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Creating the World Orchard

Dr. David S. Shields, Carolina Distinguished Professor and the McClintock Professor of Southern Letters, University of South Carolina, presents "Creating the World Orchard"

From 1760 to 1840, planters, horticulturists, and pomologists in the SC Lowcountry collected the most exotic fruits and nuts of the world believing that the soil and climate would nourish things. While the experiment gave rise to expensive and ludicrous failures, it did succeed in “cosmopolitanizing” the yards and groves of Carolina, introducing the loquat, grapefruit, pears, and plums. Dr. Shields’s presentation will highlight the moment when the SC Lowcountry believed in the fantasy that it could reproduce all the great fruits and nuts grown throughout the world.

David S. Shields' scholarship explores three fields: early American literary culture, American performing arts photography, and food studies. He edited the journal Early American Literature for a decade, collaborated in writing A History of the Book in America and the Cambridge History of American Literature, and compiled the anthology of colonial verse, American Poetry: the Seventeenth and Eighteen Centuries for the Library of America. His monographs, Oracles of Empire and Civil Tongues and Polite Letters in British America, are central works in early American Studies. Shields owns one of the premier collections of stage and cinema still photographs in private hands. His website, Broadway Photographs, is the standard reference for the visual culture of the American stage from the Civil War through the 20th Century. His book Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography (University of Chicago Press) won the American Popular Culture Association’s Ray Browne Award for the best single work on American Popular Culture in 2013.

Shields is currently the Chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, the non-profit group whose mission is to preserve and restore the agriculture and cultivars of the American South. He and collaborators Glenn Roberts, Brian Ward, and Sean Brock have brought back into cultivation and culinary use: Carolina Gold Rice, Sea Island White Flint Corn, the Carolina African Peanut, the Sea Island red pea, benne, the rice pea, enyama sorghum, and the Bradford Watermelon. On April 1, 2015, the University of Chicago Press published his culinary history, Southern Provisions: On the Creation and Revival of Cuisine. Next year, it will publish his collection of 200 biographies, Culinarians: American Chefs, Caterers, and Restaurateurs 1793–1919.

Lecture sponsored by Chipstone.

Doors open at 5:30 pm with a Wine and Cheese Reception. Presentations start promptly at 6:30 pm. FREE ADMISSION.

Event Sponsor: The Francis Marion Hotel.

For more information, contact Tara White Odom, Development Events Coordinator, 843-769-2627 or




South Carolina Society Hall
72 Meeting Street Charleston SC 29401





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