Liberty Hyde Bailey, Sr.
Sarah Harrison Bailey
Letter from L.H.B., Sr.
The Bailey Homestead
L.H.B. as a Boy
L. H. B., “Birds”
L.H.B. and Friends
L.H.B. as a Young Man
Ethel Zoe Bailey and L.H.B.
NY State College of Agriculture
Education of Women
Commission on Country Life
Liberty Hyde Bailey, Sr. moved to southern Michigan in 1842, and married Sarah Harrison in 1845. Liberty Hyde, Jr., was their third son, born in 1858. The pioneer family worked hard clearing woods, building a farm and planting an orchard, and produced much of their own food and clothing. They earned income primarily from butter, eggs, maple sugar, and wood, and Bailey Sr. worked off the farm to earn additional money for farm improvements. In 1854, they moved to South Haven at the mouth of the Black River, settling on a plot of land with good fruit growing potential. Sarah never recovered from the death of her eldest son in 1861; she died of scarlet fever in 1862. Bailey Sr. then married a young farm woman, Maria Bridges.
The Baileys were skillful and innovative farmers, and their farm became known for its prize-winning apple orchards. Father and son belonged to the newly organized South Haven Pomological Society. One of their orchards won a “first premium” as a model orchard, perfect in “culture, pruning, and fruitfulness.” Eventually the orchards included over 300 cultivars. Young Liberty became an expert on grafting; his skills were in great demand among his neighbors.
Liberty Hyde Bailey was educated in the local school, where his teacher, Julia Fields, taught him grammar, geometry, and Latin, and encouraged his interest in nature. He was also influenced by the books his father bought, including the Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress, Milton’s poems, and especially, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and Asa Gray’s Field, Forest, and Garden Botany.
|This exhibition is made possible through a generous gift in memory of Lelah A. Cole.
© 2004 Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections.
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