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News of Otsego County

Susan Fenimore Cooper

THE OTHER FENIMORE COOPER

THE OTHER FENIMORE COOPER

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Susan Fenimore Cooper’s “Rural Hours” (1850) was known to Henry David Thoreau and praised by Charles Darwin.

After reading “Rural Hours,” Charles Darwin, of all people, mentioned Susan Fenimore Cooper in a letter to Asa Gray, perhaps the most important American botanist of the 19th Century.

Struck by her understanding of the “battle” between Old and New World weeds, he asked, “Who is she?”

Nowadays, we know the “weeds” she was writing about were “invasive species,” a burning environ-mental issue in Glimmerglass’ environs even today, 125 years after James Fenimore Cooper’s daughter’s death, as we worry about the zebra mussel, the water chestnut and, heavens, the European frog bit.

If Charles Darwin knew her, “How do I know about Henry David Thoreau and not about this woman?” Professor Johnson asked herself when she first happened on “Rural Hours.” It was in the 1990s. She was a graduate student immersed in the Transcendentalists while seeking her masters and doctorate at Claremont Graduate University in California.

With a planned focus on Shakespeare or the British Modernists, “I was taken by surprise when I got scooped up in environmental writing, about the human relationship to the natural world,” she said.

Audubon Magazine Features Cooperstown Nature Writer

CLICK TO READ TEXT OF ARTICLE

Audubon Magazine Features

Cooperstown Nature Writer

Susan Fenimore Cooper’s Reputation Rising

Susan Fenimore Cooper

COOPERSTOWN – This month’s edition of Audubon magazine features Susan Fenimore Cooper, whose “Rural Hours” (1850) was mentioned by Henry David Thoreau his journals prior to the publication of his famous “Walden” (1854).

Credited simply as “by a lady,” her “Rural Hours,” while praised by such giants at Charles Darwin, prevented Susan from even approaching the fame of her father, James Fenimore Cooper.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Environmentalism Of Susan Fenimore Cooper 03-13-21
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, MARCH 13

Environmentalism Of

Susan Fenimore Cooper

14-19eventspage

ART LECTURE – 2 p.m. Discuss naturalist author Susan Fenimore Cooper and her work ‘Rural Hours’ with leading scholar Rochelle L. Johnson and what her contributions mean in the era of climate change. Free, registration required for Zoom conference. Dontions of $10 or more requested. Presented by Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org

Cooperstown Historian Traces Roots Of Mystery Novel To Cooper Daughter

Cooperstown Historian Traces Roots 

Of Mystery Novel To Cooper Daughter

Cooperstown Village Historian Hugh MacDougall fields a question from the Friends of the Library's Hilda Wilcox this afternoon after delivering a paper on "Elinor Wyllys," a little known novel by Susan Fenimore Cooper, daughter of James Fenimore Cooper.  The courtroom scene in "Elinor," and her father's  1850 mystery novel, "The Ways of the Hour," were early example of what continues as a popular genre today.  (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Cooperstown Village Historian Hugh MacDougall fields a question from the Friends of the Library’s Hilda Wilcox this afternoon after delivering a paper on “Elinor Wyllys,” a little known 1845 novel by Susan Fenimore Cooper, daughter of James Fenimore Cooper. The courtroom scene in “Elinor,” and her father’s 1850 mystery novel, “The Ways of the Hour,” were early examples of what continues to be a popular genre today, said MacDougall, an expert on the Cooperstown family of writers and a founder of the James Fenimore Cooper Society. (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)

 

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