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 Folklore and the creation of Indian...
 Dealing with the law and defending...
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Title: Alpata : a journal of history
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Title: Alpata : a journal of history
Series Title: Alpata : a journal of history
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: History Department, University of Florida
Publisher: History Department, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2005
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Bibliographic ID: UF00090930
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Florida hurricanes of the 20th century
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
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        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Moment or process
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
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        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    From 'forbidden-fruit' to 'ruby red'
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
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        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
    Folklore and the creation of Indian womanhood
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
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        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
    Dealing with the law and defending honor
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
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        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
    Book reviews
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
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Full Text






A J o


University of Florida
Volume II, Spring 2005


MANAGING EDITORS





EDITORS










FACULTY ADVISOR
SPONSOR


TYPOGRAPHY AND
PAGE DESIGN


Jace Stuckey
Graduate Student
Brandon Stelck
Undergraduate Student

Chris Sahl
Ben Houston
Craig Dosher
Lela Felter Kerley
Ayne Terceria
Rob Lever
Kate Herbenick
Jessica Smith
Daniel Vasquez

Dr. Jack E. Davis
University of Florida
Department of History
Dr. Brian Ward, Chair
Charles Flowers


GAMMA ETA CHAPTER










Table of Contents


Special Section Florida Hurricanes of the
Twentieth Century


Hurricanes: A Phenomenon
Jace Stuckey


Florida Hurricanes


Florida Hurricanes


Florida Hurricanes


Hurricane Andrew


A Look at the 2004
Season


of the 1920s
Brandon Stelck

of the 1930s
Chris Sahl

of the 1960s
Daniel Vasquez


Kate Herbenick


Hurricane


Jessica Smith

Bibliography

Articles

Moment or Process
Development in Augustine's
Understanding of Conversion
Christopher Ryan Fields


24




29







Articles (cont.)


From "Forbidden-Fruit" and "Ruby 59
Red"
The Invention of Grapefruit, 1750-1933
Rob Lever

Folklore and the Creation of Indian 89
Womanhood
Nancy Tran

Dueling with the Law and Defending 111
Honor
Benjamin Rush's and Aaron Burr's
"Interview" with Civil Libel
Gary Wickerd

Book Reviews

Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo 135

Thomas W. Hanchett, Sorting Out the New 138
South City: Race, Class, and Urban
Development in Charlotte, 1875-1975

Carol Hillenbrand, The Crusades: Islamic 141
Perspectives

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird 145
Sings






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century


Hurricanes: A Phenomenon

Jace Stuckey


Although the 2004 hurricane season in Florida has
been labeled by many as a "historic year" for devastating
storms, intense weather is no new phenomenon for the
region. Hurricanes have long been a concern for the region.
The term itself is thought to be a derivative of the Spanish
word hurac6n with other Caribbean derivatives huracan,
and furacan being common as well. Geologists have
determined that hurricanes and major storm surges have
been occurring in the Florida region for several thousand
years. In addition, native cultures had significant
experience with hurricanes long before the first Europeans
arrived in the late fifteenth century. In fact, to this day,
according to hurricane historian Jay Barnes, "some
descendants of African slaves in the West Indies still tie
knots in the leaves of certain trees and hang them in their
homes to ward off hurricanes."1
Although Columbus's first voyage to the New World
was hurricane free, he did encounter a major gale near
Hispaniolain July of 1494. He would later write that
"nothing but the service of God and the extension of the
monarchy should induce him to expose himself to such
dangers."2 Unfortunately for future explorers, this would be
a sign of things to come. Ponce de Le6n was hit by two
different hurricanes in the same week. Hernando Cortes
lost 70 crewmen when the first ship he sent to Mexico was
destroyed a hurricane.3


1 Jay Barnes. Florida's Hurricane History. (University of North Carolina Press,
Chapel Hill & London, 1998). p. 42.
2 Barnes. Florida's Hurricane History, 40.
3 Barnes, Florida Hurricane History, 41.


Volume II, Spring 2005 5






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with
the increased travel between Europe and the Americas the
ability to forecast and avoid hurricanes did not improve.
Religious festivals and banquets often delayed the
departure of trading and cargo ships until the late summer
and early fall (August & September), which happened to
coincide with the height of hurricane season. The inability
to predict and steer clear of major hurricanes has left the
Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coastline littered with
shipwrecks. The discovery of such famous shipwrecks as
the Capitana and the Atocha, as well as numerous others,
excavations yielding priceless artifacts of gold and silver
have inspired treasure hunters from all across the country
and earned a portion of the Florida coastline the name 'the
treasure coast.'4
Hurricanes not only hindered ocean travel, but also
the development of Spanish, French, and English
settlements along the Florida coastline. For example,
throughout the eighteenth century the Pensacola settlement
suffered considerable damage from successive hurricanes.
In 1711, storms devastated the coast from New Orleans to
Pensacola. In 1736, hurricanes destroyed Pensacola and
drowned nearly all of the inhabitants. In 1766, a storm
sank six ships in Pensacola Bay, and in 1772, thirty miles
of beach and all but one wharf in Pensacola was ravaged by
a storm surge. Finally, in 1778, most of the waterfront and
all but one ship in the harbor were destroyed by a major
hurricane.
Numerous other colonies and settlements in Florida
and the Caribbean suffered greatly as well. However, the
deadliest year for hurricanes in recorded history came
during the American Revolution. In 1780, at least eight
major hurricanes (five in October alone) blew across the
Caribbean and Florida. The second storm to strike in


Alpata: A Journal of History


4 Barnes, Florida Hurricanes, 46.






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

October lasted for more than a week and claimed more than
22,000 lives. No storm of this magnitude has ever been
seen since.
Even with significant technological advances,
however, the modern era can claim only limited success in
protecting coastal settlements from storms. The experience
of storms in more recent times can attest to this. The
hurricane season of 2004 was historic for a number of
reasons, but primarily serves as a stark reminder of some
of the more prevalent storms of the last century and to
what extent humans are still at the mercy of nature.



Florida Hurricanes of the 1920s

Brandon Stelck


The first quarter of the twentieth century saw the
state of Florida develop and mature from a sparsely
populated agricultural state to a burgeoning world-class
tourist attraction. Good weather, low taxes, and railroads
were all reasons why runaway land sales occurred and
ultimately allowed south Florida to grow at an
unprecedented rate. However, by 1926 the real-estate
economy had begun to collapse, and to make matters
worse, the arrival of the "Great Miami Hurricane" in
September of 1926 and the San Felipe -Okeechobee
hurricane of 1928 stymied any further significant growth in
south Florida until World War II.1
At the stroke of midnight on September 18, 1926,
alarms sounded as a category 4 hurricane struck the heart

1 Michael Gannon, Florida A Short History (Gainesville: University
Press of Florida, 2003), 82-85.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

of Miami. Mostly unaware and definitely unprepared, the
population of Miami suffered approximately 380 deaths and
6,000 injuries; and over 18,000 were left homeless. Most of
the casualties occurred near Moore Haven, where one of the
Lake Okeechobee dikes burst, flooding the town and
destroying everything in its path. The winds of the
hurricane were estimated at upward of 150 miles per hour.
These winds were the highest sustained winds ever
recorded in the United States at the time.2
The "Great Miami Hurricane" was not done. It
passed over the peninsula and into the warm waters of the
Gulf of Mexico, where it regained strength and sat off the
coast of Pensacola two days later, on September 20. The
hurricane produced tropical storm conditions for the Gulf
Coast for 24 hours before it finally moved on and struck
Louisiana on the September 21.3 In Pensacola Bay, every
boat, dock, and pier was destroyed.4 The damage in the
Miami area was absolutely devastating. Adjusted for
inflation, the "Great Miami Hurricane" was the most
expensive hurricane in history, causing $98 billion in
damage.5
Two years later, on September 16, 1928, another
category 4 hurricane struck south Florida at West Palm

2 "Hurricane Preparedness, Hurricane History," 2005.
FloridaDisaster.Org.
http: / /www.floridadisaster.org/hurricane aware /english /history
_printer.shtml#miami26
3 Hurricane Preparedness, Hurricane History," 2005.
FloridaDisaster.Org.
http: / /www.floridadisaster.org/hurricane aware /english /history
_printer.shtml#miami26
4 Hurricane Preparedness, Hurricane History," 2005.
FloridaDisaster.Org.
http:/ /www.floridadisaster.org/hurricane_aware / english /history
_printer.shtml#miami26
5 LeeAnn O'Leary, "Most Destructive Hurricanes" 2005.
http: / /www.bellaonline.corn /articles/art 18169. asp


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

Peach. Known as the San Felipe-Okeechobee hurricane,
the storm dumped tons of water on Lake Okeechobee,
causing the water levels to rise six to nine feet.6 A small
levee that had been built on the lake to store extra water for
agricultural purposes was overflowed, and over 200 people
drowned trying to escape waters that reached in excess of
twenty-five feet.7 After all was said in done, over 1,850
people perished in the disaster, most of which were black
migrant farm workers who drowned around the area of
Lake Okeechobee. The monetary damage in south Florida
was estimated at $25 million.
The "Great Miami Hurricane" of 1926 and the San
Felipe-Okeechobee hurricane of 1928 served to end the
population boom in south Florida. While the economy was
weakening before the arrival of the hurricanes, the storms
showed people they could not build recklessly without first
planning ahead for natural disasters. It seems people had
forgotten the destructive forces nature could bring upon
them, as the last hurricane to hit Florida before the "Great
Miami Hurricane" occurred in 1910.8 These hurricanes did
serve some good, however, as the public demanded that the
federal government develop better warning systems and
improve meteorological forecasting in order to thwart the
devastation of hurricanes.





6 Hurricane Preparedness, Hurricane History," 2005.
FloridaDisaster.Org.
http:/ /www.floridadisaster.org/hurricane_aware /english /history
_printer.shtml#miami28
7 "Storms of the Century: 1928 Palm Beach/Lake Okeechobee
Hurricane," 2005. Weather.com.
http: //www.weather.com/newscenter/specialreports/sotc/honor
able/1928.html
8 Gannon, Florida, 82-85.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century


Florida Hurricanes of the 1930s

Chris Sahl


The hurricane that slammed the Florida Keys over
Labor Day weekend in 1935 is the strongest storm to hit
America in the twentieth century, one of two category 5
storms ever recorded by the U.S. National Weather Service.1
The hurricane dealt the harshest blow to veterans at work
on a bridge and tunnel project in the town of Matacumbe,
in the Florida Keys. A railway train intended to remove the
veterans was swept into the Atlantic Ocean. Residents
across the Keys boarded up in anticipation of a storm of
unprecedented ferocity. "Key West is boarded up so tight
you can't recognize it," roared M. E. Gilford, director of the
area's emergency relief administration. Similar protective
measures extended over one hundred miles up the
peninsula's mainland.2
Relief efforts brought the first indication of horrific
devastation. The Red Cross rushed into the shredded
veterans' camp, where Coast Guard officials estimated
death tolls ranging from 200 to 400.3 Many of the victims
were drowned, swept into the Gulf of Mexico, or sucked
back into the Atlantic with receding fifteen-foot waves
Some people were literally sandblasted to death.4 On hand

1 http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wh1935.htm (last visited
on March 16, 2005).
2 "Both Coasts Threatened," New York Times, 3 September 1935,
p. 1.
3 "Veterans Lead Fatalities," New York Times, 4 September 1935,
p. 1. The latter number would prove most accurate.
4http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache:_GPXhDc8TFIJ:www.pi
nellashealth.com /CommunityNewsletter/
SAFENews/JulyAugust2003 .pdf+%o22Who+Killed+the+Vetso22+
AND+%o22new+masseso22&hl=en (last visited March 16, 2005).


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

at the veterans' camp was Dr. Lassiter Alexander, whose
first-hand account best summarized the storm's wrath.
"When we found the water still rising," Alexander reflected,
"we made our way to the railroad track. ... [A]t daybreak
Tuesday we found a tank full of water. ... [T]here we
remained until later in the afternoon."5 Unfortunate
traveler Charles van Vechten spent his vacation visiting a
friend at the veterans' camp. "You can't imagine how
sudden-and how awful-it was," van Vechten said. 'There
was a big wall of water. ... it swept over those shacks and
messed them up like they were match boxes."6 For a storm
with such massive casualty figures, the death toll was
remarkably centralized. The failure to evacuate the
veterans brought instant political attention. "They had
plenty of notice," remarked Congressman J. Hardin
Peterson, "and I want to fix the responsibility."
Concern about disease dominated relief efforts.
Governor Dave Scholtz ordered the cremation of all bodies
"in order to avoid pestilence and the danger of disease,"7
while suggesting that blame lay with Weather Bureau.8
Lieutenant J. E. Fairbanks advised further protection. "I
recommend that the entire keys from Snake Creek to and
including lower Matacumbe be burned."9 While state
officials debated viral spread and whom to blame, the Dixie,
an oil-burning ocean liner carrying several hundred -



5 "Survivors Tell How Hurricanes Leveled Veterans' Camps," New
York Times, 5 September 1935, p. 3.
6 "Survivors Tell How Hurricanes Leveled Veterans' Camps," New
York Times, 5 September 1935, p. 3.
7 "3 Inquiries Start In Florida Deaths," New York Times, 7
September 1935, p. 3.
8 Herbert B. Nichols, "Weather Bureau Defends Warning,"
Christian Science Monitor, 6 September 1935, p. 1.
9 "3 Inquiries Start In Florida Deaths," New York Times, 7
September 1935, p. 3.


Volume II, Spring 2005







Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

passengers, remained grounded on a shoal off the Florida
coast.10
On September 7, the cremations began. At that
point, official death tolls eclipsed at three hundred. One
pyre burned the bodies of thirty-six men at Snake Creek,
while Gov. Scholtz assured reporters that "I'm not looking
for any goat."11 All told, the storm killed 461 people,
including 259 veterans.12 In Washington, veterans
marched in demand of pensions for the relatives of those
killed by the hurricane.13





















10 "Rescuers Delayed By Gale And Error," New York Times, 4
September 1935, p. 1.
11 "Cremations Begun In Key Gale Area," New York Times, 8
September 1935, p. 37.
12 http://floridakeystreasures.com/Weather/h.shtml (last visited
March 16, 2005).

13 "Deaths Put At 300 In Veteran Camps," New York Times, 7
September 1935, p. 3.


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20th Century

Florida Hurricanes of the 1960s

Daniel Vazquez


"A terrifying, angry shriek announces Camille's
arrival. The deafening scream seems to come from
everywhere. My heart races wildly as the building takes its
first strike . Loud crashing continues as the large metal
objects become airborne and smash into who-knows-what.
No one has to be told to get under the mattresses."

The memoir of commissioned naval officer, Gregory
Durrschmidt, vividly recount the rainy, windswept night of
August 17, 1969. Durrschmidt was on vacation in Biloxi,
Mississippi, as Hurricane Camille engulfed the port city.
Camille, with winds gusting over 200 miles per hour, was
the second strongest hurricane to strike the United States
mainland. It was the last hurricane in a decade of storms
known for their irregular strength and haphazard tracks. 1
The 1950s was a relatively sleepy period for
hurricane activity. Then, on September 10, 1960, a
powerful hurricane named Donna struck the Florida Keys
and awakened its citizens from their long respite. While the
"Labor Day" hurricane was much stronger than Donna, far
fewer people lived in the Florida Keys in 1935 than in 1960.
Thus, Hurricane Donna's impact was deeper and more
widespread than the "super-hurricane" of 1935. Donna
ended the opportunity for many citizens of the Florida Keys



1 Gregory Durrschmidt, "Hurricane: Paradise Lost (a Narrative
about Hurricane Camille)," Weatherwise 52 (July-August
1999):32; "A look back at Hurricane Camille," USA Today, 7
November 2000.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

to purchase insurance as companies refused to provide
underwriting facilities in an area they felt was too risky.2
Hurricane Donna cut across Florida and re-entered
the Atlantic Ocean south of St. Augustine. Donna
remained a powerful storm despite crossing land.
Hurricane Donna's strength could easily be seen as military
radar tracked a flock of seagulls that became trapped in the
eye of the storm. The seagulls were forced to fly north with
the storm for several hundred miles to Cape Fear, North
Carolina. There, eye-wall winds dissipated enough to allow
the seagulls to escape.3
August 1964 brought Hurricane Cleo, the next major
storm of the decade. Cleo demonstrated again the
increasing problem of south Florida's expansion amidst a
common pathway for hurricanes. However, Cleo is better
known for her unusual track and heavy rainfall. It did
what no other hurricane in recorded history has ever done,
in that it traveled up the entire east coast of Florida from
Key Biscayne to Fernandina Beach.4 Following Hurricane
Cleo was Dora, a storm with an equally strange track.
Hurricane Dora slammed into Florida's east coast at St.
Augustine and established a direct westbound path. For
two days, Dora crept closer to Tallahassee. After passing
Florida's capital city, it made an almost perfect 180-degree
turn and began traveling directly east toward Savannah,
Georgia.5 The final erratic hurricane of the decade was
Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Betsy zigzagged toward Cape
Canaveral, stalled for two days in open water, looped back
down toward the Bahamas, stalled again, and finally settled


2 Broward Williams, Florida Hurricane Survey Report, 1965,
(Tallahassee: Cabinet of the State of Florida, 1965), 30.
3 Jay Barnes, "Creatures in the Storm: Effect of Hurricanes on
Animals," Weatherwise v51 (September-October 1998) : 27.
4 Williams, Florida Hurricane Survey Report, 1965, 26-27.
5 Williams, Florida Hurricane Survey Report, 1965, 29.


