Francis Parkman Jr. (1823—93), an American historian, started a journey along the Oregon Trail in 1846 to improve his health and study the Native Americans. On his return to Boston he collapsed physically and moved to Brattleboro, Vermont. There Parkman dictated to his cousin The Oregon Trail (1849). Despite ill health, he labored on his History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac (1851) and wrote an unsuccessful novel. Following a trip to Paris in 1858 to seek medical aid, he was for several years unable to continue his historical research. He took up the study of horticulture and became an expert in the field. In 1866, The Book of Roses was published, and from 1871 to 1872 he was professor of horticulture at Harvard. He eventually resumed his studies of the history of Canada and the early Northwest, publishing nine more books. Parkman served for a time as overseer of Harvard and later as a fellow of the Harvard Corp. (1875—88). He was a founder of the Archaeological Institute of America (1879) and was president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (1875—78). Parkman's superior literary gifts, combined with his careful historical research, gained him wide contemporary prominence. His work showed both anti-Catholic and anti-democratic prejudices, but it usually managed to combine accuracy and vigor of expression. There are several editions of Parkman's complete works. His journals were edited by Mason Wade (1947) and his letters by Wilbur R. Jacobs (1960).
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