Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Donald Culross Peattie  

Pen Name: Donald Peattie


Audience: Adult;

Born: June 21, 1898 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: November 16, 1964

-- Donald Culross Peattie on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Peattie was born and raised in Chicago. He also attended the University of Chicago for two years.

Biographical and Professional Information

Donald Culross Peattie, a native of Chicago, was one of the most accomplished nature writers in American letters. Among his many books, of special interest to Illinois are An Almanac for Moderns (1935), a collection of short essays- one for each day of the year- based on Peattie's observations at Kennicott's Grove near Chicago, and A Prairie Grove (1938), an imaginative history of a patch of Illinois prairie.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

An almanac for moderns,
ISBN: B00085O17A

G.P. Putnam's Sons. 1935

Interesting reference of the modern movement in art and culture. Very rare.

A prairie grove

Literary Guild of America, inc. 1958

The road of a naturalist
ISBN: 083982890X

G.K. Hall. 1986

Book by Peattie, Donald Culross

Sportsman's Country
ISBN: B0006AT4F6

Houghton Mifflin. 1952

A book for the hunters, fishers and conservation minded. Each chapter vividly portrays a game hero, its habits and habitat, its skills and speed.

Parade with Banners

World Publishing Co.. 1957

Stories of the American Spirit. The Declaration of Independence Your Bill Of Rights The Stars And Stripes Old Glory Takes To Sea The American Eagle Father Serra's Rosary Washington - Your Capital The White House The Capitol The Library That Thinks Arlington - Where Sleeps The Brave Lee's Greatest Victory

Flowering Earth
ISBN: 0253206626

Indiana University Press. 1991

Even a diehard urbanite would likely be seduced by this extraordinary chronicle of the plant kingdom... " ―Publishers Weekly

... much more than the fascinating story of plant life... It is also a book about the resilience of life itself, the mystery and power of the unseen energy appearing in the visible world in a marvelous variety of forms." ―Audubon Naturalist News

Here is Mr. Peattie at his superb best.... [H]e makes the story of botany and its pursuit as fascinating to the reader as it is to him, and the reading of it a delight." ―Hartford Times

[Peattie] belongs with Gilbert White, Thoreau, John Burroughs, W. H. Hudson, Richard Jeffries, and John Muir." ―Mark van Doren

First published in 1939, this beautifully imaginative book is about botany much in the same sense that Walden is about a pond. Part natural history, part biography, and part philosophical reflection, Flowering Earth is written in a warm, lyrical style that made poet-scientist Donald Culross Peattie one of America's best-known naturalist writers.

A Natural History of North American Trees
ISBN: 0618799044

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2007

Donald Culross Peattie's two books about American trees were first published in the 1950s. In this beautiful new one-volume edition, modern readers are introduced to one of the best nature writers of the last century. More than one hundred of the original illustrations by Paul Landacre highlight the eloquent and entertaining accounts of American trees. As we read Peattie's descriptions, we catch glimpses of our country's history and past daily life that no textbook could ever illuminate so vividly.

Here you'll learn about everything from how a species was discovered to the part it played in our country’s history. Pioneers often stabled an animal in the hollow heart of an old sycamore, and the whole family might live there until they could build a log cabin. The tuliptree, the tallest native hardwood, is easier to work than most softwood trees Daniel Boone carved a sixty-foot canoe from one tree to carry his family from Kentucky into Spanish territory. In the days before the Revolution, the British and the colonists waged an undeclared war over New England's white pines, which made the best tall masts for fighting ships.

It's fascinating to learn about the commercial uses of various woods -- for paper, fine furniture, fence posts, matchsticks, house framing, airplane wings, and dozens of other preplastic uses. But we cannot read this book without the occasional lump in our throats. The American elm was still alive when Peattie wrote, but as we read his account today we can see what caused its demise. Audubon's portrait of a pair of loving passenger pigeons in an American beech is considered by many to be his greatest painting. It certainly touched the poet in Donald Culross Peattie as he depicted the extinction of the passenger pigeon when the beech forest was destroyed.

A Natural History of North American Trees gives us a picture of life in America from its earliest days to the middle of the last century. The information is always interesting, though often heartbreaking. While Peattie looks for the better side of man's nature, he reports sorrowfully on the greed and waste that have doomed so much of America's virgin forest.

A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America
ISBN: 0395581745

Houghton Mifflin. 1991

Gives the economic facts regarding the trees of northeastern North America and identifies a wide variety of species

A Natural History of Western Trees
ISBN: 0395581753

Houghton Mifflin. 1991

A lovely reprint of Peattie's 1950 classic with the fine wood engravings and a new (4 page) introduction by Robert Finch. This editio printed on alkaline paper. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.


  • Name engraved on the frieze of the Illinois State Library alongside other great Illinois literary figures, 1990