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

on a direct westbound track, striking Plantation Key.6
Betsy was also unique in that after buffeting south Florida,
it crossed the Gulf of Mexico and caused significant damage
again, this time near New Orleans, Louisiana.7
Finally, 1969 brought Hurricane Camille, a storm so
severe that it brought national attention to woefully
regressive disaster relief policies that often discriminated on
the basis of race and class. A 1969 civil rights report by the
American Friends Service Committee revealed flawed
private and government disaster relief efforts. Recent
memories of soldiers and Red Cross volunteers dispensing
supplies and medicine to countless south Floridians
following Hurricane Andrew in 1992 lie in stark contrast to
August 1969, when the federal government almost
completely neglected the immediate needs of storm victims.
Federal agencies devoted primary attention to the
restoration of public facilities over the immediate needs of
private citizens. Storm victims were expected to travel great
distances to sources of aid, exploitation and fraud were
rampant, and Mississippi's all-white Governor's Emergency
Council allotted only a small percentage of federal
reconstruction loans to African Americans. Federal and
state governments were not alone in setting policies that
today seem irrational and unjust. The official aid
disbursement policy of the American National Red Cross
was based upon a "graduated scale of income; if you had
more, you got more; if you had less, you got less."8 The
aftermath of Hurricane Camille ushered in sweeping


6 John M. Williams, Fred Doehring, and Iver W. Duedall, "Heavy
weather in Florida: 180 Hurricanes and Tropical Storms in 122
Years," Oceanus 36 (Spring 1993) : 19.
7 Williams, Florida Hurricane Survey Report, 1965, 21, 23.
8 The American Friends Service Committee, Southern Regional
Council, In the Wake of Hurricane Camille: An Analysis of the
Federal Response, (24 November 1969), 28 30.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

changes that worked relatively well until Hurricane Andrew
exposed more critical failures in 1992.



Hurricane Andrew

Kate Herbenick


Destructive by force and catastrophic by nature,
hurricanes are the costliest atmospheric storms to prey on
coastal communities. Hurricane Andrew, the most
expensive natural disaster in United State's history,
crippled the coasts of the northern Bahamas, south Florida,
and south-central Louisiana before ultimately ending its
deadly journey over the mid-western United States. The low
death toll can be attributed mainly to the success of
coordinated programs of hurricane preparedness and
modern evacuation measures that allowed residents of the
densely packed coasts to escape nAdrew's direct path of
fury. Similarly, the economic devastation left in the wake of
the treacherous cyclone is a testament to the awe-inspiring
consequences of the continued residential and commercial
development of the world's vulnerable shorelines.
The first Atlantic hurricane to develop from a tropical
wave in almost two years, Andrew fortified to its peak
intensity, the lower margin of a category 5, during the last
few hours preceding landfall off the Straits of Florida. A
category 4 upon crossing over Eleuthra Island in the
Bahamas on the 23 August 1992, Hurricane Andrew
abruptly intensified before striking the south-eastern coast
of Florida at dawn the following day. The eye of the storm
targeted Homestead, Florida: a modest agricultural
community boasting thirty thousand residents and located
thirty miles south of the heavily populated metropolis of


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

Miami. Striking only a few nautical miles to the north,
Andrew's torrential floods and unassailable winds, that
reached upwards of 180 mph, would have destroyed Dade
County's commercial and residential sector in catastrophic
proportion.
Within four hours Andrew's eye had traversed the
Florida peninsula, leaving an estimated $28 billion worth of
structural damage in its path. As the most economically
destructive United States hurricane on record, Andrew
revealed inadequacies in existing structural regulations and
addressed the need for more stringent building codes to
provide protection of the weather envelope. In addition to
the residential and commercial tracts that suffered from
Andrew's crushing winds, the storm's parameter
encompassed numerous environmental preserves including
Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve,
and Biscayne National Park. Inflicting a devastating blow to
the geographical region, the hurricane damaged thirty-three
percent of Biscayne Park's coral reefs and over ninety
percent of south Florida's native pine lands, mangroves,
and hardwoods. Without delay, Andrew continued on a
north-west course upon entering the Gulf of Mexico,
striking a sparsely populated coastline of south-central
Louisiana as a category 3on the morning of the 26 August.
Although it left the densely populated and historic region of
New Orleans unscathed, the storm inflicted over $1 billion
worth of property damage and hastened the already severe
coastal erosion suffered by the state.
The complex nature and social vulnerability of
hurricanes leaves an enduring legacy to the inhabitants
that fall victim to the catastrophic tropical storms. With
modern-day levels of unprecedented shoreline development,
the toll of destruction will likely increase regardless of
evolving climatic patterns and shifts. Hurricane Andrew is a
reminder of the tremendous impact awe-inspiring tropical
storms have on the historical and societal development of


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

coastline communities when exposed to such severe
weather.

Elsner, James, Hurricanes of the North Atlantic: Climate and
Society (Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press, 1999), 178.
Cook, Ronald, Hurricanes of 1992: Lessons Learned and
Implications for the Future (New York: The American Society of
Civil Engineers, 1994), 70-83.
Davis, G. E., Effects of Hurricane Andrew on Natural and
Archeological Resources (Denver, Col.: United States Department
of the Interior, 1996).



A Look at the 2004 Hurricane

Season

Jessica Smith


Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, which threaten
its environmental health, economic stability, and the
welfare of its populace. The 2004 hurricane season was
exceptional, however, with four hurricanes slamming
Florida's coastline in the period of forty-four days. Not
since 1886, when four hurricanes plowed Texas in one
season, has such a storm sequence occurred in the United
States. 1


1 John-Thor Dahlburg and John M. Glionna, "Jeanne Delivers
More Misery; Fourth hurricane in six weeks hits Florida with 120-
mph winds and pounding rain. At least six are killed and power is
out for 2 million," Los Angeles Times, 27 September 2004.
http://proquest.umi.com.Ip.hscl.ufl.edu/pqdweb?did=700046901
&sid=7&Fmt=3&client
id=20179&RQT=309&Vname=PQD> (28 February 2005).


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne left little time to
recover, provide relief, or rebuild between their assaults.
These hurricanes of August and September left 126 dead
and damage estimated at more than twenty billion.2 On
August 13th, Charley made landfall near Cayo Costa as a
category 4 hurricane, the strongest hurricane to hit the
United States since Andrew in 1992 and the second
costliest in US history.3 Frances followed, making landfall
as a category 2 hurricane over Hutchinson Island on
September 5. Space and military facilities of Cape
Canaveral reported an estimated $100 million in damage as
a result of Frances.4 Hurricane Ivan made its US landfall in
Gulf Shores, Alabama, as a category 3 hurricane, but still
caused extensive devastation in Florida. Ivan reached
category 5 strength three times in its course as a hurricane
and caused the outbreak of twenty tornados in Florida.
Ivan also disrupted timber and offshore oil operations
Jeanne, the last of the four hurricanes, made landfall on
Hutchinson Island as a category 3 hurricane, five miles
from Hurricane Frances's initial landing site. A negative
storm surge of approximately four-and-a-half feet below
normal tides was reported at Cedar Key.6 The historical

2 Neil Johnson, "44 Days of Dread," Tampa Bay Online, 26
November 2004. KN02E.html> (28 February 2005).
3 Richard J. Pasch et al. "Hurricane Charley 9-14 August 2004,"
National Hurricane Center, 5 January 2005. ://www.nhc.noaa.gov/2004charley.shtml?> (28 February 2005).
4 John L. Beven II, "Hurricane Frances 25 August- 8 September
2004," National Hurricane Center, 17 December 2004.
(28 February
2005).
5 Stacy R. Stewart, "Hurricane Ivan 2-26 September 2004,"
National Hurricane Center, 11 February 2005. www.nhc.noaa.gov/2004ivan.shtml?>. (28 February 2005).
6 Miles B. Lawrence and Hugh D. Cobb, "Hurricane Jeanne 13-28
September 2004," National Hurricane Center, 7 January 2005.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

significance of these hurricanes can be seen by their affect
on Florida's citrus economy, their destruction of Florida's
beaches, and their influence on the 2004 presidential
election.
Three of the four 2004 hurricanes affected Florida
citrus production. Charley, Frances, and Jeanne swept
over the 80,000 acres of citrus groves, tearing fruit from the
trees, destroying delicate branches, and soaking the
ground. In fact, the flooding associated with these
hurricanes may even cause permanent root damage.7
Bruised and punctured fruit is impossible to sell,
prompting the US Department of Agriculture to estimate a
31 percent decline in the production of oranges and the
grapefruit yield, the lowest since the Great Depression.
Growers are not the only Floridians to suffer from the
damage to citrus crops. Ninety-thousand residents,
including migrant workers, rely on the citrus industry for
economic survival.8 Twenty-five thousand of those are
citrus pickers, of which 70 percent are illegal immigrants.9
Already living on wages often below minimum and residing
in less than adequate housing, these illegal immigrants are
some of the hardest hit by the 2004 hurricane season.
According to the Farmworker Justice Project of Florida

. (28 February
2005).
7 Michael Grunwald and Manuel Roig-Franzia, "Storms Latest
Setback for Fla. Citrus Growers; Pressure to Sell Land to
Developers is Rising," The Washington Post, 11 September 2004.
pqdweb?did=69069452 l&sid=7&Fmt=3&clientid=20179&RQT=30
9&Vname=PQD>. (28 February 2005).
8 Dahlburg, "The Nation; Hurricanes,".
9 Jennifer 8. Lee, "Lost Fruit in Central Florida Means Lost Jobs
for Migrants," New York Times, 10 September 2004.
1&sid=7&Fmt=3&clientid=20179&RQT=30
9&Vname=PQD>. (28 February 2005).


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

Legal Services, close to 40 percent of legally occupied
migrant housing was destroyed.10 Without other
occupational options, and fear that coming forward to
report damages will result in the questioning of their status,
illegal immigrants will arguably have the most difficult
recovery from the 2004 hurricane season.
In addition to diminishing citrus yield, the
hurricanes created storm surges that displaced coastal
sand, narrowing beaches and destroying dunes.1l This
coastal erosion was more widespread on Florida's east coast
than its west. With loss of sand, beaches resembled their
winter profile conditions, more vulnerable to the threat of
winter storms.12 How fast Florida beaches can return to
their pre-storm shapes will be determined by their initial
hurricane damage, the amount of chronic erosion, and the
density of their development. Artificial beach
renourishment is an option being implemented to speed up
the rebuilding process. Overwashed sand, which was
carried inland by the hurricanes, has been collected and
cleaned of debris and returned to beaches. New dunes from
inland sand sources and bulldozed beach sand have been
created, but offer far less protection than natural dunes.13



10 Lee, "Lost,".
11 Abby Goodnough, "After 4 Hurricanes, Trailers and
Homelessness," New York Times, 25 November 2004. //proquest.umi.com.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/pqdweb?did=70004690 1&sid
=7&Fmt=3&clientid=20179&RQT=309&Vname=PQD>. (28
February 2005).
12 Cornelia Dean, "As Weather Shifts, Beaches May Pay a Heavy
Price," New York Times, 14 September 2004.
l&sid=7&Fmt=3&clientid=20179&RQT=309&Vname=PQD>. (28
February 2005).
13 Cornelia Dean, "Sand Lost in Storms Leaves Beaches at Risk,"
New York Times, 21 September 2004.

Volume II, Spring 2005







Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

Popularity of beach renourishment has been hindered by its
cost, in the tens of millions, and by its requirement of
constant maintenance.14 Luckily, nature often aids
beaches in returning to their pre-storm conditions. Sand
swept away during a hurricane can end up in or near the
surf zone, eventually returning to beaches with the high
tides. This process, however, is slow and difficult to
measure.1s
Something not difficult to measure is the importance
of tourism to Florida's economy. Beach closures resulting
from hurricane damage threatened this $ 50 billion
industry.16 Road closures and the cancellation of Amtrak
and airline services limited the number of tourists flocking
to Florida this hurricane season.17 Limited beach access,
the suspension of beach horseback riding, and stricter
regulations for driving on beaches lessened the attraction of
Florida's coastline to visitors.18 With four hurricanes in less
than two months, the coast earned the unwanted nickname



proquest.umi.com.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/
pqdweb?did=69599147 l&sid=7&Fmt=3&clientid=20179&RQT=30
9&Vname=P
QD>. (28 February 2005).
14 Dean, "As Weather,".
15 Dean, "Sand,".
16 John-Thor Dahlburg, "The Nation; Florida Expected to Feel the
Wrath of 2004 Hurricanes for Years to Come; Effects pose
daunting economic consequences for the state, and in some
cases, the entire U.S," Los Angeles Times, 14 October 2004.
1&sid=7&Fmt=3&clientid=2017
9&RQT=309&VName=PQD>. (28 February 2005).
17 Dahlburg, "Jeanne,".
18 Amy Gunderson, "The Sand is Still There, Somewhere," New
York Times, 10 December 2004. mi.com.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/pqdweb?did=74426161 1&sid=7&Fmt=3&c
lient id=20179&RQT=309&Vname=PQD>. (28 February 2005).


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20h Century

of "Hurricane Alley."19 Journalist Cornelia Dean argues the
problem with Florida tourism is its focus on the shoreline
for business. With heavy coast development, the coastal
elevation, usually less than five feet, does not offer adequate
protection against hurricane storm surges.20 Because
beachfront businesses cannot move inland with the sand,
they bear the brunt of hurricane damage. Flooding from
storm surges coupled with heavy hurricane rain caused
black mold, often with visible airborne spores, to develop in
coastal properties this season. This mold rendered hotels
unlivable and forced businesses to close for repairs.21
President Bush visited Florida after each hurricane, touring
disaster areas, talking to victims, and promising speedy
and generous federal aide.22 This promised allowed
judgment to be placed on the president concerning the
success or failure of federal relief. With 25,000 homes
destroyed and 50,000 damaged, the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) set right to work on providing
temporary housing of trailers on wheels and mobile homes
for displaced persons.23 Complaints that FEMA was not
providing relief quickly enough emerged.24 Bush also sent
150 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staffers, in
addition to normal disaster relief workers, to Florida.
Complaints regarding the tasks given to the EPA workers,
mainly that they were being used to fuel Bush's re-election
campaign, raised questions about their place in hurricane
relief efforts.2


19 Dahlburg, "The Nation; Florida,".
20 Dean, "As Weather,".
21 Goodnough, "After 4,".
22 Dahlburg, "The Nation; Florida,".
23 Goodnough, "After 4,".
24 Dahlburg, "The Nation; Florida,".
25 John M. Glionna, and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, "The Nation;
The Race to the White House; Politics Off Radar in Battered-
Ground State; After weathering two storms and bracing for a


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20th Century

Four hurricanes in forty-four days. From August
13th to September 25th of 2004, Floridians experienced high
winds, heavy rains, powerful storm surges, and tornados
from Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. The damage was
unfathomable. Twenty-six counties were declared disaster
areas by the end. The Florida hurricanes of 2004 will
remain a notorious part of state history. As years go by,
more information will be gathered, and extensive studies of
the hurricane season of 2004 will be conducted. As for
now, Floridians have fresh memories of the devastation
hurricanes can cause and will be keeping a wary eye on the
developments of next season.



Selective Bibliography on Florida
Hurricanes

Note: Researchers should also check PALMM for the
wealth of on-line primary sources at various Florida
archives. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration maintains past hurricane date at
http://www.nhc.noaa. gov/pastall. shtml

Arsenault, Raymond. "Public Storm: Hurricanes and the
State in Twentieth Century America," in Gamber, Wendy,
Michael Grossberg and Hendrik Hartog, eds. American
Public Life and the Historical Imagination. Notre Dame, Ind.:
University of Notre Dame Press, 2003.



third, Florida has more pressing concerns. But Bush's handling
of the crisis could decide votes," Los Angeles Times, 10 September
2004. com.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/pqdweb?did=690181241&sid=7&Fmt=3&clie
ntid=20179&RQT=309&Vname=PQD>. (28 February 2005).


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20th Century

Attaway, John A. Hurricanes and Florida Agriculture. Lake
Alfred: Florida Science Source, 1999.

Barnes, Jay. Florida's Hurricane History. Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Baumann, Bette. Hurricane Andrew: The Big One. Longboat
Key, Florida: MetroMedia Publishing, 1992.

Cook, Ronald. Hurricanes of 1992: Lessons Learned and
Implications for the Future. New York: The American Society
of Civil Engineers, 1994.

Davis, G.E. Effects of Hurricane Andrew on Natural and
Archeological Resources. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of
the Interior, 1996.

De Leeuw, Cateau, Hurricane Heart New York : Arcadia
House, Inc., 1943.

Green, Jen, ed. Hurricane Andrew. Milwaukee : Gareth
Stevens Pub., 2005.

Douglas, Marjory Stoneman. Hurricane. New York:
Rinehart,1958.

Drye, Willie. Storm of the Century: The Labor Day Hurricane
of 1935. Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2002.

Elsner, James. Hurricanes of the North Atlantic. Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1999.

Harper, Kristine. Hurricane Andrew. New York: Facts On
File, c2005.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20th Century

Hearn, Philip D. Hurricane Camille: Monster Storm of the
Gulf Coast Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.

Kleinberg, Howard. Florida Hurricane & Disaster. Miami:
Centennial Press, 1992.

Kleinberg, Eliot. Black Cloud: The Great Florida Hurricane of
1928. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2003.

McGrath, John T. The French In Early Florida: In the Eye of
the Hurricane. Gainesville: University Press of Florida,
2000.

Mykle, Robert. Killer 'Cane: The Deadly Hurricane of 1928.
New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 2002.
Palm Beach Post. Mean Season: Florida's Hurricanes of
2004. Marietta, Georgia: Longstreet Press, 2004.

Palm Beach Post. Hurricane Andrew: Images From the Killer
Storm. Marietta, Georgia: Longstreet Press, 1992.

Peacock, Walter Gillis, and Betty Hearn Morrow and Hugh
Gladwin, eds. Hurricane Andrew: Ethnicity, Gender, and the
Sociology ofDisasters. New York: Routledge, 1997.

