The Kinsley Lecture Series Presents: William L. Bird, Jr's: "In the Arms of Saguaros: Iconography of the Giant Cactus"
Time & Location
About the Event
"In the Arms of Saguaros: Iconography of the Giant Cactus," authored by William L. Bird Jr.:
In this carefully and thoroughly researched and curated book, William L. Bird helps us piece together and understand a key element of Southwestern identity, how the saguaro became a global icon. It is a story of discovery, cultural appropriation and erasure—including actions of Tucson’s Desert Botanical Laboratory, marketing, economics, and a sense of wonder—and, ultimately as Larry shows us, one of connection. Each of these elements has positioned the saguaro for its current moment, a relatable symbol of the arid west. Tucked throughout these pages are facets of history, especially of a slew of twentieth-century Tucson characters, that figure prominently into the shaping of the identities of not just Tucson and Phoenix, but in many ways the arid Southwest as a whole. This work fills an important gap and helps link what are at times disparate pieces in the shaping of an arid land identity that has reverberated across the globe. This iconography continues to evolve today, in step with our relationship to the giant cactus and the ways that connection is told.
Tucson resident William Lawrence Bird, Jr. is Curator Emeritus of the Political History Collection at the National Museum of American History – Smithsonian Institution.
He received a B.A. in History from the University of Maryland, M.A. in History from the University of Arizona, and Ph.D. in History from Georgetown University.
He is a former Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellow at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research and a recipient of a Four Freedoms Foundation research grant awarded by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.
He began his museum career as a graduate student at the University of Arizona, working part time at the Arizona Historical Society with a grant-in-aid funded by Emery and Ann-Eve Johnson.
He has written widely for scholarly and popular publications drawing upon museum and archival source material, and he has museum exhibitions at the National Museum of American History with companion books.
His illustrated history of the saguaro cactus and its popular imagery entitled In the Arms of Saguaros: Iconography of the Giant Cactus is published by the Desert Laboratory – University of Arizona.
$10 per lecture. A portion of the proceeds supports our education and preservation programs. This lecture will take place inside our 1885 Old Schoolhouse. Admission to this lecture includes all day entrance into the park and the historic buildings.
There is a $3 per ticket cancellation fee if credit card payment is made prior to the lecture and a refund is needed. Call to RSVP (520) 398-2252 or RSVP via our website. If you have additional questions, call or email us! firstname.lastname@example.org
- William L. Bird, Jr./Saguaro$10$100$0