thomas Jefferson to Hesiod, while simultaneously invoking the profound scientific thought of the early twentieth century. It makes an impassioned plea for humanity to take a “new hold” in our outlook and sense of responsibility toward Earth’s ecosystems. Writing when farming was first beginning to face the rapid and extensive challenges of industrialization, Bailey asserts that the earth’s processes and products, because they form the governing conditions of human life, should be understood first as divine, not economic. The natural world, of which humans are a part, is yet “beyond us” and our small comprehension, Bailey argued, and in order to rid ourselves of the “habit of destructiveness” we must change our thinking to live as cooperating parts of nature—not as dominators over the nonhuman.

With words that would later influence such thinkers as Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and many others, Bailey laid out a prophetic vision that has never been as timely as now. This centennial edition presents new editorial content and the restored and authoritative text, along with a new foreword by Wendell Berry, to introduce this classic of American environmentalism to a new generation of readers.

Liberty Hyde Bailey: Essential Agrarian and Environmental Writings

Cornell University Press, 2008

Before Wendell Berry and Aldo Leopold, there was the horticulturalist and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858–1954). For Wendell Berry, Bailey was a revelation, a symbol of the nature-minded agrarianism Berry himself popularized. For Aldo Leopold, Bailey offered a model of the scholar-essayist-naturalist. In his revolutionary work of eco-theology, The Holy Earth, Bailey challenged the anthropomorphism—the people-centeredness—of a vulnerable world.

A trained scientist writing in the lyrical tradition of Emerson, Burroughs, and Muir, Bailey offered the twentieth century its first exquisitely interdisciplinary biocentric worldview; this Michigan farmer’s son defined the intellectual and spiritual foundations of what would become the environmental movement. For nearly a half century, Bailey dominated matters agricultural, environmental, and scientific in the United States. He worked both to improve the lives of rural folk and to preserve the land from which they earned their livelihood. Along the way, he popularized nature study in U.S. classrooms, lobbied successfully for women’s rights on and off the farm, and bulwarked Teddy Roosevelt’s pioneering conservationism.

Here for the first time is an anthology of Bailey’s most important writings suitable for the general and scholarly reader alike. Carefully selected and annotated by Zachary Michael Jack, this book offers a comprehensive introduction to Bailey’s celebrated and revolutionary thinking on the urgent environmental, agrarian, educational, and ecospiritual dilemmas of his day and our own. Culled from ten of Bailey’s most influential works, these lyrical selections highlight Bailey’s contributions to the nature-study and the Country Life movements.

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