Uprooted: How Redwood Landscapes Were Supplanted by Images
America’s fascination with California’s redwood trees–the Sequoiadendron and Seqouia sempervirens–began in the mid-nineteenth century as pieces of the giant trees began circulating around cities of the east coast. These bark exhibits, as they were called, were strips of bark reconstituted in the shape of hollow trunks to simulate full-grown redwood trees. They were displayed at agricultural fairs and in “believe-it-or-not” entertainment venues alongside other curiosities providing visitors with a highly mediated vision of a largely unfamiliar western landscape.
Uprooted: How Redwood Landscapes Were Supplanted by Images examines the representation of American redwood trees from 1850 to the present, tracing its history from the construction of the early bark exhibits, through the growth of the logging industry, and the establishment of the national parks and conservation movements. This study reveals how images of redwoods were used to both exalt and exploit this national resource, and how closely linked these images were to shifts in the construction of American national identity both before and after World War II.