Provenzo Jr., Eugene F. and Asterie Baker Provenzo. In the
Eve of Hurricane Andrew. Gainesville: University Press of
Florida, 2002.

Reardon, Leo Francis. The Florida Hurricane and Disaster.
Miami, Fla., Miami Publishing Company, 1926.

Reese, Joe Hugh. Florida's Great Hurricane. Miami: Lysle E.
Fesler, 1926.

Scotti, R.A. Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938. New
York: Little, Brown, 2003.


Alpata: A Journal of History






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20th Century


Sherrow, Victoria. Hurricane Andrew: Nature's Rage.
Springfield, New Jersey: Enslow, 1998.

Swinford, T. William. Hurricanes Are Forever. Greensboro,
NC : Lifestyles Press, 1999.

Welsh, Garnet Varner. Hurricane, 1926. Chicago, Petit
Oiseau Press, 1958.

Williams, John M. and Iver W. Duedall. Florida Hurricanes
and Tropical Storms, 1871-2001. Gainesville: University
Press of Florida, 2002. 2nd expanded edition.

Winsberg, Morton D., James O'Brien, David Zierdan,
Melissa Griffin. Florida Weather. Gainesville: University
Press of Florida, 2003.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Special Topic: Florida Hurricanes of the 20th Century


Alpata: A Journal of History








Moment or Process
Developments in Augustine's
Understanding of Conversion

Christopher Ryan Fields




Introduction
"You called and cried out loud and shattered my
deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to
flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my
breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but
hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set
on fire to attain the peace which is yours."1

In these powerful and evocative words from his
landmark autobiography, Confessions, the highly influential
church father, philosopher, and theologian Augustine of
Hippo (354-430 CE) reflects on his own conversion to
Christianity and the drama of divine redemption and re-
creation. While many Romans converted to Christianity
during the late fourth and early fifth centuries, Augustine
left an account of his conversion experience. Today,
Augustine's account serves as a guide to interpreting and
understanding much of his powerful philosophical and
religious transformation. In addition to documenting this
experience, Augustine spent much time reflecting on the
meaning of conversion. He experienced conversion within
himself, but he also saw it occur in many others, especially
as the bishop of Hippo. In this role, Augustine was the

1Augustine, Confessions, Translated by Henry Chadwick (Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1991), x. xxvii, 201.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Christopher Ryan Fields
spiritual overseer of thousands who professed conversion to
the Christian religion. Augustine is one of the greatest
sources of insight into conversion as it was understood in
the late antique world.
This article attempts to elucidate Augustine's
understanding of conversion, especially as it is manifested
in his explanations of his own conversion and the
conversion of his later congregants. Like many aspects of
Augustine's thought, his understanding of conversion
changes with the tides of his influences and life
experiences. In particular, this paper explores whether
Augustine's understanding of conversion changed from his
early life and writings (386-401) to his later life and writings
(402-430) with regard to the dynamic of time. It will be
argued that the younger Augustine viewed conversion
primarily as a momentary event, while the later Augustine
viewed conversion primarily as a process. However, this
transformation was subtle and incomplete. Augustine
never understood conversion to be completely a singular
moment or a prolonged process. Instead, he believed it
occurred somewhere in the middle of this temporal
spectrum. As his life progressed, however, his
understanding of conversion shifted along this spectrum
from emphasizing the moment over the process to
emphasizing the process over the moment.
First, we do well to clarify the meaning of
"conversion." Historians, theologians, religion scholars,
sociologists, and psychologists offer an array of definitions
in an attempt to explain the dynamics and characteristics
of conversion as they have been exhibited across various
times and places. We seek a definition of conversion that
makes sense to us and would similarly have made sense to
Augustine's contemporaries in the late antique world.
Unfortunately, Augustine never defines conversion and
seems to assume its meaning is understood by his readers


Alpata: A Journal of History






Moment or Process
(he rarely uses the word, even in his Confessions).2 We
must therefore depend on scholars of Augustine and the
late Roman world for a definition that satisfies both ancient
and modern parties. Historian Ramsay MacMullen offered
this definition of conversion: conversion is the change of
belief by which a person accepts the reality and supreme
power of God and determines to obey Him.3 Augustinian
scholar Frederick Russell contributes a definition of
conversion that involves a necessitated "turning toward" a
particular worldview while "turning away" from a previous
worldview (aversion).4 Alan Kreider, director of the Center
for the Study of Christianity and Culture at Oxford
University, defines conversion as a process of
multidimensional change affecting belief, belonging, and
behavior.5
These definitions and the plethora of others offered
up by academics, while insightful, do not match the
simplicity and inclusiveness of Arthur Darby Nock's
definition of conversion which can be found in his seminal
study of conversion in the ancient world entitled,
Conversion: The Old and the New in Religion from Alexander
the Great to Augustine of Hippo. In it, Nock defines
conversion as "the reorientation of the soul of an
individual."6 He goes on to explicate his definition thus:


2 Karl F. Morrison, Conversion and Text (Charlottesville:
University Press of Virginia, 1992), viii.
3 Ramsay MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire (New
Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 5.
4 Frederick H. Russell, "Augustine: Conversion by the Book." In
Varieties of Religious Conversion in the Middle
Ages, edited by James Muldoon (Gainesville: University
Press of Florida, 1997), 13.
5 Alan Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom (Harrisburg: Trinity Press International,
1999), xv.
6 Arthur D. Nock, Conversion (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins
University Press, 1933), 7.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Christopher Ryan Fields
"(it is the) deliberate turning from indifference or from an
earlier form of piety to another, a turning which implies a
consciousness that a great change is involved, that the old
was wrong and the new is right."7 Here we have a definition
and understanding of conversion that satisfies the ancient
context and the modern mind because of its generality and
explanatory power (even if some modern scholars reject it
as overly simplistic). Nock's definition will be utilized as the
definition of conversion for the rest of this paper, though we
must eventually evaluate whether this was the definition
that Augustine had in mind when writing and reflecting on
his and others' conversion. Heeding MacMullen's warning
not to cling dogmatically to a static definition of conversion
that cannot incorporate the multifarious developments
within the socio-political-religious world, Nock's definition
has been chosen because of its inherent fluidity and
inclusiveness.8
One other note of clarification concerns the
vocabulary used in describing the issue of conversion being
dealt with in this study; what do we mean by conversion as
a "moment" or "process?" Strictly speaking, temporal
(though relative) designations assist one in understanding
the timeframe of conversion. Applying that definition, they
become designations which help us understand how much
time is involved in the reorientation of the soul of an
individual. Did this reorientation occur and come to
completion in a single moment, or did it occur over a much
longer period of time and involve a series of events or
temporal moments? Again, these terms are relative. A
moment has no specific time designation, but is understood
to occur quickly and without any enduring element. A
process also has no specific time designation but is
understood to occur more slowly than a moment and



7 Nock, Conversion, 7.
8 MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire, 5.


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Moment or Process
endure through time via a series of moments (however long
or short).
The "moment or process" debate has waged since the
study and analysis of the phenomenon of conversion began,
and it will most likely continue for some time. Anne
Hunsaker Hawkins's Archetypes of Conversion has been
particularly helpful in summarizing the points of debate
and the tenets of both sides. Hawkins utilizes William
James' terminology of "crisis or lysis" to describe
conversion, the former referring to a more sudden moment,
the latter to a gradual process.9 Hawkins and her analysis
of the "moment or process" debate will frequently be
referenced within this study. The endurance of the debate
should warn us to acknowledge how quickly we can attempt
to simplify the inherent complexity and mystery of the
divine work within the mundane. Conversion is difficult to
understand and analyze, primarily because it is an
experiential phenomenon that seems to differ from
individual to individual.10 Many historians and scholars of
religion have given their own account of conversion as
either a moment or process. However, we should be
cautious in accepting these simplified views which create a
dichotomy: conversion as either strictly a moment or
strictly a process. Augustine never expressed a simplistic
understanding of conversion. We must remember that it is
his view of conversion that we hope to understand. To
accomplish this we must look closely at his own writings in
addition to those of modern interpreters.

The Early Augustine (386-401 CE)
Turning to the early Augustine (386-401) one
attempts to discover his understanding of conversion. It


9 Anne H. Hawkins, Archetypes of Conversion (Lewisburg:
Bucknell University Press, 1985), 20.
10 Karl F. Morrison, Conversion and Text (Charlottesville:
University Press of Virginia, 1992), 2.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
should be made clear that this investigation is not be
concerned with the pre-conversion Augustine. While his
African background and his involvement with the
Manichees are referenced from time to time, it is the post-
conversion Augustine with which we are primarily
concerned. Thus, the time designation for early Augustine
begins in 386, with his Milanese garden conversion
experience. Augustine's subsequent baptism in 387 helps
to confirm the historicity of this event. The completion of
Confessions in 401 (he began writing it in 397) signifies the
end of the "early Augustine," mainly because the
completion of his autobiography was such a landmark
accomplishment that marked the completion of an intense
time of self-reflection and definition. During the period
from 386-401, Augustine retreated to Cassiciacum (386),
lost his mother Monica (387), was ordained a priest (391),
and was consecrated as a bishop (395).
The best place to start searching for the early
Augustine's view of conversion lies within the first
documents he produced as a Christian. These are the
works he composed during his retreat at Cassiciacum in
the winter of 386, immediately after his conversion but
prior to his baptism. For Augustine, Cassiciacum served as
a secluded retirement from the world, a place of rest and
relaxation where he could recover from recent ailments and
separate himself from the Pagan interference associated
with his professorship of rhetoric in Milan. During this
retreat he produced several conversational writings that
closely resemble Plato's dialogues in form and tone. These
works included Against the Academics, On the Happy Life,
On Order, and Soliloquies, all of which preserve some of
Augustine's first reflections on Christian theology and its
interaction with Neo-Platonic philosophy. However, they do
not include any references to his conversion, or any
discussion of conversion in general, causing some scholars
to question the historical validity of the Milanese garden
experience and Augustine's genuine commitment to the


Alpata: A Journal of History






Moment or Process
Catholic faith during the time of these writings (late 386-
early 387).11 But as one will see, Augustine's conversion is
implied in much of what was written, a fact that favors an
understanding of conversion that is much more sudden
than gradual.
For instance, Against the Academics is a discussion
between Augustine and his companions regarding the "New
Academy" of skepticism defended by Cicero in Academica
Here, Augustine sought to convince his interlocutors that
the negative and skeptical outlook of the academy should
be rejected, and a new authority embraced, an authority
which can reveal truth to humanity and enable humanity to
grasp and assent to it. This authority is none other than
the Trinitarian God of the Christian faith. At the end of the
discussion, Augustine states with confidence, "I, therefore,
am resolved in nothing whatever to depart from the
authority of Christ- for I do not find a stronger."12 Here one
sees Augustine's reliance upon Christ for intellectual
stability, a stability which he has only recently attained.
It is Augustine's Soliloquies that are perhaps the best
preservation of his early dedication to the Christian faith.
In them, Augustine engaged in a private conversation with
Reason, whom Augustine implored for knowledge of God
and the soul. But from the beginning of the dialogue
Augustine openly acknowledged his dependence on God for
intellectual and spiritual insight, saying, "O God, Framer of
the universe, grant me first rightly to invoke Thee; then to
show myself worthy to be heard by Thee; lastly, deign to set
me free."13 What is more, Soliloquies are filled with praise


11 John J. O'Meara, The Young Augustine (Staten Island: Alba
House Publishers, 1965), 12.
12Augustine, Against the Academics, Translated by John J.
O'Meara, From Ancient Christian Writers, No. 12 (New
York: Newman Press, 1951), 150.
13 Augustine, Soliloquies, Translated by C. C. Starbuck, From
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, St. Augustine


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Christopher Ryan Fields
set forth because of the work that God has done in
Augustine's life. He confessed his new orientation and
thankfulness toward God thus: "Henceforth Thee alone do I
love, Thee alone I follow, Thee alone I seek, Thee alone am I
prepared to serve, for Thou alone art Lord by a just title, of
they dominion do I desire to be."14 Most importantly,
Augustine expressed the fact that for the sake of God he
has rejected riches, honors and women noting, "Then
(before conversion) there was in me a veritable craving for
those things; now I utterly condemn them all."15
The dialogues written at Cassiciacum never present a
definitive statement of faith, nor even a direct reference to
Augustine's conversion experience, and so one must be
hesitant to conclude much regarding his understanding of
conversion. But the fact that these writings contain so
many explicitly Christian references so soon after his
conversion experience in Milan (no more than two or three
months) seems to argue for an understanding of conversion
which is momentary and sudden. Augustine scholar W. J.
Sparrow Simpson noted in his St. Augustine's Conversion
that the Cassiciacum documents, especially the Soliloquies,
indicate a very early form of Augustine's devotion to the
Trinitarian God and Christian self-understanding.16
Simpson points to four specific elements which testify to
Augustine's newly established faith: a constant recognition
of the Fatherhood of God, an acknowledgement of
distinctions in the Deity, a note of penitence, and an
anticipation of the Christian doctrine of grace.17 If one
understands that Augustine became a Christian before
writing these documents, it is fair to assume that Augustine

Volumes, Volume VII (1886), Retrieved October 25, 2004.
http:/ /www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf 107.v.i.html, 537.
14 Augustine, Soliloquies, 538.
15 Augustine, Soliloquies, 544.
16 W. J. Simpson, St. Augustine's Conversion (New York: The
Macmillan Company, 1930), 130.
17 Simpson, St. Augustine's Conversion, 150.


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Moment or Process
understood himself as being a Christian while he tested out
the waters of Christian theology. This, then, is what argues
for Augustine's understanding of conversion as being
momentary, for his self-understanding almost requires it.
He had not undergone a long journey of exploring the tenets
and implications of the faith; nor had he had an intensive
catechumenal process overseen by the church; he even had
yet to be baptized. Augustine did understand that his life
had changed in a dramatic fashion. For him, this change
occurred, not through a gradual process of transformation,
but through a sudden moment of God's graciousness and
Augustine's repentant faith.
Still one has no better picture of early Augustine's
understanding of conversion than in the work that was
written as an autobiographical reflection on his entire
journey toward Christian faith: Confessions. Confessions
reveals much about Augustine's background and pre-
Christian development, as well as Augustine's own view of
how he came to faith. Thus, it is crucial in helping to
understand how Augustine viewed the temporal dynamic of
conversion during the early part of his Christian life.
Augustine converted in 386, but Confessions was written
between 397 and 401, so his views regarding conversion
represent those held in the later portion of his early
Christian life (after he was consecrated bishop). John J.
O'Meara echoes Pierre Courcelle, arguing that the
autobiographical portion of Confessions (books I-IX) was
written earlier than the philosophical and theological
reflections that follow (books X-XIII), thus making it likely
that Augustine composed his conversion account in 397 or
398.18 O'Meara also argues that Augustine wrote his
conversion account because of the early conflicts he
experienced as bishop of Hippo. At that time he may have
had to silence his opponents' criticisms and further
legitimize his episcopate by producing an account of his

18 John J. O'Meara, The Young Augustine, 14.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
conversion which proved his authenticity as a truly
committed Catholic.19 One does well to keep these
underlying factors in mind as we delve into Confessions.
As Hawkins notes, the hallmark of the moment
(crisis) conversion was the dramatic and sudden turning
point that represents the crescendo of the salvific story.2o
As expected, Augustine presents his life as simply leading
up to the climactic moment within a garden in Milan where
he finally converted to Christianity. This is the epitome of
conversion being understood as "moment." This is not to
say that there were no other turning points, granted smaller
and less significant ones, that served to bring about the
larger, more significant one. In fact, Hawkins notes that
most individuals who understand their conversion through
the crisis paradigm generally explain their path to that final
conversion as being composed of miniature, less
pronounced, "conversions."21 Carl Vaught, a professor of
philosophy, echoes this sentiment, stating that Augustine's
final conversion is dependent on a series of stages that he
must pass through in order to reach his final destination.22
Nock advances with a similar idea, comparing the road to
Augustine's conversion with the addition of necessary
reactants in a chemical reaction that is sparked by the
addition of the crucial catalyst: the final, ultimate
conversion moment.23 Here we see an important point
about Augustine's Confessions: though it could be argued
that the various stages of Augustine's life portrayed in the
first seven books (ardent philosopher, Manichee, skeptic,
Neo-Platonist, etc.) was part of a larger conversion process,
it is better to argue that these stages simply served as

19 O'Meara, The Young Augustine, 15.
20 Hawkins, Archetypes of Conversion, 46.
21 Hawkins, Archetypes of Conversion, 46.
22 Carl G. Vaught, Encounters with God in Augustine's
Confessions (Albany: State University of New York Press,
2004), 78.
23 Nock, Conversion, 266.


