Gilbert Onderdonk: The Nurseryman of Mission Valley, Pioneer Horticulturist

google preview

You are about to leave the UNT Press website.
Please select from one of the following:

Paperback Price: $14.95

You are about to leave the UNT Press website. Please select from one of the following:

Buy this book from Texas A&M University Press Consortium .
(Distributor for UNT Press books)

Buy this book from Amazon
Buy this book from Barnes & Noble
Buy this book from IndieBound

Paperback ISBN-13: 9780929398235
Paperback ISBN-10: 929398238
Physical Description: 6x9. 200 pp. 16 b&w illus. Bib. Index
Publication Date: September 1991
  • San Antonio Conservation Society Award, 1991

Gilbert Onderdonk traveled to Texas in 1851 as a twenty-two-year-old invalid in search of health. By the time of his death in 1920 at the robust age of ninety-one, he had been a pioneer botanist and horticulturist, a rancher, a Confederate soldier, a traveler throughout Mexico for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a prolific letter writer and essayist, a travel writer for newspapers, and a man of family, property, international recognition, and fame among horticultural experts in Europe for his work in South Texas.

It was Gilbert Onderdonk who began and developed production of fruit in Texas and contributed much to the knowledge and later work of Luther Burbank in California. Onderdonk literally planted the foundation of the vast production of Texas fruit today.

From Onderdonk’s letters and travelogues, Oppenheimer weaves a biography that tells of roping wild mustangs, of growing and shipping fruits and seedlings to growers as far distant as France, and of writing the first popular travel reports on Mexico.

The earliest catalogs from the nursery business that Onderdonk had begun in 1870 are most striking for his sparkling writing and drawings, as well as his astute forecasts of agriculture in the state. His 1888 catalogue is reproduced in the book.

" . . . a useful collection of primary materials about this important horticulturalist. It should gain the interest of scholars and general readers."Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"A thoroughly engaging and insightful biography of . . . a pioneer botanist and horticulturalist whose travels spanned from New York to Mexico . . . For horticulturalists and pomologists as well as . . . history buffs."Review of Texas Books

"Whether telling tales of roping wild mustangs, posting travel reports on Mexico, forecasting the future of Texas agriculture, or detailing the many varieties of fruits and flowers in his 1888 . . . catalog, Onderdonk’s narrative is great reading."Lone Star Library

"This neat book traces the life and career of a sickly, New York invalid who moved to Texas and became the ‘Father of Texas Pomology’ . . . Confederate P.O.W., premier essayist, newspaper reporter, U. S. Department of Agriculture plant explorer, and internationally recognized horticulturist . . . I highly recommend this work."Journal of Small Fruit & Viticulture

About Author:

Born in Dallas, where she graduated from Forest Avenue High School, EVELYN OPPENHEIMER attended the University of Chicago. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa she returned to Dallas. A literary agent for thirty-five years, she also taught book reviewing at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech University, SMU, University of Dallas, UCLA, University of Wisconsin extension. UNT Press has endowed a series in her name.