The Trees That Inspired America’s Literary Greats


From the old maple in Faulkner’s yard to Melville’s chestnut and Muir’s California Laurel, we explore the trees that inspired America’s famous writers.

It all started with Richard Horan on his hands and knees in the backyards of Abe Lincoln and Elvis Presley, William Faulkner and Mark Twain, picking up seeds of trees.

Big old trees that the greats themselves might have gazed up on.

Then it became an obsession.

To collect the seeds of trees of great American writers, great American history. Seeds from the trees of Willa Cather and Eudora Welty. Ken Kesey and Robert Frost. Flannery O’Connor and Jack Kerouac. Oak and magnolia, hackberrry and pecan.

This hour: an obsession, and a forest of literary trees.

- Tom Ashbrook


Richard Horan, author of “Seeds: One Man’s Serendipitous Journey to Find the Trees That Inspired Famous American Writers.”

Brian Sayers, president of New York State Arborists.

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