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Moment or Process
components that allowed the ultimate conversion moment
to occur. The focus of Confessions is undoubtedly on the
climactic conversion moment in the Milanese garden. All
other portions of Augustine's life rose to and fell from that
mountaintop moment.
This is confirmed by several elements within Book
VIII, in which Augustine described the "birth pangs of
conversion" and the climactic moment itself. First,
Augustine prefaced his conversion experience with stories
of other Christians who were saved in the very sudden
manner characteristic of the crisis model. When visiting
Simplicianus, he heard the story of Victorinus, a famous
Roman philosopher and tutor who experienced an
intellectual conversion to Christianity but could not bring
himself to go to church or make public confession of faith
until "suddenly and unexpectedly he said to Simplicianus,
'Let us go to the Church; I want to become a Christian."24
Next, upon a visit from Ponticianus, Augustine heard the
story of an Egyptian named Antony who, upon the instant
of hearing Matthew 19:21 read aloud, converted to
Christianity, sold everything he had, and became a monk
for the cause of Christ.25 Ponticianus also told the story of
two men in the emperor's service who converted once they
heard the story of Antony. These men told their fiancees,
who become Christians as well. All of these narratives
prepared the way for Augustine's moment of conversion;
they reminded Augustine of God's power to change the
unwilling heart suddenly and without warning, and they
served to foreshadow Augustine's imminent salvation. The
story of Victorinus's salvation is especially appropriate, for
Augustine too had already given intellectual assent to
Christianity because of the influence of Neo-Platonic

24 Augustine, Confessions, VIII. ii, 136.
25 "Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your
possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you
will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."'
NRSV


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Christopher Ryan Fields
thought and the teachings of Ambrose. Like Victorinus,
Augustine remained unconverted because he was unwilling
to submit his will to Christ's authority and to face the
associated consequences. And like Victorinus, Augustine's
will was no match for God's.
The language used to describe the garden scene
makes the best argument for Augustine's conversion as
more of a moment than process. While he put off the
pressing decision to submit his will to that of Christ, he
realized at the end of Book VIII that he could put off the
decision no longer. In a "flash of crisis," as Hawkins put it,
Augustine notes, "Lord, you turned my attention back to
myself ... so that I could see how vile I was, how twisted
and filthy, covered in sores and ulcers."26 The crisis had
come about suddenly, and was now inescapable until
Augustine was reconciled to God. Augustine's encounter
with God was wrenching, and caused him much mental,
emotional, and physical malady. He escaped to the famous
garden, eventually falling beneath a fig tree where he wept
freely over the "bitter agony" of his heart.27 Here, the
climactic moment can be felt, as Augustine received the
divine directive to "pick up and read, pick up and read.'28
The first verse that Augustine opened to was Romans
13:13-14, and in obeying the command, he encapsulated
the moment in a single statement: "I neither wished nor
needed to read further. At once, with the last words of this
sentence, it was as if light of relief from anxiety flooded into
my heart.29 All the shadows of doubt were dispelled.'so

26 Augustine, Confessions, VIII. vii, 144.
27 Augustine, Confessions, VIII. xii, 152.
28 Augustine, Confessions, VIII. xii, 153.
29 "Let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and
drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in
quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to
gratify its desires." NRSV
30 Augustine, Confessions, VIII. xii, 153.


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Moment or Process
Here, the conversion moment, which had only recently
begun, was now fully complete. There was no long,
arduous process that lay ahead for Augustine before he
could be fully reconciled to God or could completely
embrace the faith. The conversion was completed as
suddenly as it began, as Augustine already began to count
the effects of God "converting me to yourself' (past tense).31
Of particular importance to note is how much
Augustine's conversion account is based on the archetype
of Paul's conversion as told in the Book of Acts, chapter
nine. Hawkins points out that St. Paul's conversion was
the greatest representative of the crisis conversion
paradigm, changing him from the most zealous Christian
enemy to the most pronounced Christian missionary in one
divine moment on the road to Damascus.32 It was no secret
that Augustine was under the influence of Paul's writings
during the time of his conversion. Ponticianus found him
reading Paul's epistles in his search for truth, and it was to
one of Paul's letters that he turned when he was
commanded to take up and read. In addition, as Augustine
became further immersed in the Catholic tradition, and
even began training others in the Catholic faith as a priest
and bishop, he certainly would have become even more
familiar with Paul's theology and understanding of
conversion. It thus makes sense to understand that the
early Augustine, upon reflecting on his conversion
experience, would have posited it in the Pauline paradigm
of salvific moment or crisis. This connection, which is no
doubt well founded, argues very strongly that Augustine
understood his conversion as much more of a sudden
moment than a gradual process when he presented it in his
Confessions.




31 Augustine, Confessions, VIII. xii, 153.
32 Hawkins, Archetypes of Conversion, 21.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
The Later Augustine (402-430 CE)
The years from 402 to after his completion of
Confessions to his death in 430 are considered the later
portion of his Christian life. It was during this time period
that Augustine be came a well-founded and highly respected
bishop in Hippo as well as a renowned theologian and
defender of the Catholic faith. While one may know him for
the highly influential works that he completed during this
time in his life (including On the Trinity and City of God), his
congregants knew him for his intimate involvement in their
day-to-day affairs and in the particular happenings of the
local churches. As the recently discovered Dolbeau
sermons and Divjak letters make clear, Augustine was not
the stand-offish intellectual he is often characterized to
be.33 Instead, he cared deeply for the good of his
congregations and eagerly sought to assist them in their
concerns. This was especially true in defending his
congregations, and the Catholic Church in general, from
the heretical doctrines of the Donatists and the Pelagians.
Though his debate with Pelagius brought him fame and
recognition throughout the Roman world, his priorities were
always for the faithful in his congregations with whom he
had been entrusted. Perhaps of top priority for him, as
Kreider hints in his illuminating chapter on the later
Augustine, was the responsibility for the salvation of souls,
the conversion of the "chaff' within his congregations.34
With regard to the change that occurred in
Augustine's understanding of conversion (from moment or
crisis to process or lysis), two main points will be
highlighted that help explain the transition. The first point
is that Augustine's understanding of conversion changed
because Augustine became more and more involved in the


33 Peter Brown, Augustine of Hippo (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2000), 445.
34 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 59.


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Moment or Process
Christian community, particularly as an increasingly
authoritative and influential member of the clergy. With
this increasing involvement and exposure to "the lame
church," he became aware of many other stories of
conversion, accounts of various types of people becoming
reconciled to God in various ways.35 Many of these stories
did not match up with his understanding of conversion
(which, earlier in his career as bishop, would have been
more momentary rather than gradual). As time went on,
Augustine heard lots of accounts of conversion that were
more gradual, conversion stories that were based more on
the lysis model than on the crisis model with which he was
more familiar. Simply hearing more of these gradual
conversion accounts may have had something to do with
the change in Augustine's own understanding, and they
certainly made their way into his teachings.36
Augustine also saw the differing outcomes of these
"conversions." He saw the congregants who were professing
transformation as either "wheat" or "chaff," "good trees" or
"bad trees." Some of these accounts involved momentary
conversions much like his own, of people who experienced a
crisis conversion outside of any official program sponsored
by the church. Contrastingly, he heard conversion
accounts that spanned a much longer period of time and
took place under the guidance of the church (generally
through catechetical instruction). Once enough time had
passed, Augustine began to see that it was primarily those
who were under the instruction of the church, who
experienced their conversion more gradually and
intentionally, that persevered in their faith. These converts,
Augustine felt, proved themselves to be the "wheat." Many
of those who had experienced the individualistic and

35 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 65.
36 Augustine, Sermons III/3, Translated by Edmund Hill, From
The Works of Saint Augustine (Brooklyn: New City
Press, 1994), Sermon 80.3, 354.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
momentary conversion did not endure, proving their
experience to be a pseudo-conversion. This being the case,
it is understandable that Augustine, who was deeply
concerned about the salvation of his congregants and their
endurance until the coming judgment, would begin to
prefer the more formalized and process-oriented conversion
experience provided by the church for inquirers and
seekers. This preference undoubtedly changed the way
that he viewed conversion and began to be expressed in
Augustine's sermons. For instance, in an Easter sermon
given sometime between 405 and 411, Augustine utilized
the analogy of baking bread to describe the phenomenon of
conversion.37 It was only those who underwent the long
and arduous process of being "carried to the Lord's
threshing floor ... threshed by the labor of oxen ... stored in
the barn ... grounded) by fasts and exorcisms ... (brought)
to the water ... moistened into dough ... made into one
lump ... baked, and made into the Lord's loaf of bread," that
were considered true converts.38 The "process" (a trial by
fire) served to separate the wheat from the chaff in a way
that the "moment" could not, causing Augustine to slowly
discard the crisis paradigm in favor of the lysis paradigm.
Of much greater significance, however, in influencing
Augustine's transition is the second point: that Augustine
became much more involved in the catechetical process and
gained confidence in its ability to produce genuine converts.
Kreider is adamant that under Augustine's leadership
Hippo became a bastion for formalized and ritualized (and
thus gradual) conversion experiences.39 The growing
emphasis on a set of rituals and steps being required for
conversion can be attributed primarily to Augustine's

37 Augustine, Sermons III/6, Translated by Edmund Hill, From
The Works of Saint Augustine (Brooklyn: New City
Press, 1990), Sermon 229.1, 265.
38 Augustine, Sermons III/6, Sermon 229.1, 265.
39 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 64.


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Moment or Process
continuance of, and increased reliance upon, the classical
four-stage form of catechetical instruction.40 Stage one was
that of the "inquirer," one who expressed an interest in the
Christian religion and simply wanted to learn more. Stage
two was that of the catechumenn," who had given
intellectual assent to the teachings of stage one and wanted
to attend the readings and sermons of the congregation and
further explore the implications of joining the Christian
community. Stage three was that of the "competentes," or
those who wanted to "ask together" and attend frequent
sessions with their sponsors where they would prepare
themselves for the coming change of belief, behavior, and
sense of belonging (often through multiple exorcisms,
memorization of creeds, etc.). Stage four was that of the
"neophytes," those who had endured to the end of the
process and were ready to join the Christian community
through baptism. Stage four ended with an eight-day
reflection on their baptism and communion experience,
which completed the conversion journey. Catechumens
transitioned slowly through the four stages, taking as short
as a Lenten season (50 days or so) and as long as several
years. Many catechumens never completed the entire
catechetical process, and, thus, in the eyes of the church
and of the later Augustine never became converts. This fact
is shown in Augustine's vivid appeal for catechumens to
"put your name down for baptism" for fear that "suddenly
his wrath will come, and at the time for vengeance he will
destroy you."41 For Augustine, the catechetical process was
of utmost importance to ensure that his congregants
experienced a genuine conversion: one that required a
process of investigation, exploration, communal
questioning, and ultimately baptism and communion.

40 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 57.
41 Augustine, Sermons III/2, Translated by Edmund Hill, From
The Works of Saint Augustine (Brooklyn: New City
Press, 1990), Sermon 40.5, 223.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
This fact is evidenced in Augustine's On the
Catechising of the Uninstructed, also known as The First
Catechetical Instruction. Written in 405, the document was
an answer to a fellow clergyman's inquiry as to the best
method of catechizing. In his response, Augustine made
several comments that betray an understanding of
conversion that is at least in transition, if not significantly
changed from his understanding of conversion expressed in
Confessions some seven years before. He noted that the
catechetical process serve d to "weed out" those who "wish
to become a Christian who have not been smitten with
some sort of fear of God... (who seek) some advantage from
men whom he deems himself unlikely to please in any other
way."42 In the same way, Augustine viewed catechism as a
vessel through which divine grace operates, such that, by
the same process that removes the "chaff' from the
"threshing floor," the "grain" was enabled to "seek the glory
of God and not their own... follow him in piety... (and)
belong to one fellowship."43 In fact, Augustine viewed the
catechetical process as such an efficacious impetus to
conversion that even some of the catechumens who began
the process seeking only "the favor of men from whom they
look for temporal advantages" were dramatically persuaded
to become people who "wish to become in reality that which
(they) had made up in (their) mind(s) only to feign."44
Conversion was not taking place in a divine moment, but
instead in a slow process of testing, of prodding, and
questioning. Only after the catechumens had passed
through the various stages of the process could their


42 Augustine, On the Catechising of the Uninstructed, From
Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II (1907), Retrieved
November 17, 2004,
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1303.htm, V, 9.
43 Augustine, On the Catechising of the Uninstructed, XIX, 31.
44 Augustine, On the Catechising of the Uninstructed, XVII, 26 & V,
9.


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Moment or Process
conversion be declared and their identity as true "grain" be
confirmed.
But if the change in Augustine's understanding of
conversion is only hinted at in On the Catechising of the
Uninstructed, it is blatant by the time he composes A
Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed in 425. By this time
in his life, Augustine was an aged bishop who had seen all
there was to see of Christian conversion and God's work in
his congregants' lives. He wrote this sermon for a
particular group of catechumens on the importance of the
Apostles' Creed as a summary statement of the Christian
faith. As the sermon builds momentum, Augustine's
understanding of conversion, which had now significantly
departed from his earlier understanding, comes more and
more to the forefront. He noted in the introduction that,
while they may have "heard that God is Almighty," they
must be "born by the church... your mother" in order to
"begin to have (God) for your father."45 Later, he exhorted
the catechumens, for the sake of the kingdom of God and
its associated blessings, to "prepare yourselves, for these
things hope, for this live... for this believe, for this be
baptized, that it may be said to you, 'Come ye blessed of My
Father, receive the kingdom of God prepared for you from
the foundation of the world."'46 Here, Augustine hinted at
the integral connection between actual conversion and its
context within the church's prescribed process of
conversion (the four stages of the catechumenal process,
including baptism). At the end of the sermon, Augustine
made a more explicit reference to this: when discussing the
catechumens (those who completed stage one, who prayed,
and who practiced penance), he asked, "For how can they
say, 'Our Father' who are not yet born sons? The

45 Augustine, A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, From
Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II (1907), Retrieved
November 17, 2004,
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1307.htm, I.
46 Augustine, A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, XII.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
Catechumens, so long as they be such, have upon them all
their sins."47 Here is a direct statement that catechumens,
even though they have begun the conversion process, the
church did not yet consider them to be fully converted.
Augustine implied that something was missing, namely the
saving waters of baptism that signified the end of the
catechumen's journey and full entrance into the church.
The early Augustine, who wrote Confessions and boasted of
his conversion in a divine moment before he had gone
through the catechetical process and partaken of the waters
of baptism, was not the Augustine found here. The later
Augustine, now a well established churchman, would not
entertain the possibility of a momentary conversion outside
of the church's guiding influence. After all, it was none
other than the later Augustine who exalted the phrase of
his predecessor Cyprian: "no salvation outside the
Church."48
Kreider draws much insight from these texts,
illuminating the later Augustine's understanding of
conversion with great brevity in his study entitled
"Augustine the Converter."49 Kreider emphasizes that
Augustine understood conversion as a journey that could
either come to completion quickly or be extended for many
years. This view becomes especially clear in Augustine's
comments regarding catechumenss," those who were in
stage two of the catechetical process. Kreider rightly notes
that catechumenss were not authentic Christians," citing
one of Augustine's sermons in which he bluntly stated,
catechumensns) haven't yet been forgiven, because they are
only forgiven in holy baptism."50 They were in an

47 Augustine, A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, XVI.
48 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 55.
49 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 54.
50 Augustine, Sermons III/4, Translated by Edmund Hill, From
The Works of Saint Augustine (Brooklyn: New City


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Moment or Process
indeterminate state, "Christian" yet unconverted,
catechumenn" yet uncatechized.51 Stage three also betrayed
Augustine's favoring of the lysis model of conversion, for he
viewed the memorization of the creeds and the proper
ritualistic responses as crucial to the continuing of the
journey. Repetitive exorcism was also emphasized;
Augustine assumed it was required for the proper change of
behavior that was necessary for catechumens to receive the
waters of baptism and join the Christian community.52
Exorcism was yet another component of a long, arduous
process required in becoming a full Christian. Even when
the religious journey was almost over, an intensive ritual
(including a pre-Easter vigil, fasting and repeated exorcism,
a final, climactic exorcism, a renunciation of the devil and
all his angels, a reciting of the Creed, an anointing, and
baptism) was required before the catechumens were finally
considered converted.53 All of this to say that Augustine's
understanding of conversion must be viewed as one that
emphasized the "process" of conversion, the gradual
acclimation to the Christian faith that required time and
the guidance of the church over and above the sudden
"moment" of conversion.
William Harmless, a recognized scholar of Augustine
and the late antique period, also provides an insightful
analysis of the later Augustine's view of conversion in
Augustine and the Catechumenate. Harmless observes that
Augustine understood the catechetical process to be
community oriented.54 The class of catechumens was not

Press, 1992), Sermon 97A.3, 41.
51 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 59.
52 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 62.
53 Kreider, The Change of Conversion and the Origin of
Christendom, 63.
54 William Harmless, Augustine and the Catechumenate
(Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1995), 267.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
simply a conglomerate of individuals, but a cohesive body
that moved through the stages of conversion together. This
communal emphasis was much more compatible with the
lysis paradigm as a whole. Harmless also notes that
Augustine often utilized the labor/new birth motif to
describe conversion, an image which is imbued with the
gradual process characteristic of the lysis paradigm.55
Indeed, in one of his sermons to "competentes" Augustine
addressed them as "a people being born" and exhorted
them to "Strive to be brought forth in health, not fatally
aborted. Look, mother Church is in labor, see, she is
groaning in travail to give birth to you, to bring you forth
into the light of faith. Do not agitate her maternal womb
with your impatience, and thus constrict the passage to
your delivery."56 Notice that Augustine warned them not to
be impatient and rush the process; he wanted them to
experience the gradual changes of conversion much as a
baby experiences the gradual changes of physical
development within the womb, eventually leaving it through
birth. Harmless also points to Augustine's fondness for
agricultural images, which illustrate the large amount of
time needed for a seed to grow into a plant.57 As
Augustine's usage of the "wheat" and "chaff' analogy has
been noted, but in the same sermon to the catechumens
mentioned above he also alluded to the "Parable of the
Sower," where time reveals the fate of the seed that fell on
various types of soil.58 This agricultural emphasis further
solidified the position that Augustine understood
conversion as a process required quite a bit of time rather
than a moment that required a comparatively short amount
of time.



55 Harmless, Augustine and the Catechumenate, 268.
56 Augustine, Sermons III/6, Sermon 216.7, 171.
57 Harmless, Augustine and the Catechumenate, 269.
58 Augustine, Sermons III/6, Sermon 216.3, 168.


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Moment or Process
Further Considerations
The question naturally arises: if this change in
Augustine's conversion actually occurred, what was its
impetus? The answer is obviously complicated, but has
been hinted at in various documents. First, elements in
Augustine's life predisposed him toward a changing view of
conversion. As an early Christian, and during his first
years as a priest and bishop, Augustine was much less
concerned about the traditions, rituals, and liturgy of the
church. Thus, he was easily able to conceive the possibility
that individuals such as himself could experience God's
grace outside the direct and dominating grip of the local
church. The Augustine of the Cassiciacum dialogues and
Confessions was much more likely to exalt the individual,
with his intellectual achievements and autonomous will,
than the church and its "one-size-fits-all" program of
guided conversion. Therefore, the climactic event in an
individual's life known as conversion made the most sense
occurring primarily as a moment or crisis like Augustine's
Milanese garden experience. As Augustine became older,
however, he became more convinced of the church's crucial
role in the guidance of individuals from disbelief to faith
and from doubt to confidence. It makes sense that
Augustine's view of conversion conformed to incorporate the
church and its regulating guidelines. It makes even more
sense when one considers that as time went on, and
Augustine had a growing influence within the church and
in his congregants' lives, he maintained an escalating
vested interest in the church's centrality to the Christian
life (a genuine concern for his congregants' well being,
financial stability, further recognition, etc.). Thus, it
became important for Augustine to emphasize the
community over the individual, the guided ritual over the
independent thought attainment, and the gradual process
of conversion over the sudden moment.
In addition, Augustine's own conversion experience
was one that could easily be interpreted within either the


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Christopher Ryan Fields
crisis or the lysis paradigm. The early Augustine
understood his pre-conversion life as consisting of steps or
stages, even "miniature conversions," which led to the
climactic conversion moment in the garden. With this
understanding, everything that came before his "final
conversion," though crucial to that climactic moment, was
not actually part of the conversion itself. It is helpful to
keep in mind Nock's analogy of the chemical reactants,
which are all necessary for the chemical reaction to take
place, but are nothing without the catalyst (the crisis
conversion moment), which is really what causes the
change. Thus, in early Augustine's presentation of these
events in the Cassiciacum dialogues and Confessions, the
crisis paradigm was emphasized. In contrast, the later
Augustine could just as easily look back on his own earlier
conversion experience and emphasize the lysis paradigm by
viewing the preceding events as part of the conversion
process. Here, instead of conversion occurring in a single
moment in the Milanese garden, it began with Augustine's
theft of pears as a child and culminated in the reading of
Romans 13:13-14, much like a catechumen's conversion
begins with their initial inquiry or desire to learn more
about the Christian faith and culminates in baptism on
Easter Sunday. The inconsistencies (such as Augustine not
going through the church's catechetical process or being
baptized) could simply be explained with the argument that
God is gracious and that Augustine's conversion experience
was rare. It is unfortunate that Augustine did not leave any
reflections on his own conversion after Confessions. This
forces one to speculate and accept cautious conclusions.
Such a thought process raises further problems that
must be addressed. This paper has argued that there was
a change in Augustine's understanding of conversion, and
this argument is based on assumptions that the early
Augustine understood conversion as primarily a moment
and the later Augustine understood conversion primarily as


Alpata: A Journal of History






Moment or Process
a process. However, there is evidence to the contrary in
both cases.
With regard to the early Augustine, there are several
objections to consider. The first is that the texts (Against
the Academics, Soliloquies, and Confessions) simply do not
provide enough definitive evidence and explicit comments to
venture a guess as to how Augustine understood
conversion. This objection is especially leveled against the
Cassiciacum dialogues, which never deal explicitly with the
issue of conversion or make any direct reference to
Augustine's own recent conversion. But even in
Confessions, Augustine never offered an explanation of his
pre-conversion events such as Nock's chemical reaction
analogy; one reads that analogy into the text because of
certain emphases and themes. Augustine never explicitly
stated that his conversion in the garden took place within a
sudden moment of crisis; that assumption derives from the
language that he used to describe his anguish and sense of
spiritual bankruptcy. Perhaps more importantly, it is
debatable whether Augustine actually became a Christian
and had a true conversion experience in the Milanese
garden; some observers postulate that he became a
Christian through a much slower process as he rose higher
within the church hierarchy, while others even hint that it
is possible Augustine never became a Christian (O'Meara
and Courcelle among others).59 Two reasons are often
proposed to support this thesis. The first is that the
Cassiciacum dialogues show a preponderance of Neo-
Platonic thought in comparison with the relatively few
explicitly Christian references and statements that are
made, which, as Hawkins argues, suggests that Augustine
was much more of a Neo-Platonist than a Christian and
that his "conversion experience" in the Milanese garden was
therefore much less pronounced and impacting than the



59 O'Meara, The Young Augustine, 13.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
later Confessions made it appear.60 Some scholars argue
that Augustine authored Confessions not to detail his
dramatic conversion experience or expound on his
understanding of conversion as a sudden moment of crisis,
but to fend off critics in Hippo who claimed that his
conversion to Christianity was not genuine and that he was
either a Manichee or a Neo-Platonist in Catholic guise. The
implication of this view is that Confessions does not
necessarily represent the historical truth about Augustine's
life, including his conversion, and thus should not be
looked to in attempting to understand his actual view on
conversion.
The later Augustine and his view of conversion is
similarly complicated. The same criticism of ignorance is
leveled again, and perhaps more legitimately here, for
Confessions is surely the closest that Augustine ever came
to dealing specifically with the issue of conversion and
expounding his particular understanding of it. Though On
the Catechising of the Uninstructed and A Sermon to
Catechumens on the Creed deal with the larger issues of
Christian beginnings and the church's prescribed
catechumenal process, they are not treatises on conversion
and should not be viewed as such. In addition, the texts
include several statements here and there that seem to
contradict an understanding of conversion as process, and
would match much better with Augustine's proposed earlier
view of conversion. For instance, in On the Catechising of
the Uninstructed (which is more of a transitional text,
written in 405 toward the beginning of what has been
classified as Augustine's later life), Augustine hinted at the
inward and momentary nature of conversion when he
stated, "It is true, indeed, that the precise time when a
man, whom we perceive to be present with us already in the
body, comes to us in reality with his mind, is a thing



60 Hawkins, Archetypes of Conversion, 52.


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Moment or Process
hidden from us."61 But even in Augustine's late A Sermon
to Catechumens on the Creed, he quoted the Apostle Paul
saying, "With the heart believeth unto righteousness, and
with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."62 In
another sermon given in 419, Augustine implored his
congregants to convert immediately if they had not already
done so, asking, "Why isn't it today? Why not as you listen
to me? Why not when you cry out? Why not when you
applaud?... Why not today? Why not now?"63 These
statements and others similar to them are surely hard to
reckon with other statements directly citing baptism and a
full catechetical process as being required for salvation.
They do imply a view of conversion that emphasized the
gradual process of the lysis paradigm.
Conflicts on both ends of Augustine's Christian life
and writings make us hesitant to come to unquestioned
conclusions with regard to both his early and later views of
conversion. However, all that has been claimed in this
paper is that the early Augustine understood conversion
primarily as a moment of crisis and that the later Augustine
understood conversion primarily as a gradual process. The
argument was not that the early Augustine understood
conversion strictly as a moment, or that the later Augustine
understood conversion strictly as a process. To do so would
be impossible, for as Hawkins rightly points out, Augustine
was familiar with both the crisis and the lysis model of
conversion and drew upon a particular model as he saw fit
to promote his agenda and express his ideas.64 For
instance, during his early life Augustine explained Paul's
conversion (and his own) using the crisis paradigm.65 Later
in life when preaching to his congregations, Augustine
referred to Paul's conversion as a more gradual occurrence

61 Augustine, On the Catechising of the Uninstructed, V, 9.
62 Augustine, A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed, I.
63 Augustine, Sermons III/2, Sermon 20.4, 18.
64 Hawkins, Archetypes of Conversion, p. 51.
65 Augustine, Confessions, VIII. xii, 153.


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Christopher Ryan Fields
that should be viewed through the lysis paradigm.66
Augustine did not understand conversion in black and
white terms, but as the mysterious interaction of the divine
with the mundane that could not necessarily be explained
through generalized paradigms that oversimplify the
beautiful grace given by God to humanity. It can be
maintained that during his early Christian life, Augustine
put more emphasis on the divine moment of crisis, which
stood in contrast to his later Christian life when he put
more emphasis on the gradual process or lysis that took
place over the course of many divine moments.
Lastly, one must return to evaluate whether Nock's
definition can be applied to Augustine's understanding of
conversion. Nock's seminal definition was of great
influence in the fields of historical and religious study, but
received criticism for being overly simplistic and for
emphasizing a particular understanding of conversion that
seems to favor the crisis model over the lysis model. Nock's
definition does not include or imply a time dynamic, which
is the issue this paper has pursued with regard to
Augustine's understanding of conversion. In fact, both the
beauty and utility of Nock's definition is its open-
endedness, which encompasses the changes that developed
within our understanding of conversion during the last
1500 years without stifling the insight of either Augustine's
generation or our own. Kreider's definition seems to
provide a similar breadth with regard to an all-
encompassing change an individual experiences. However,
his definition tends to emphasize the time dynamic more
than Nock's and tends toward the lysis paradigm over the
crisis paradigm. Even so, it seems as if Kreider's definition
would provide us with similar results and conclusions, as


66 Augustine, Sermons III/8, Translated by Edmund Hill, From
The Works of Saint Augustine (Brooklyn: New City
Press, 1994), Sermon 279.10, 66.


Alpata: A Journal of History






Moment or Process
would many other definitions of conversion. Nock's
definition was chosen and successfully applied to Augustine
because its inherent fluidity and inclusiveness have
enabled it to endure as one of the most meaningful
definitions of conversion ever proposed.

Conclusion
In closing, one would do well to remember that the
change in Augustine's understanding of conversion
occurred on a spectrum of temporal paradigms; the change
was not from an exclusive option of "moment" to an
exclusive option of "process," as if they were in conflict.
Augustine's views were always found somewhere in the
middle of these two extremes, though it has been shown
that the early Augustine tended toward the crisis paradigm,
while the later Augustine tended toward the lysis paradigm.
Augustine expressed his views of conversion in subtle ways,
emphasizing gradual trends in his mode of thought rather
than well-defined "laws of conversion." Most importantly,
Augustine's understanding of conversion, as with every
aspect of his philosophy and theology, was deeply
influenced by his particular background, needs,
experiences, and desires.


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Christopher Ryan Fields


Alpata: A Journal of History








From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby
Red'
The Invention of Grapefruit, 1750-
1933

Rob Lever





On May 23, 1930, in an effort "to promote the
Progress of Science," President Herbert Hoover signed into
law the Townsend-Purnell Plant Patent Act, which legally
redefined the patent laws of the United States to include
"invented" plants.1 Fifteen months later, on August 18,
1931, the new law was put into action. On that date, the
United States Patent Office issued the first plant patent to
Henry F. Bosenberg of New Jersey, recognizing his
"improvements" to the Dr. Van Fleet Climbing Rose.2 By
the end of the year, four additional plant patents would be
awarded. Within two years of Bosenberg's award, the U.S.



1 Robert Starr Allyn, "Plant Patent Queries: A Patent Attorney's
Views on the Law," The Journal of Heredity 24 (Feb., 1933): 55; "A
Plant Patent Bill Before Congress," The Journal of Heredity 21
(Feb., 1930): 81.The Townsend-Purnell Plant Patent Act specified
that plant patents could only be obtained for asexually
reproduced plants, excluding tubers and/or self-reproducing
plants.
2 Bosenberg's claim was to "a climbing rose . characterized by
its everblooming habit." Department of Commerce: United States
Patent and Trademark Office, "Plant Patent 1: H. F. Bosenberg:
Climbing or Trailing Rose," 1931, 1.


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Rob Lever
Patent Office boasted of seventy-eight such patents,
including the "Ruby Red" grapefruit.3
The patenting of plants raises a number of questions.
What prompted the U.S. government to award patents for
plants? What did they hope to inspire or create? And,
what did the "inventors" of these plants hope to achieve?
Through an analysis of the history and cultivation of
grapefruit through the "invention" of the Ruby Red, this
study endeavors to examine the factors contributing to the
"invention" of nature and the meaning behind the plant
patent law. Since its appearance in 1750, grapefruit has
steadily become an integral part of the citrus industry and
a mainstay of breakfast tables worldwide. Its popularity,
coupled with consumer demands for increased availability
and "improved" characteristics, has led to the "invention" of
several varieties. What these adaptations were and why
they were made will be the focus of analysis. Where
pertinent, other citrus fruits will be discussed and analyzed
alongside grapefruit. The crossing of various citrus species
will be of particular interest, especially in cases in which
the hybridization was "imposed" in order to meet consumer
interests.
Like most citrus species, the origin of grapefruit is
shrouded in mystery. Unlike most varieties of citrus,
however, grapefruit cannot be traced back to the tropics of
Southeast Asia and the Malay Archipelago. Instead, the
biological and documentary evidence for grapefruit suggests
an American origin. The first recorded reference to
grapefruit--identifying the species as the "forbidden fruit"--
was made in 1750 by the naturalist Griffith Hughes on the
island of Barbados.4 Six years later, Patrick Browne

3 The "Ruby Red" grapefruit is U.S. Plant Patent number 53.
4 Hughes likely borrowed the term "forbidden fruit" from the
Barbadians he encountered in his travels. Indeed, his matter-of-
fact tone in discussing the species, suggests that the fruit and its
name had been established for some time. The origins and/or
intended meanings behind this particular name, however, are


Alpata: A Journal of History







From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
reported a similar species in Jamaica, alternately referring
to his subject as "forbidden fruit" or "smaller shaddock."5
Browne would confirm the species' existence again in 1789.
Between 1789 and 1814, when it was next referenced,
Jamaica's "forbidden fruit" would acquire its third and best-
known cognomen, grapefruit.
There seems to be some confusion in the historical
record, however, regarding the origin of this third name. In
1814, botanist John Lunan, writing in Hortus Jamaicensis,
argued that "the name . 'grapefruit' [came about] on
account of its resemblance in flavor to the grape."6 As
horticulturalist H. Harold Hume asserted in 1934, it seems
more likely that the name was derived from the tendency of
the species' fruit to develop "in grape-like clusters"--a
characteristic observed in "the forbidden fruit, or lesser




unclear. Despite this lack of clarity, the Edenic suggestion of the
name is not all too dissimilar from the mythological
appropriations of the orange. As journalist/author John McPhee
points out in Oranges, oranges were "the golden apples of the
Hesperides," a wedding gift from Gaea to Hera, "which were [later]
stolen by Hercules." Also of note are the mentions, mostly in
Arabic literature, of a pummelo-like fruit in Palestine, circa. 1200,
known as "Adam's Apple." Griffith Hughes, The Natural History of
Barbados, (London, 1750), 127; John McPhee, Oranges (New
York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1967), 7. See also, "History
and Development of the Citrus Industry," in The Citrus Industry,
vol. 1, History, Botany, and Breeding (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1943), 16.
5 Walton B. Sinclair, The Grapefruit: Its Composition, Physiology,
and Products (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972), 1;
Walter T. Swingle, "The Botany of Citrus and Its Wild Relatives of
the Orange Subfamily," in The Citrus Industry, vol. 1, History,
Botany, and Breeding (Berkeley: University of California Press,
1943), 418.
6 H. Harold Hume, The Cultivation of Citrus Fruits (New York: The
MacMillan Company, 1934), 91; Swingle, "Botany," 418.


Volume II, Spring 2005







Rob Lever
shaddock" by French botanist Chevalier de Tussac in
1824.7
Although Tussac's observations connect a known
characteristic of modern grapefruit with Hughes's and
Browne's "forbidden fruit"--thereby providing scholars with
an approximate temporal and geographic origin of the
species--considerable doubt remains regarding the genesis
of grapefruit. On this, two main theories dominate the
literature. First, it has been postulated that grapefruit
developed as a hybrid of the pummelo and the sweet
orange.8 In support of this theory, pomologists have pointed
to several characteristics exhibited by grapefruit that are
reminiscence of observable traits in either of the supposed
parent species. For example, grapefruit's bitterness, "golden
rind, . thick skin, large size, and habit of growing on
trees in clusters or bunches" are commonly attributed to
the fruit's supposed pummelo lineage.9 Similarly, the fruit's
"small" and "delicate" vesicles, "thin" segment walls, and
"sweetness"--compared to the pummelo--along with its leaf
and seed shape have been presented as evidence of a sweet
orange lineage.10 However, as pomologist Walter T. Swingle
observed, "the absence of any breakup of self-pollinated
grapefruit seedlings into orange-like and pummelo-like



7 Hume, Cultivation, 91. H. Harold Hume was one of the leading
horticulturalists of his time. In 1934, when Cultivation of Citrus
Fruits was published, Hume was an active researcher and
professor at the University of Florida's College of Agriculture.
8 Some horticulturalists have argued for the sour orange rather
than the sweet on the similarity in seed shape of the grapefruit
and the sour orange. E. N. Reasoner and Frank Kay Anderson,
"The Origin of Grapefruit," The Citrus Industry 5, no. 3 (1924): 36.
9 Frank Kay Anderson, "The Florida Grapefruit," The Citrus
Industry 5, no. 2 (1924): 20.
10 William C. Cooper, In Search of the Golden Apple: An Adventure
in Citrus Science and Travel (New York: Vantage Press, 1982),
123; Swingle, "Botany," 418.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
forms" makes such a hypothesis unlikely.11 Moreover,
attempts to "re-create grapefruit" by crossing its supposed
parents have similarly met "without success," resulting in
fruits of "great variability; some of them . grapefruit-like
and others somewhat orange-like.12 It should also be noted
that all known grapefruit specimens have either been
located in or exported from the Americas. If grapefruit could
indeed be "created" through hybridization then chances are
that it would have arisen in more than one location.13 This,
as far as scholars know, has never occurred.
The evidence against hybridization has been used by
some scholars to construct an alternative theory. That is,
that grapefruit resulted as a bud-sport, or mutation, of the
pummelo--a somewhat common phenomenon among
citrus, yet one that is seldom duplicated naturally.14 While
the mutation theory seems more plausible than the
pummelo-sweet orange hybrid theory, given the absence of
a "proto-type" or parent tree, there is no way to be certain.
In comparison to its enigmatic beginnings, the
history of grapefruit's commodification is relatively well
documented, particularly after the center of production
shifted from the Caribbean to Florida in the mid-nineteenth
century. It should be noted, however, that 132 years would
pass between Hughes's identification and its emergence on
the open market. During this time, it appears that


11 Swingle, "Botany," 418.
12 T. Ralph Robinson, "Aspects of Florida Citrus History: The
Seedless Grapefruit and the Hybrid Tangelo Among Florida's
Contributions to World Markets," Citrus 8, no. 4 (1945) 12.
13 The fact that the earliest records are split between Barbados
and Jamaica is not enough to support the hybridization theory,
particularly given curiosity with the "forbidden fruit" and the
interconnectedness of the intra-Caribbean trade, particularly
between the British islands.
14 Larry K. Jackson, Citrus Growing in Florida, 3d ed.
(Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1991), 30; Swingle,
"Botany," 418.


