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john burroughs reading

John Burroughs (1837-1921) was an essayist born in Roxbury, New York. Burroughs was a naturalist who aligned closely with the lifestyle and writing of Henry David Thoreau. His joy was studying and celebrating nature. In addition to writing, Burroughs’ career pathway led him on a journey that included teaching, farming, working at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C., and nearly 50 years of writing about nature. Although he maintained his love for nature, Burroughs’ later writing became more philosophical in direction.

His love of all things nature predisposed him to the joy of exploring the country and abroad, and he spent time camping with friends with similar interests in nature such as John Muir and Walt Whitman. Burroughs supported a healthy relationship between people and the land. His personality led him to form friendships with powerful figures, including Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, and Henry Firestone. Burroughs’ sense of adventure and passion for exploring even propelled him to participate in an Alaskan expedition.

Key Contributions

In addition to his writing and celebration of nature, Burroughs continues to be honored by organizations and foundations that promote education, support nature conservancy efforts, and encourage writing about natural science.
Tulsa’s connection to conservation efforts, reverence for nature, and alignment with educational opportunities that promote expression through writing is consistent with the work of John Burroughs.

Writers, educators, and nature advocates continue to enjoy the many contributions of John Burroughs and support efforts in alignment with his beliefs. Some literary critics, however, challenged his fidelity to nature in his writing and some individuals alleged the affair during his marriage and (subsequent birth of son from this relationship) reflected poorly on his character.

Relevant Historical Context

The school was named in 1927. Aligning with Burroughs was consistent with the promotion of awareness that there should be healthy relationships between people and the land.


American Museum of Natural History. (n.d.). John Burroughs.

John Burroughs. (2014, February 09). John Burroughs. 

John Burroughs Natural History Society (n.d.). Retrieved from

John Burroughs. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Walker, C. Z. (2000). Sharp eyes: John Burroughs and American nature writing. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ. Press.

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Burroughs Elementary School
1924 N Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd
Tulsa, OK 74106