Nature, God & Social Reform in the Old South:
The Life & Work of the
Rev. John Bachman

20-23 April 2006

An International Symposium
in Honor of the


Keynote Speakers
Call for Papers
Who's Coming?
On-line Art Exhibit
For Kids
For Teachers

Contact Info

Newberry College

Personal Background
Religion & Ministry
Natural History
Audubon Connection
Politics/Social Reform
Education & Academia
Newberry Connections

Bachman Timeline

Bachman Resources

Web Site Hosted As An In-Kind Gift By
Charlotte NC


The Rev. John Bachman (1790-1874) was a noted Lutheran clergyman who, in the southern stronghold of Charleston, South Carolina, dared to teach and minister to African-Americans when it was against social norms AND a violation of the law. Bachman served St. John's Lutheran Church as a beloved and visionary Lutheran pastor for an incredible 56 years, during which he wrote learned books and articles on wide-ranging topics from Martin Luther and the Reformation to animal taxonomy and human speciation. Bachman, JohnAs a theologian and a scholar, Bachman helped found Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and the South Carolina Lutheran Synod, and he served as the inaugural board chairman of Newberry College beginning in 1856.

Perhaps Bachman's most unexpected contribution came as an expert Low Country naturalist who befriended John James Audubon and had profound influence on this gifted painter of birds and wildlife. Together, the two men and their families created a magnificent three-volume set on The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, a scientific and artistic work that introduced strange and wonderful frontier mammals such as the American Bison (below left) to an appreciative public here and abroad.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Newberry College, the College's Alumni Association has planned a John Bachman Symposium to be held at Newberry, South Carolina, in April 2006. This international event will honor the College during its sesquicentennial and celebrate Bachman's life and work through scholarly presentations and publications about his diverse religious, political, social, academic, and natural history activities. International authorities on all facets of Bachman's life will be invited to present papers, and the public and college and high school students will be encouraged to attend, participate, and learn. In particular, keynote speakers and panelists will dissect Bachman's scientific and religious views in context of the mid-1800's and discuss what impact this visionary man of God and science had in the Old South and elsewhere.

The Symposium will incorporate many other entertaining and informative events, including field trips to sites explored by Audubon and Bachman, a visit to the Charleston church in which Bachman is buried, museum-based exhibits of 19th century nature prints and Bachman artifacts, musical performances, an original play about Bachman's life, and a Bachman-era worship service that closes out the weekend. Year-long curriculum activities for K-12 students in life science, art, history, and other Bachman-related disciplines are being developed in conjunction with the Symposium.

The Newberry College Alumni Association is seeking underwriters for the John Bachman Symposium and welcomes inquiries about ways you, your business, or foundation can help support this exciting international event. If you're interested in contributing, please send an E-mail. The Symposium was conceived by 2004-2006 alumni president Bill Hilton Jr. and is endorsed by the Newberry College faculty, administration, and board of trustees as an official function of the College's Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Please revisit this Web site at often for updated information about "Nature, God & Social Reform in the Old South: The Life & Work of the Rev. John Bachman."

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