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Rob Lever
grapefruit was primarily grown as an ornamental, its fruit--
closely associated with the pummelo in the minds of those
aware of its existence--was deemed by many to be a mere
curiosity, unfit for consumption. Horticulturalist George
Don reported the species' to be "the least useful" of citrus
fruits.15 Alexander Watson stated that it was "curious, but
worthless."16 Similarly, J. S. Adams, cataloguing the citrus
of Florida in 1869, had this to say: "The Shaddock . [is]
of little value. . The Grapefruit is similar to the
Shaddock."17 And, Charles Downing, writing in 1885, found
the grapefruit to be "more showy than useful," although he
did find the pulp "sweetish" and the juice "rather
refreshing."l Hume would dismiss these criticisms as
based on ignorance and confusion; Frank Kay Anderson,
writing a decade prior to Hume, was not so dismissive. As
he reported, the earlier grapefruit were different . from
[those] of... today. The rind was thicker, there were more
seeds, and the skin of the inner segments was thick, tough,
and extremely bitter. 19
Despite these criticisms, grapefruit was not without a
loyal following during its early development. Hughes
reported that the fruit "hath somewhat the Taste of a


15 George Don, A General History of the Dichlamydeous Plants,
Comprising Complete Descriptions of the Different Orders;
Arranged According to the Natural System, vol. 1, Thalamiflora
(London, 1831), 596.
16 Alexander Watson, The American Home Garden: Being
Principles and Rules for the Culture of Vegetables, Fruits, Flowers,
and Shrubbery, To Which are Added Brief notes on Farm Crops
(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1859), 363.
17 J. S. Adams, ed., Florida: Its Climate, Soil, and Productions with
a Sketch of Its History, Natural Features and Social Condition: A
Manual of Reliable Information Concerning the Resources of the
State and the Inducements to Immigrants (Jacksonville: Edward M.
Cheney Publishers, 1869), 49.
18 Hume, Cultivation, 97.
19 Hume, Cultivation, 97; Anderson, "The Florida Grapefruit," 20.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
Shaddock; but far exceeds that, as well as the best Orange,
in its delicious Taste and Flavour."20 Likewise, Browne, in
1789, reported that "'the fruit . is agreeable to most
palates and of a pleasant grateful flavor. "21 One can only
speculate as to why Odette Philippe --credited with
introducing grapefruit to Florida--chose to make the species
a feature of his plantation near Safety Harbor in the early
nineteenth century. Given his entrepreneurial spirit and
dedication to the groves, it seems unlikely that grapefruit
was a mere curiosity to the Frenchman.
Whereas a few individuals recognized and
appreciated "the merits of the new fruit," for the most part
"it failed to meet popular approval."22 While some of this is
clearly the result of negative publicity and the wrongful
conceptualization of grapefruit as yet another variety of
pummelo, one cannot preclude the influence of widespread
consumer ignorance. Most consumers simply were not
aware of the existence of grapefruit. Of course, the
possession of such knowledge did not necessarily make the
fruit any more accessible. As Hume pointed out, for much
of the nineteenth century, Florida possessed "crude" and
unreliable systems of transportation, which made it difficult
for growers, if not outright cost-prohibitive, to bring new
products to market.23 Growers' disinclination to cultivate
grapefruit in mass, due to perceived risks and/or costs,
translated into limited product availability, and thus limited
product knowledge and consumer demand. Under such
conditions, a stand-still developed, lasting through most of
the century. As long as consumer demand was slight,
growers would not propagate the species. Conversely,


20 Hughes, The Natural History of Barbados, 127.
21 Herbert John Webber, "Cultivated Varieties of Citrus," in The
Citrus Industry, vol. 1, History, Botany, and Breeding (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1943), 570.
22 Robinson, "Aspects," 12.
23 Hume, Cultivation, 96.


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Rob Lever
demand could not be fostered on any meaningful scale as
long as production remained minimal.
This is not to say that demand for grapefruit was
static. Slowly, but steadily, beginning in the late eighteenth-
century, demand increased as visitors to the tropics--
particularly wealthy patrons from the industrial centers of
the northern United States--acquired a taste for grapefruit.
Upon returning home, those who could afford to do so,
incorporated the fruit into their social lives, impressing
their peers with the "new" and "strange" fruit from the
tropics. In a short time, "a breakfast food fad" had
developed.24 By the 1920s, demand for Florida grapefruit,
coupled with "its high quality" and durability in terms of
shipping, would bring regular shipments as far westward as
Montana and the north Pacific coast of the United States.25
As popularity increased, growers observed that grapefruit
did indeed have a market. Subsequently, growers sought
ways to increase production. For Florida, the recognition of
and response to consumer demand for grapefruit would
result in the emergence of a multi-million dollar industry--
one that, incidentally, would dominate global production
into the twenty-first century.














24 Anderson, "The Florida Grapefruit," 20.
25 F. L. Skelly, "Extending the Market for Florida Citrus Fruits,"
The Citrus Industry 5, no. 1 (1924): 32.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
By the 1880s, Florida's citrus growers had
established a rudimentary system of exportation. In 1882,
the first mass shipments, departing from groves in Marion
County, Florida, were sent out to the nation.26 Initially,
sales "netted . only about fifty cents per barrel," but as
demand increased, so did profits.27 Reflexively, escalating
profits inspired an expansion of production and
distribution. By the turn of the century, consumers
throughout the United States had access to grapefruit.
American consumers, however, were certainly not the only
ones to benefit from the commodification of Florida's latest
fruit sensation. As Frank Ostrander, then residing in Paris,
France, wrote in 1924:

It has been most interesting to note the
remarkable change in the citrus fruit situation
since living here in 1921-2. Then, I found
grapefruit practically unknown, only one place
carrying . [it, and then only] when they
could obtain it. There was none on the menus
of any hotel. Now[,] I find . grapefruit at all
the principal hotels, and all the little groceries,
fruit shops [and] delicatessens.28

In addition to rising interest in grapefruit as an exotic,
consumer demand for the fruit surged in an era obsessed
with perfectionio, purification, and power" as industry
scientists and pharmacologists promulgated grapefruit's
supposed medicinal qualities.29 By the 1920s, the "findings"

26 Anderson, "The Florida Grapefruit," 20.
27 Webber, "History and Development of the Citrus Industry," 31.
28 Frank Ostrander, Paris, to American Fruit Growers,
Incorporated, Pittsburgh, 15 July 1914, transcript in the hand of
Frank Ostrander, The Citrus Industry 5, no. 2 (1924): 21.
29 R. Marie Griffith, "Apostles of Abstinence: Fasting and
Masculinity During the Progressive Era," American Quarterly 52,
no. 4 (2000): 631.


Volume II, Spring 2005







Rob Lever
of industry-affiliated scientists would be augmented by
what Frank Kay Anderson determined to be "the
unqualified endorsement" of the American medical
profession.30 It was an endorsement the citrus industry was
elated to have, and one they were quick to capitalize upon.
As one advertisement targeting housewives and mothers
boldly proclaimed, "Grapefruit is a Body-Guard! . "A Gold
mine of vitamin C to fortify the MAN-POWER in your
home."31 The advertisement would continue, appealing to
women's maternal sense: "What a sensible plan it is . to
please your family, and protect your family . by serving
Florida grapefruit[.]"32 Between 1938 and 1939, Florida's
Citrus Commission launched a massive advertising
campaign--canvassing 106 newspapers serving eighty-nine
venues--with the latest in citrus health news. Of the five
grapefruit advertisements running between the week of 11
October and the week of 21 November, four specifically
targeted female audiences and all of them detailed the

30 It is unlikely that the "unqualified endorsement," contrary to
Anderson's remark, was without reservations. Indeed, though
medical professionals were willing to "admit [that] there is very
likely a constituent in the grapefruit which has valuable
[medicinal] properties," as late as 1918, a mere six years before
Anderson publicly appropriated the medical profession for
grapefruit marketing, pharmacologist Harper F. Zoller reported
that other than grapefruit's "antiscorbutic" properties, medical
scientists could not point to any "real [medicinal] value" of the
fruit with "definiteness." Zoller's limited endorsement, among
others, however, was evidently sufficient for Anderson and
industry publicists. Harper F. Zoller, "Some Constituents of the
American Grapefruit (Citrus Decumana)," Journal of Industrial
and Engineering Chemistry 10, no. 5 (1918), 364, 366-367;
Anderson, "The Florida Grapefruit," 20; and "The Pomelo, or
Grapefruit," JAMA 79, no. 21 (1918), 1537.
31 Florida Citrus Commission, "Grapefruit is a BODY-GUARD!,"
advertisement, Citrus 8, no. 5 (Jan., 1946): 1.
32 Florida Citrus Commission, "Grapefruit is a BODY-GUARD!,"
1.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
fruit's healthful aspects. "'I just found out how to take the
coat off my tongue,"' exclaimed one. The small print, would
clarify: "I like to have a fresh, clean feeling in my mouth . .
[a]nd I just discovered that the best of all ways to wake up
those taste-buds is to start a meal with grapefruit.'s3
Another advertisement emphasized that grapefruit
alkalizess your system . protecting] you from colds and
other infectious diseases."34
The Citrus Commission was not just selling a
commodity, it was selling a way of life, one that "nutrition
wise" consumers of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth
centuries would easily recognize.35 As Maire Tietgen, home
economist of Florida's Citrus Commission, stated, "there's
nary a northern shopper who doesn't think of Florida's . .
golden fruit as 'musts' in her family's fare."36 Recent studies
on the era indicate that by the turn of the century,
upwardly mobile Americans were more than acquainted
with the "scientific gospel[s]" of self-improvement, efficiency,
order, sanitation, and health.37 R. Marie Griffith
demonstrates in her study on fasting the ubiquity of these
principals:









33 Florida Citrus Commission, "Florida Orange Grapefruit,"
advertisements Citrus 1, no. 8 (1938): 10.
34 Florida Citrus Commission, "Florida Orange Grapefruit," 10.
35 Mabel Richardson, "Smart Cooks Use Citrus," Citrus 9, no. 9
(May 1947): 10.
36 Marie Tietgen, "'Golden Dozen' of Citrus Fruit Recipes," Citrus
8, no. 3 (1945): 10.
37 Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (New York:
Hill and Wang, 1967), 115.


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Rob Lever
Vegetarianism, hydropathy, exercise,
temperance, and pulverizing mastication had
been so ardently advocated [during this time]
that . consumers must have wondered
whether the farthest reaches of
nonpharmaceutical therapy systems had not
been scoured.38

In such an atmosphere, grapefruit just made sense.
Moreover, the fact that the fruit was from Florida, America's
"fountain of health and new life" during the late nineteenth-
and early twentieth-centuries, undoubtedly made a positive
difference in consumer opinion.39
The spirit of improvement and reform and the quest
for perfection that pervaded American thought also
influenced corporate and government behavior. Indeed,
was not one of President Hoover's motivations for signing
the Townsend-Purnell Plant Patent Act to promote
"Progress"? Long before Hoover was elected president,
however, Florida's Citrus Industry--in part to expand its
market share and in part out of scientific curiosity--began
to investigate various methods of improvement and self-
betterment.
One avenue for accomplishing this goal was the
replacement of unproductive and/or unprofitable citrus
groves with grapefruit. As planter F. G. Sampson observed,
"Grapefruit was selling so high that . we decided to bud
half [our] lemon grove at Bay View," which had been in



38 Griffith, "Apostles of Abstinence," 599.
39 John W. Ashby, ed., Alachua, The Garden County of Florida, Its
Resources and Advantages (New York: The South Publishing
Company, 1888) 6. See also, J. S. Adams, ed., Florida: Its Climate,
Soil and Productions ... the Resources of the State and the
Inducements to Immigrants (Jacksonville: Edward M. Cheney,
1869).


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
steady decline, "into grapefruit."40 Another popular
industry solution involved the actual "improvement" of
citrus fruit, thereby attracting those consumers who were
turned-off by one or more "unfavorable" characteristics.
After all, as George Tippin observed, "better fruit brings
more money."41 To achieve optimum efficiency, the Citrus
industry looked to standardization and "invention."
The standardization of grapefruit incorporated
several adjustments to existing methods of production,
advertising, marketing, and distribution. Of these, the
most important seems to have been the standardization of
production. The Industry reasoned that there should be a
certain level of consistency--flavor, quality, appearance,
texture, size, price--each time a consumer experienced
grapefruit. Consistency, after all, creates expectations
which can only be satisfactorily maintained with a standard
product. As H. Harold Hume stated regarding flavor, the
flavor should be characteristic [and distinct]--a pleasant
indescribable blending of bitter, sweet, and acid .. lacking
this, it falls short of the standard of excellence[.]42 Absolute
homogeneity of any specific characteristic in grapefruit--or
any citrus for that matter--is an impossibility. Variations in
soil composition, fertilization, climate, water-intake,
sunshine, rootstock, and time of harvest--to name a few--
cause minute differences among the fruit. Journalist and
writer John McPhee pointed out in 1966 that "taste and
aroma" are contingent upon the fruit's position within "the
framework of the tree on which it grew."43 Purportedly, taste



40 F. G. Sampson, "Pioneering in Orange and Lemon Culture in
Florida," p. 7. Special Collections, P. K. Yonge Library, University
of Florida, Gainesville.
41 George Tippin, "Better Fruit Brings More Money," The Citrus
Industry 2, no. 7 (1921): 14.
42 Hume, Cultivation, 98-99.
43 McPhee, Oranges, 8.


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Rob Lever
even fluctuates within a given specimen--top to bottom,
center to outside.44
Aware of these tendencies, the industry,
nevertheless, attempted to control what factors it could.
Rind color, for example, could be manipulated, fruit size
controlled through grading systems, and standards
imposed upon fertilizer composition, watering techniques,
harvest times, and variety planted.45 Any attempt by
growers to circumvent these standards was certainly looked
down upon. Indeed, writing in April 1924, L. B. Skinner,
then president of the Florida State Horticultural Society,
called the production and sale of inferior quality grapefruit
"a crime--against the law and against humanity."46
Beyond standardization, growers also exhibited an
interest in developing new varieties of grapefruit--among
other citrus varieties--either in a laboratory or by
propagating naturally occurring hybrids and sports that
they believed would be welcomed by consumers.
Documentary evidence indicates that the intentional citrus
breeding and experimentation first developed in Florida
under the guidance of Walter Swingle in 1893. According
to T. Ralph Robinson, then senior physiologist for the
Bureau of Plant Industry's Division of Fruit and Vegetable
Crops and Diseases, Swingle's work was commissioned by
the Department of Agriculture "in the attempt to create
hardier sweet oranges."47 By his own disclosure, Swingle
made 212 different crosses by 1897.48 Though most of these


44 McPhee, Oranges, 9.
45 Until the emergence of the Marsh grapefruit, most growers
cultivated the Duncan variety, its flavor being found most
favorable to consumers.
46 L. B. Skinner, "The Seedless Pink Marsh," The Citrus Industry
5, no. 4 (1924): 5-4, 19.
47 Robinson, "Aspects," 13.
48 Swingle, "New Citrus Fruits: Successful Hybrids--The Citrange,
Tangelo and Limequat--Cold Resistant Substitutes for the Lemon


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
failed to produce anything worth mentioning, thirteen "true
hybrids" did result from this work.49 Among the new
variations developed were several varieties of citranges,
including two bearing peach-like fuzz, and the tangelo, the
resultant cross of tangerines with grapefruit.50
While Swingle was fascinated with the citranges,
particularly noting that their "abundant acid juice" made
them "a very good substitute for lemonade," his focus
centered on the tangelo.51

Tangelos show little of the grapefruit and
almost nothing of the tangerine, but are in
effect new types of oranges showing a greater
variability as to size and color and having, as
a rule, a more sprightly flavor. . There can
be no doubt that these hybrids . constitute
an important source of new and improved
citrous fruits for commercial culture.52

Swingle, in partnership with F. W. Savage, would later
conduct "extensive hybridization" tests on the tangelo,
gauging its suitability for mass production and
commodification.53 In 1913, he reported "thousands of new
types of tangelos" in various stages of experimentation.54
He also reported on the successful crossing of the kumquat
with the West Indian lime, creating the limequat.55


and Lime--Future Possibilities," American Breeders Magazine 4,
no. 2 (1913): 83.
49 Swingle, New Citrus Fruits: Successful Hybrids, 83.
50 Swingle, New Citrus Fruits: Successful Hybrids, 85.
51 Swingle, New Citrus Fruits: Successful Hybrids, 85.
52 Swingle, New Citrus Fruits: Successful Hybrids, 88-89.
53 Swingle, New Citrus Fruits: Successful Hybrids, 88-89.
54 Swingle, New Citrus Fruits: Successful Hybrids, 88-89.
55 Limequat's do not have a distinct size, shape, or flavor.
Instead, they exhibit a wide assortment of characteristics drawn
from either parent species.


