US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Born March 23: John Bartram

March 23, 2015 05:55 AM

  • Botanist John Bartram, born March 23, 1699, was honored in 1999 with a 33¢ stamp marking his 300th birthday; his son William is also commemorated.

The 33¢ stamp issued May 7, 1999 (Scott 3314), was in part a commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Bartram, who was born March 23, 1699, in Darby, Pennsylvania.

Bartram was a botanist who collected and identified many native American plants and recorded details of the nation's natural environment; he's often referred to as the "father of American botany."

He also exported plants and seeds, and developed an extensive garden in Philadelphia. Bartram's Garden continues to be managed today by the John Bartram Association.

With Benjamin Franklin, Bartram cofounded the American Philosophical Society in 1743.

King George III appointed Bartram as Royal Botanist for North America in 1765.

Bartram's son William (1739-1823) was also a prominent botanist and a talented artist. He shares the stamp honor with his father, and the hand-colored engraving of a Frankliania tree used to illustrate the stamp is based upon William's artwork.