Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. was born in South Haven in 1858. After graduating from the Michigan Agricultural College, now Michigan State University, Bailey became the assistant of Asa Gray, the famous botanist. He later moved to Ithaca with his wife and two daughters, where he founded the College of Agriculture and was elected an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. President Theodore Roosevelt later appointed Bailey chairman of the National Commission on Country Life.
According to Wikipedia, Bailey “represented an agrarianism that stood in the tradition of Thomas Jefferson, he had a vision of suffusing all higher education, including horticulture, with a spirit of public work and integrating ‘expert knowledge’ into a broader context of democratic community action.”
“Most people don’t know, but should know, the name Liberty Hyde Bailey,” said museum director Mr. John Stempien. “He was an environmentalist, author, teacher, poet and photographer. This exhibit gives us a window into the true American whose vision is timeless.”
The LHBM exhibit will feature more than twenty works by the cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science, including studies on plant life, family portraits, the Bailey estate and much more, all from the museum’s assortment of 100 glass-plate negatives. The exhibition will also feature archival materials such as documents, artifacts and books from the family’s library.
The museum is part of the Blue Star Museums project, allowing active-duty military and their families free admission to the exhibits.