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Rob Lever
Swingle's "inventions," though sometimes
constructed out of scientific curiosity, demonstrate a desire
to improve citrus and open up new markets for various
fruits. For example, by crossing the kumquat and the lime,
Swingle effectively mixed the most cold resistant citrus fruit
with one of the more cold reactive. Through this
"intermediate" variety, Swingle made it possible for the
production of lime-like fruits to be extended into regions
traditionally unsuited for lime cultivation, thereby
permitting larger annual "lime" yields. The tangelo was
similarly advocated as a marketable alternative. As botanist
Herbert John Webber described, tangelos are "usually
highly colored, aromatic, richly flavored, sprightly acid, only
slightly bitter, and very juicy."56 More importantly, the
tangelo could be easily removed from its peel and seldom
contained seeds. It must have seemed like the dream fruit
had been created. Unfortunately for tangelo advocates, the
fruit tends to be "very delicate," a quality making its
shipment somewhat difficult, delaying its distribution until
such characteristics could be overcome in the late 1930s.57
Swingle was certainly not the only horticulturalist
experimenting with citrus hybridization. Various
professional and amateur pomologists worldwide conducted
such business. In the United States, citrus hybridization
developed into a multifaceted business, with the Bureau of
Plant Industry, corporations, private individuals, and
academic institutions funding and housing such research.
By the 1940s, citrus experiment stations had been
established in Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona.
Among their yields were hybrids of almost every citrus
combination imaginable, including such diverse creations
as tangors, citrangequats, tangemons, lemandarins,
mandelos, and lemelos--each experiment determined to find


56 Webber, "Cultivated Varieties of Citrus," 644.
57 Webber, "Cultivated Varieties of Citrus," 644; Robinson,
"Aspects," 13.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
the next big product. A comic appearing in Citrus in 1947
comments tongue-in-cheek on the strange combinations
experimenters developed in the laboratory. It also
illustrates, albeit in an exaggerated fashion, the
fundamental interest scientists had in creating "practical"
fruit variations. The comic depicts the stunned, but elated
reaction of an anonymous scientist to an "exploding" citrus
fruit, which he heated only moments before with a blow-
touch. Accompanying the image is the caption, "Eureka!
Crossing the Valencia with popcorn gives us a self-peeling
orange!'"8
As previously demonstrated, since the
commencement of citrus breeding and experimentation by
Swingle, in 1893, a number of new citrus varieties have
been constructed in controlled settings. Hybridization,
however, has also occurred "naturally," that is, apart from
prolonged and directed human intervention. Most "natural"
hybridizations, as with intentional crossings, tend to be of
inferior quality, a characteristic that must have certainly
irritated growers' expectations, even if they were amused
with crossings. The writings of the eighteenth-century
naturalist John Lawrence illustrate this point. In his 1717
publication The Clergy-Man's Recreation: Shewing the
Pleasure and Profit Of the ART of GARDENING, Lawrence
stated, "great Care must be taken in the right ordering and

58 "Eureka!," comic, Citrus 10, no. 1. (1947): 7. Citrus, the
magazine in which "Eureka!" appears was a monthly publication
for citrus growers and aficionados published by the Florida Citrus
Exchange in Tampa, Florida. Thus, the regular readers/viewers of
"Eureka!" seem likely to have been industry insiders and not
necessarily the general public. With this in mind, it is likely that
"Eureka!" was intended as entertainment and not as a criticism of
the experiment sector of the industry as one might expect if the
audience were comprised of outsiders, who might be either
disaffected by industry growth/progress or disenchanted with
scientists "playing God." Indeed, similar comic appear
throughout the magazine during the 1930s and 1940s.


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Rob Lever
disposing [of] your young Trees; for if they be not planted
according to Art . your Expectations may be in great
measure defeated."59 Richard Bradley, also writing in 1717,
similarly warned his readers about the risks of placing
different fruit trees close to each other. "[T]he Fruit of any
Tree may be adulterated" by nearby species "of the same
Sort, which [may] . cross our Expectations when they
come to grow up."60 Bradley went on to clarify his position:
'These Couplings are not unlike that of the Mare with the
Ass, which produces the Mule," which is a "Monster."61
It is well established that the vast majority of crosses
resulted in "inferior" and/or undesirable fruits.62 In 1915,
horticulturalist Lindsay S. Perkins recorded the "discovery"
of the pomerange--the cross of the pummelo and an orange-
-among the orange groves of the late E. D. M. Perkins in
Winter Garden, Florida. Though Perkins described the
pomerange favorably, particular noting its "good shipping
qualities," the fruit never seems to have garnished much
interest. In fact, Hume, Swingle, and Webber did not even
mention the fruit's existence in their writings. Also found
among Perkins's groves was a fruit assumed to be the cross
of the pummelo and a lemon. Perkins immediately
dismissed this hybrid as being too "tart and . [of] bitter
taste."63 From time to time, however, hybrids will appear
that capture the imagination and tastes of scientists and
consumers alike, such as the tangelo, limequat, and variety



59 John Lawrence, The Clergy-Man's Recreation: Shewing the
Pleasure and Profit Of the ART of GARDENING (London: 1717), 6.
60 Richard Bradley, New Improvements of Planting and Gardening,
Both Philosophical and Practical. Explaining The Motion of the Sap
and Generation of Plants (London, 1717), 35-36.
61 Bradley, New Improvements of Planting and Gardening, 35
62 Bob Doyle, ed., Citrus (Menlo Park: California: Sunset
Publishing Company, 1996), 56.
63 Lindsay Perkins, "The Pomerange," The Journal of Heredity 6
(Apr., 1915): 192.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
of variegated lemon characterized by its green and yellow
stripped rind and pinkish-purple flesh.64
It should be noted that even "unintentional"
hybridization requires a certain amount of agency on the
part of humans. After all, to date there has been no
recorded incidence of plants abandoning their natural
habitats in order to re-establish themselves into patterned
landscapes for human convenience. For humans to
assume that the environment can be radically transformed-
-species ordered into existences unintended by nature--
without the occurrence of undesirable or unexpected
consequences, reflects a disconnect with reality.
Hybridization is simply one of the risks humans must deal
with as long as they continue to manipulate nature into
regularized plots.
Nature does not respond bizarrely only to human
action; it also acts on its own accord. One example of this
is the phenomenon of bud-sports, mutations at the bud-
level that result in alternative characteristics in fruit. If
viable seeds are produced, these changes can result in
entirely new species, making bud-sports an exciting
phenomenon among horticulturalists interested in
constructing "perfect" fruits and vegetables.
The first documented occurrence of a bud-sport in
fruit was made in 1741 by Peter Collinson, who noted the
development of "a russet apple . on a green-fruited
tree."65 Collinson also reported observing "peaches and
nectarines produced on the same tree."66 Since Collinson's
observations, bud-sports have been described in a number
of different fruits throughout the world. Indeed, between
1741 and 1936, A. D. Shamel and C. S. Pomeroy found

64 Doyle, Citrus, 81.
65 A. D. Shamel and C. S. Pomeroy, "Bud Mutations in
Horticultural Crops," The Journal of Heredity 27 (Dec., 1936):
487.
66 Shamel and Pomeroy, "Bud Mutations in Horticultural Crops,"
487.


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Rob Lever
2,761 documented cases of bud-mutations.67 Of these,
1,664 were observed in citrus fruits--thirty-two of which
concerned grapefruit.68
While the number of bud-sports Shamel and
Pomeroy found involving grapefruit is relatively small in
comparison to those found in oranges and lemons, the
impact they would have on the grapefruit industry would be
significant. Indeed, four mutations in particular--resulting
in the Marsh, Foster, Thompson, and Ruby Red varieties--
would completely redefine grapefruit, both as a cultigen and
a commodity.
The bud-sport resulting in the Marsh grapefruit
variety--with the possible exception of the supposed
mutation bringing about the origin of the species--was
probably the most significant "improvement" of grapefruit in
the United States. In comparison with the Duncan and
Walters varieties, which dominated Florida's grapefruit
cultivation through the first-quarter of the twentieth
century, the Marsh is a particularly attractive fruit. It
tends to be of a smaller, more manageable size than the
Duncan and Walters varieties, and, according to T. Ralph
Robinson, exhibits a "good holding quality," thus permitting
the fruit to be shipped farther and stored longer than was
typical at the time.69 These qualities allowed larger
shipments to be made, resulting in supply surpluses. Not
wanting to be stuck with large stockpiles of rotting fruit,
economically minded retailers and restaurateurs lowered
their prices, effectively opening up the grapefruit market to
low-income consumers.70 As consumers became attuned to
the pleasures of grapefruit, demand rose, and with it prices.

67 Shamel and Pomeroy, "Bud Mutations in Horticultural Crops,"
489.
68 Shamel and Pomeroy, "Bud Mutations in Horticultural Crops,"
489.
69 Robinson, "The Origin of the Marsh Seedless Grapefruit," The
Journal of Heredity 24 (Jan., 1933): 437.
70 Robinson, "The Origin of the Marsh Seedless Grapefruit," 437.


Alpata: A Journal of History







From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
More importantly, particularly for grapefruit
aficionados and certainly for the industry, Marsh grapefruit
is seedless. That is, each specimen contains less than six
seeds. When compared with the Duncan and Walters
varieties, which typically contain between thirty and fifty
seeds, this was quite an improvement. Once consumers
became aquatinted with Marsh, it seems to have become an
instant sensation.71 Indeed, Robinson reported that by
1933 Marsh grapefruit had become the "dominant
commercial variety" not only in the United States, but also
in "South Africa, Palestine, Australia, and South
America. "72
Given the demand for the Marsh variety after its
commodification, it is ironic that it was not marketed
earlier. After all, the documentary record indicates that
growers in and around Lakeland, Florida--where the variety
is supposed to have originated--had known about the
variety since at least 1862, thirty-three years before it
arrived on the market.73 Moreover, as Robinson indicated,

71 For example, between the 1941 and 1945 seasons, Florida
reported average grapefruit sales, processed and fresh, of
24,840,750 boxes. A standard box containing eighty pounds of
fruit. Of these, 10,055,750 boxes, or forty percent were "seedless"
with 14,785,000 boxes, amounting to sixty percent, being seeded.
While seeded varieties certainly comprised more of the total
production, it should be noted that approximately two-thirds of
all sold grapefruit were processed. Thought the sources do not
explicitly state so, it seems safe to assume that most of the
processed fruits came were of the seeded variety, with fresh-fruit
market obtaining mostly "seedless" varieties. J. C. Townsend,
"Florida Citrus Production and Utilization Crops of 1941-42 to
1944-45," Citrus 8, no. 2 (Oct., 1945), 5.
72 Robinson, "The Origin of the Marsh Seedless Grapefruit," 437.
73 Specifically, Marsh first developed on the estate of one Mrs.
Rushing, sold in 1862 to William Hancock. The estate was twelve
miles north of Lakeland, outside the town of Socrum. Webber,
"Cultivated Varieties," 579-80; Robinson, "The Origin of the
Marsh Seedless Grapefruit," 437.


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Rob Lever
Lakeland area growers were not only aware of the fruit's
existence, many of them propagated the strain for
themselves, being permitted by the Hancock's to freely take
from the tree's bud-wood and seed. By 1895, such sharing
had resulted in a number of simultaneous cultivation
centers. Until C. M. Marsh introduced the variety to
consumers later that year, however, it seems to have been
cultivated merely as a curiosity. Hume offered a suggestion
for why this may have been the case: 'This pomelo
[grapefruit] has not the distinct pronounced flavor of the
typical fruit."74 Webber agreed, although he did not believe
that consumers would be able to distinguish the taste.75 He
also suggested that its smaller size may have initially been
a hindrance to its propagation.76
While the emergence of "seedless" varieties, such as
the Marsh grapefruit, demonstrated to growers the random
possibilities that could result from mutations, nothing
could have prepared them for the discovery of R. B. Foster
at the Atwood Grove in Manavista, Florida, during the
winter of 1906-1907. That winter, Foster, the grove's
foreman, noticed that several fruits on a particular Walters
variety tree--one limb to be specific--had matured early.
Moreover, they displayed a rouge-tint on the rind, atypical
of grapefruit at that time. Curious, he cut into one of the
fruits to check its quality. When he did, Foster discovered
that not only had the rind coloration changed, but the
fruit's flesh lacked its familiar yellow-tinge. Instead, it was
pink.77 Further investigation would reveal similar
coloration of all the fruit borne on that limb. What had
resulted was a particularly rare mutation known as a limb-
sport. As later reported, "about seven-eighths of the tree

74 Hume, Cultivation, 102.
75 Webber, "Cultivated Varieties," 480.
76 Webber, "Cultivated Varieties," 479.
77 Technically, Foster's grapefruit is not pink, but clear. It is the
membranes of encasing the pulp that are colored, the pulp being
translucent simply reflect this color in light.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
[bore traditional] Walters, the" remaining eighth, bearing
the pink mutation.78 The unique coloration of the fruit
captured the imagination of Florida's grapefruit cultivators,
particularly E. N. Reasoner of Oneco, Florida. By 1914,
after extensive testing to determine the viability and
permanence of the fruit's "pink" flesh, Reasoner included
the variety among his catalogue, naming the fruit for its
"founder," R. B. Foster.79
Any dreams Reasoner had about the Foster's variety
revolutionizing the grapefruit industry as the Marsh variety
had, however, were short-lived. In 1913, "not more than
five miles south of the Atwood Grove," where the Foster's
variety originated, a second pink-fleshed grapefruit was
found.80 Similar to the "discovery" of its predecessor, this
new mutation was identified by the grove's foreman as he
tested the quality of several "choice" fruits to fill a special
order.81 "On cutting one of the fruits he found it to be pink-
fleshed and seedless. He knew at once that it must be
something unusual."82 And indeed, it was. Whereas the
Foster's variety had been a mutation of the Walters
grapefruit, this second variation had resulted from a bud-
sport of the Marsh "seedless" variety.
For those aware of the mutation, the implications
must have been mind-boggling. In theory, once its
permanence could be confirmed, consumers would be able
to choose between pink and white "seedless" grapefruit--
receiving everything they enjoyed about the Marsh variety,
but now with the novelty of exotic coloration. As he had

78 Robinson, "The Bud-Sport Origin of a New Pink-Fleshed
Grapefruit in Florida," The Journal of Heredity 12 (May, 1921):
195.
79 Robinson, "Pink-Fleshed," 195.
80 This would be cultivated as the Thompson grapefruit. Unlike
the Foster's variety, the coloration of Thompson is due to
pigmentation in the pulp.
81 S. A. Collins was the founder of the Thompson variety.
82 Robinson, "Pink-Fleshed," 197.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Rob Lever
done when the Foster's variety appeared, E. N. Reasoner
quickly acquired, tested, and commodified the pink-Marsh,
marketing it under the name Thompson in 1921.83 To say
that grapefruit cultivators were delighted with the
appearance of the Thompson variety would be an
understatement. They were ecstatic. Indeed, in April 1924,
just three years after the variety's formal commodification,
L. B. Skinner dubbed the Thompson grapefruit to be "the
queen of all grapefruit" and admiringly proclaimed "her
beauty and excellence."84 Despite industry hopes, however,
the Thompson variety, as the Foster's before it, failed to
significantly alter the industry.
At first glance, it may seem odd that both the Foster
and Thompson varieties failed to develop into mass-
marketable products. But the reasons are not complicated
at all, and indeed, fit snuggly within the citrus industry's
obsession with perfection and standardization. For growers
concerned with consistently meeting consumer
expectations, the Foster and Thompson grapefruits would
become too much of a liability. In the case of the
Thompson grapefruit, the mutation, while resulting in
radically different flesh color, did not significantly alter any
other quality or characteristic of the parent variety. This
feature made it difficult, if not impossible to distinguish
between the Marsh and Thompson fruits. Short of cutting
open each specimen, there was no definite way to guarantee
flesh coloration. Consequently, by marketing these
varieties, the industry risked disappointing consumers. The
potential fallout should a consumer order a link-grapefruit
and receive yellow--or vice versa--was more than most
growers wanted to deal with. This anxiety would only be
exaggerated as cultivators discovered soon after the
variety's commodification that as Thompson grapefruits



83 Thompson was the name of the grove's proprietor.
84 Skinner, "Seedless Pink Marsh," 19.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
aged their flesh faded from a "'beautiful pink"' to a "'shade
of amber. "'85
In terms of the Foster variety, growers had to
consider the path of progress. Given the advent,
cultivation, and developing consumer demand for Marsh
"seedless" grapefruit, marketing the Foster grapefruit, with
its high-seed count--a result of its Walters variety heritage--
was somewhat defeatist. For most growers, selling a
dependable, popular variety was more important than
marketing yesterday's fruit in a novelty color.
This is not to say that Florida's grapefruit growers
were not interested in marketing a pink-grapefruit. For
certainly they were. However, for such a variety to be viable
it would have to be guaranteed. As W. H. Friend pointed
out, what growers wanted was a grapefruit "that would
possess the desirable characters of the Thompson . but .
. also be possessed of the attractive pink 'blush' on the
outside of the fruit, characteristic of the Foster variety.'16
To the disappointment of grapefruit growers, attempts to
synthesize such a variation failed; either the crosses
resulted in seeded fruits or they lacked the desirable rind
tint.87
In August 1929, as the clouds of depression and
hard-times gathered on the horizon, the sun shined brightly
on the grapefruit industry. That month, while grower
Albert E. Henninger toured the grapefruit orchards of his
ranch in McAllen, Texas, he "discovered" what fruit
industry experts had been attempting to "invent" since the
arrival of the Thompson--a dependable and identifiable
seedless pink grapefruit.


85 Webber, "Cultivated Varieties," 582.
86 W. H. Friend, "The Origin of a Superior Red-Fleshed
Grapefruit: Bud Mutation of the Thompson Variety of Possible
Horticultural Value," The Journal of Heredity 25 (Sept., 1934):
358.
87 Robinson, "Pink-Fleshed," 198.


