Nineteenth century naturalist’s ‘Letters from Alabama’ subject of July 22 OLLI at Auburn presentation

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University professors emeriti Gary Mullen and Taylor Littleton will present a program on naturalist Philip Henry Gosse’s book, “Letters from Alabama,” Monday, July 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Clarion Inn and Suites in Auburn. The program is part of a lunch-and-learn summer series hosted by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University.

Philip Henry Gosse (1810–1888) was an English naturalist and illustrator who spent eight months in 1838 on the Alabama frontier, teaching planters’ children in Dallas County and studying the native flora and fauna. In addition to “Letters from Alabama,” he also produced 49 watercolor plates of various plant and animal species, mainly insects, titled “Entomologia Alabamensis.”

According to the Georgia Historical Quarterly, “This volume of letters written by naturalist Gosse during his stay in Alabama in 1838 describes not only natural history phenomena, but also antebellum culture and society as observed from his viewpoint as a guest of the Black Belt elite.”

Mullen is a professor emeritus of entomology at Auburn University and coeditor, with Lance Durden, of “Medical and Veterinary Entomology,” now in its second edition. Littleton is the Moseley Professor of Science and Humanities Emeritus at Auburn University, and coauthor, with Maltby Sykes, of “Advancing American Art: Painting, Politics, and Cultural Confrontation at Mid-Century.”

The event is free for OLLI members and guests. Attendees can bring their own lunch and drink.

For more information about the OLLI at Auburn Brown Bag Lunch and Learn Summer Programs, contact Linda Shook at (334) 844-3105 or, or go to the OLLI at Auburn website at

(Contributed by Linda Shook.)

Contact: Linda Shook, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Auburn University, (334) 844-3105 (, or Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (