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Horticulture Professor to Present on North America’s Agricultural Origins
August 3rd, 2012
AMES, Iowa — A Purdue University horticulture professor will offer a glimpse of 16th century North American agriculture in a presentation on Aug. 14 at Iowa State University.
Jules Janick, the James Troop distinguished professor of horticulture, will present “Early Pictures of America: Revelations of the Drake Manuscript” at 7 p.m. in 1148 Gerdin Auditorium. It is free and open to the public.
Janick’s presentation is based on the Histoire Naturelle des Indes, an anonymous illustrated manuscript believed to have been written between 1586 and 1600, which also is called the Drake Manuscript.
“The manuscript is of considerable historical and horticultural interest since it portrays food plants consumed by the indigenous people of the Americas and provides evidence of crop introduction from the Old World used by indigenous Americans,” Janick said.
Many aspects of the work remain a mystery, mostly the identity of the illustrator who drew pictures of people, plants and animals.
“The illustrator’s work remains a valuable resource for information about horticulture and culture of the indigenous Indians of the New World,” he said.
Janick said most agree the illustrator was a Frenchman who was involved in some way with at least one of the voyages of Sir Francis Drake, probably the 1585-1586 voyage to the West Indies.
“The speech will include the intersection of horticultural history, art history and the history of European incursion in the North America,” Janick said.