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A Man of Salt and Trees
The Life of Joy Morton
Finalist, Best Biography, Society of Midland Authors, 2010
“Clearly organized and well-written. Ballowe makes excellent use of primary sources to create a literate and engaging biography.”—Ann Keating, North Central College
“The great strength of this book is its use of Morton Papers to give a close reading of the subject’s life and corporate achievements. It provides a concrete case study of larger themes and issues historians associate with Chicago’s coming of age as a regional and national center of commerce and culture.”—Dennis Downey, Millersville University
A Man of Salt and Trees is the first full-length biography of Joy Morton (1855-1934), founder of The Morton Arboretum—an internationally acclaimed outdoor museum of woody plants—and Morton Salt—the brand that for over a century has been a household name in the United States. Joy Morton’s story begins in the pre–Civil War Nebraska Territory and concludes in the midst of the Great Depression in Chicago, the city in which he lived for over a half century. Using the voluminous correspondence of the Morton family, Ballowe tells the story of the Nebraska farm boy who grew up to be a small town banker who became a leading citizen of Chicago and Illinois and a major figure in the nation’s economic and technological development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
James Ballowe, Distinguished Professor of English Emeritus at Bradley University, teaches in the Naturalist Certificate Program at The Morton Arboretum. He has received awards from the Illinois Arts Council for his poetry and creative non-fiction and the Delta Award from the Morris Library at Southern Illinois University for his publications on Southern Illinois. He is the editor of George Santayana's America: Essays in Literature and Culture.
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