John Burroughs was the seventh of ten children born to Chauncy and Amy Kelly Burroughs, born on April 3rd, 1837 in Roxbury, New York on the family's dairy farm near the Catskill Mountains. He was an avid observer of nature as a boy, often exploring Old Clump Mountain where he would sit and study the ways of nature around him. This passion for nature carried with him into his adult life. During his studies at Cooperstown Seminary, he developed an enthusiasm for the work of William Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson. In his essay, "Expression", published in the Atlantic Monthly, editor James Russell Lowell thought at first his piece had been plagiarized it so closely resembled Emerson's work.
In 1863, at age 26, he met Walt Whitman while working as a clerk at the Currency Bureau of the Treasury Department. At the time, Whitman was 18 years his senior. Their friendship bloomed and they began to create work together. Burroughs taught Whitman the ways in appreciating and observing nature, in turn, Whitman encouraged his writing and publishing of those writings. Burroughs' second book, Wake-Robin, was titled by Whitman and written after he developed an interest in birds.
To date there are 27 books filled with Burroughs' essays celebrated by millions of readers; His essay, "The Heart of the Southern Catskills" tells of his climb up Slide Mountain, the highest Catskill peak, and his summer home, Woodchuck Lodge has been named a National Historic Landmark. John Burroughs died March 29th, 1921, and was buried at the Burroughs Memorial Field a mile from the farmstead where he was raised.