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Rob Lever
As W. H. Friend of the Texas Agricultural Experiment
Station in Weslaco observed, the bud-sport Henninger
found not only "possess[ed] the desirable characters of the
Thompson grapefruit but . also [exhibited]. the
attractive pink 'blush' on the outside of the fruit,
characteristic of the Foster variety."s8 More importantly
from an Industry standpoint, the lycopene that caused the
rind's coloration, also resulted in a "ruby red" coloration of
the fruit's "membranes and vesicle walls," effectively
deepening the flesh color of the fruit.89 Consequently, as
Henninger observed to the U.S. Patent Office in 1932, the
variation was able "to hold its color longer on the tree and
in storage, fading less than does the Thompson."90
To say that Henninger was overjoyed with his
"discovery" would be an understatement. He knew full well
the implications such a fruit would have upon the
grapefruit industry. Indeed, within three years of his initial
observation of the variety, Henninger would submit an
application to have his "invention" patented. On January
24, 1933, the U.S. Patent Office consented to Henninger's
request, making the "Ruby Red" grapefruit the fifty-third
plant to be patented in the United States.
The "invention" of the "Ruby Red" revolutionized the
grapefruit industry. At last, planters had at their disposal--
barring, of course, any further mutations--a species
possessing each of the desired characteristics; that was, a
"seedless," pink-fleshed fruit bearing discernable rind
pigmentation suitable for handy identification. No longer
would citrus developers, marketers, grocers, and restaurant
entrepreneurs risk the embarrassing presentation of the
"wrong" colored fruit to consumers. Based on these traits,

88 Robinson, "Pink-Fleshed," 198.
89 Department of Commerce: United States Patent and
Trademark Office, "Plant Patent 53: Albert E. Henninger, Colored
Seedless Grape Fruit," 1933, 1; Webber, "Cultivated Varieties,"
583.
90 Department, "Henninger," 1.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
once firmly established and marketed, the "Ruby Red,"
seemed poised to revolutionize breakfast tables across the
nation. It would, however, take some time, as growers
transitioned into cultivation of seedless, pink-grapefruit.
The Florida Department of Agriculture estimated in 1950--
the earliest date for which such statistics could be found for
this study--that only eight percent of grapefruit sales were
of "Pink Seedless Grapefruit."91 By the 1962-63 season, this
total would rise to twenty-five percent.2 Forty years later,
such fruits would comprise sixty-percent of Florida's
grapefruit production.93
Throughout the United States, citrus growers and
consumers would sing praises to Henninger's creation, but
not everyone would. There were many, particularly among
the scientific community, who felt that the patenting of
plants derived from mutations and other "fortuitous events
over which the discoverer has no control" was "absurd" and
a reckless misuse of the Townsend-Purnell Plant Patent
Act.94 One such person was Robert C. Cook, an editor of
The Journal of Heredity during the 1930s. Between the
advent of the Townsend-Purnell Plant Patent Act and
Henninger's "invention" in 1933, Cook devoted much of his
time and work challenging the validity of such patents. At
the crux of his argument, Cook demanded to know how a
naturally occurring phenomenon or thing could be
"invented," and thus patented. After all, he argued, had not


91 Florida Citrus Mutual, Annual Statistical Report ... Covering
the 1949-50 and Prior Seasons (Lakeland, Florida: Statistical &
Economic Department, 1965), 15.
92 Florida Citrus Mutual, Annual Statistical Report ... Covering
the 1963-64 and Prior Seasons (Lakeland, Florida: Statistical &
Economic Department, 1965), 1.
93 Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,
Florida Agricultural Statistics: Commercial Citrus Inventory
(Tallahassee: Florida Agricultural Statistics Service, 2002), 2.
94 Robert C. Cook, "Other Plant Patents," The Journal of Heredity
24 (Feb., 1933): 49, 53.


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Rob Lever
the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals rejected
applications endeavoring to patent uranium, tungsten,
thorium, and polished oyster shells on the principal that
the applicantst[] [were] not entitled to a patent" of naturally
occurring items and/or "natural qualities"?95
Cook had a point. By his count twenty-two of the
first fifty-three plant patents, including the "Ruby Red"
grapefruit, did not require direct human intervention to
occur.96 They were not, in the traditional sense of the word,
"invented." Indeed, Bosenberg's inventive process, as he
would later admit under oath, amounted to nothing more
than observing a difference in one particular rose that he
had purchased "for use in his work."97 As he maintained
after the fact, he "did nothing to originate the new form" of
Dr. Van Fleet Climbing Rose that he had received patent
for. Nevertheless, in spite of this seemingly damning
evidence, the Patent Office stood by its decisions. In fact, in
a letter to Cook in 1933, Commissioner Thomas E.
Robertson suggested that Cook had erred in his judgment
of the plant patents. He wrote, "no patents [had been]
granted on 'varieties of plants newly found by plant
explorers and others growing in a cultivated or wild
state."'98 A lie? Perhaps, but certainly not a case of
ignorance.
The main difference between Robertson's and Cook's
arguments seems to be one of interpretation of the intended
purpose of the Townsend-Purnell Plant Patent Act. If that
purpose, as President Hoover declared, was "to promote the
Progress of Science," what did that mean? Whose "science"
was to be the beneficiary of state-patronage? And, why?
From Cook's perspective, the only plants that deserved

95 Cook, "First Plant Patent," The Journal of Heredity 22 (Oct.,
1931): 317.
96 Cook, "The Commissioner Replies," The Journal of Heredity 24
(Apr., 1933): 164.
97 Cook, "First Plant Patent," 313.
98 Cook, "Commissioner," 163.


Alpata: A Journal of History






From 'Forbidden-Fruit' to 'Ruby Red'
patents were those--like Swingle's citranges, tangelos, and
limequats--that were actually created by some action on the
part of an individual. As he repeatedly maintained, simply
finding or discovering a natural object did not amount to
"invention." Such activities were things that practically
anyone with an observant eye could detect and certainly did
not qualify as science. After all, how much scientific skill
did it take for Bosenberg and Henninger to note that they
had in their possession something unique?
In contrast, to the government, as argued by
Robertson, the purpose of Townsend-Purnell was not
necessarily to recognize "inventions." It was, instead, a
method to "more . adequately] recompense" plant
breeders "for the often arduous, persistent, and ingenious
efforts he must put forth in originating a new form"
including bringing that new form to market.99 As David
Fairchild, head of the United States plant introductory
station in south Florida observed, plantat breeding is a
strange combination of exciting instants and long periods of
watchfulness."100 Each time a mutation is observed or
discovered, it could not be touted immediately as the next
big thing. Rather, the mutated species had to be tested; its
viability and permanence verified. It was a difficult process,
long, arduous, boring, costly, and most of the time provided
less than satisfactory results. From the governments
perspective, those individuals who invested their time in
improving the nation's plants in this manner deserved some
kind of reward, hence Townsend-Purnell.
The rhetoric of Townsend-Purnell fit nicely with the
Darwinian spirit of improvement and perfection that
characterized the era, particularly appealing to the
emerging science of eugenics. If growers had not

99 Cook, "Other Plant Patent," 49.
100 David Fairchild, "The Fascination of Making a Plant Hybrid:
Being a Detailed Account of the Hybridization of Actinidia arguta
and Actinidia chinensis," The Journal of Heredity 18 (Feb., 1927):
49.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Rob Lever
considered it before, Townsend-Purnell inspired them to
cleanse the plant kingdom, purging undesirable species and
uplifting those deemed to be of utmost importance.
Moreover, it appealed to humanity's sense of environmental
control. Whereas before Townsend-Purnell plant growers
could only "improve" the land through ordering it, by
offering them patents growers could become "creators,"
accomplishing what only God had done before.


Alpata: A Journal of History








Folklore and the Creation of
Indian Womanhood

Nancy Tran





Introduction
The history of India cannot be separated from its
folklore. These tales, myths, songs, some written, others
passed along orally, carried with them the bits and pieces
that made up India's ancient past. Sri Chittaranjan
Chatterjee, the vice chairman of Calcutta's All-India
Folklore Conference (1964), voiced the influence of folklore,
stating, it "touched every aspect of traditional and cultural
life."1 Consequently, by examining folklore, insight can be
gained on the views and the cultural ideology of the people.
Folklore was always a significant part of India, but
its importance arose during the nineteenth-century with
the popularization and proselytization of the Vedic past and
the myth of the Aryan women by Orientalists. These ancient
stories and texts were used as evidence to support the idea
of India's 'golden age': an era when women held a high
status and the sexes were equally educated. Sophia Wadia,
president of the Indian Folklore Society, stated that "no
mythological story, no traditional event in the folklore of a
people has ever been ... pure fiction."2 Her statement
signified the firm conviction that these ancient stories held
certain truths. Folklore was thus brought to the forefront

1 Sankar Sen Gupta, ed., Folklore Research in India: Official
Proceedings & Speeches at
the All-India Folklore Conference, Calcutta (Calcutta: Nabasakti
Press, 1963), 73.
2 Gupta, p. 81.


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Nancy Tran
and tied into the debate on the women's question that
monopolized the nineteenth-century reform movement in
India. It was proof of the historical prominence of Indian
women.
Folklore was used in a variety of ways. Of the most
important aspects of folklore was its ability to construct
ideals and standards for women. According to Bharati Ray,
the image of the 'ideal' woman was formed out of the
'classical' Hindu tradition.3 Through the portrayal of women
in these stories a model was set up creating the "ideal
woman." Proper decorum and behavior were also set along
with the birth of the paragon woman. Asko Parpola, author
of Changing Patterns of Family and Kinship in South Asia,
points out that Savitri, one of the most important models of
proper behavior for Hindu women, continues to exert much
influence.4 These stories were seen as guides for Indian
women to live up to and used as measures to be judged
against. These portrayals of women characters, like Sita of
the Ramayana, symbolized womanhood and defined what it
meant to be a woman.
These images from folklore were consequently
capitalized on by reformers and nationalists in India. They
were a means to obtain change and used as a rallying tools
for reformers' and nationalists' causes. Folklore was also a
crucial tool for early feminists, who sought to improve the
condition of Indian women. By invoking India's 'glorious'
past, the reformers could prove that women were once
educated and could be again. Therefore they were not
breaking away from tradition. This was an important side of
the argument used in the attempts to pass social reforms.
Furthermore, by summoning the image of the mother

3 Bharati Ray. Early Feminists of Colonial India: Sarala Devi
Chaudhurani and Rokeya Sakhawat
Hossain (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 40.
4 Asko Parpola and Sirpa Tenhunen, eds., Changing Patterns of
Family and Kinship in South Asia: Vol 4. (Helsinki: University of
Helsinki, 1998), 169.


Alpata: A Journal of History






Folklore and the Creation of Indian Womanhood
goddess and of other strong female personas, Indian women
were roused to join and support reformers and nationalists.
Therefore, folklore played a vital part in India and its
move towards gaining some degree of equality between the
sexes. On the one hand, it assisted woman in obtaining
certain privileges, like education. On the other hand, it
hampered women's progress in that these same tales and
myths set up boundaries which were difficult for women to
break through. Folklore's role is thus significant because it
was an approach to advance the women's movement;
however, it also set up limitations and restrictions on the
movement's progress.

Folklore and the Portrayal of Indian Women
Indian folklore painted women in two paradoxical
images. In some instances, women were revered as
goddesses, the honored mother of mankind and country.
Samjukta Gombrich Gupta indicates that it was during the
fourth- and fifth- centuries that a number of religious texts
glorified the Great Goddess.5 These were the Vedic Age
stories which included the Mahabharata, the Ramayana,
and other mythological tales. According to Bankim Chandra
Chatterjee, these epics and myths "constituted [India's]
religious history."6 They contained certain women who were
portrayed as powerful and clever. Bharati Ray pointed out
that Hindu scripture recognized women-power as the
adyashakti (primordial force) and of women's creative,
protective, and destructive capabilities.7 Furthermore,
according to Madhu Khanna, one of the most important
religious documents on the subcontinent, the Devi-

5 Samjukta Gombrich Gupta. "The Goddess, Women, and their
Rituals in Hinduism," in Faces of the Feminine in Ancient,
Medieval, and Modem India, ed. Mandakranta Bose (New York:
Oxford University Press, 2000), 93.
6 Shamita Basu. Religious Revivalism as Nationalist Discourse
(New Delhi: The Oxford University Press, 2002), 63.
7 Ray, 58.


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Nancy Tran
Mahatmya (5th -6th C A.D.), was judged to be a classic
Hindu goddess text.8 This implied the honored status that
goddesses occupied in Indian culture. These images
elevated the position of women into god-like proportions.
Females, portrayed in this light, were to be feared and
worshipped. From Hindu mythology there were certain
goddesses and women who epitomize these traits. These
include Durga, Kali and Satyvati.
Durga, the warrior goddess, was created to slay the
buffalo demon, Mahishasura. This tale began with the
inability of the gods to defeat the powerful demon, who
drove them out of their celestial homes. These gods, in their
failure to rid the demon, created the goddess by combining
their energy. Durga's embodiment of the sakti gave her
special powers which enabled her to destroy Mahishasura
and thereby save the gods.
This is a perfectly good example of the empowerment
of women through folklore. Due to the inadequacy of the
male gods, a female deity was produced to accomplish the
feat. Here, it is important to note that a woman was
created, not a man, to protect the gods. Durga, worshipped
as the battle queen, was neither submissive nor
subordinate. Khanna highlighted the point that Durga
"assumed an independent and autonomous status."
Furthermore she was "not portrayed in a domestic context."
The gods honored her as the highest principle of the
cosmos. She was the "power of creation, preservation and
destruction."9 Durga was a representation of the self-
sufficient women. She did not rely on the male patriarchy,
nor did she answer to the male gods. In addition, her
powers of destruction portrayed her as someone to be
reckoned with and feared.



8 Madhu Khanna. "The Goddess-Women Equation in Sakta
Tantras," in Faces of the Feminine, 111.
9 Khanna, 111-112.


Alpata: A Journal of History






Folklore and the Creation of Indian Womanhood
Kali, another martial goddess, also embodied that
image of the dominant woman. And like Durga, she too was
worshipped as a destroyer. "The black one" as she was
often called, was commonly painted with a long red lolling
tongue and a cavernous mouth ready to devour her
enemies. Kali was equally feared and appeased by the other
gods, and in earlier Tantric cults she was seen to embody
the power of the godhead. Although she was considered one
of the most terrifying deities in Hinduism, Kali was still
revered as the mother goddess who protected the world
from evil. The ferocious image of annihilation was balanced
by the image of the mother guardian. However, the
portrayals of Kali, dancing on her husband's corpse,
suggesting her superiority over him, showed that she
remained outside the ambit of the male dominated sphere.
Thus, Kali, the primordial version of Durga, encapsulated
the divine woman power.
Female divinities were not the only ones who
demonstrated the ability and supremacy of women.
Satyvati, the matriarch of the Mahabharata was portrayed
as a dependable and wise queen of Kurusjangal. According
to Jayatri Ghosh, she was the nation's savior. The queen,
after the death of her two sons, plotted out the course to
continue the male line and save the Kuru dynasty. Satyvati
was as the locus of ethical perception and judgment.
Ghosh's article underlined the unique situation held by the
Queen, for it was Satyvati, rather than any male figure, who
was the decision maker.10
An interesting fact to note was Satyyati's low caste
and mortal status which differentiated her from the
aforementioned goddesses. Before her ascension to become
queen, Satyyati was a poor fisherwoman who ferried people
across the river. Yet, through her beauty and her
intelligence, she rose "from outcaste to revered


10 Jayatri Ghosh, "Satyvati: The Matriarch of the Mahabharata,"
in Faces of the Feminine, 40-42.


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Nancy Tran
matriarch."11 Therefore, this portrayal of Satyvati permitted
all women, from every caste to identify with this image of an
exceptional and courageous female.
These myths idealized and empowered women by
relating them to the goddesses of great strength and women
of wisdom. The Sakta Tantras claimed that "woman is the
creator of the universe ... [and] the foundation of the
world."12 These representations projected a positive image
for women. One who was not only powerful, but also was a
creator, guardian, and savior, a goddess in her own right.
The woman was thus exalted because she was a woman
and has innate powers, like the sakti.
Nonetheless, these empowering feminine images were
balanced and in a way reigned in by the opposing depiction
of the devoted and sacrificing woman. Thus, the
counterpart of the dichotomy was portrayed by these female
characters that placed the male patriarchy above
themselves. Sangeeta Ray stated that the "women's power
is celebrated and curtailed in its evocation of a glorious
Hindu past."13 Therefore, although some of these female
characters were portrayed to possess awesome powers, they
were repressed and curbed by their steadfast devotion to
husbands, propriety, and chastity.
Ann Grodzins Gold and Gloria Goodwin Raheja state
that students of South Asian studies frequently view the
cultural image of Hindu woman as inherently split. The
opposing and oftentimes contrasting models of the
goddesses revealed this noted divide. On one hand, there
was the dangerous Kali; on the other hand, there was
Lakshmi, goddess of wealth, luck, and of the home. The
stately Lakshmi was "paired with and tamed by a divine


11 Ghosh, p. 45.
12 Khanna, p.115.
13 Sangeeta Ray, En-Gendering India: Woman and Nation in
Colonialism and Postcolonial Narratives (London: Duke University
Press, 2000), 19.


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Folklore and the Creation of Indian Womanhood
mate," Vishnu.14 The image of an autonomous goddess,
Kali, was now counterbalanced by the domestic Lakshmi,
who continually followed her husband to serve.
This paradigm of the devoted and self-sacrificing wife
was fortified by the story of Sita, the human incarnate of
Lakshmi. Her renowned fame was won through the
dedication and chastity she demonstrated to her husband.
As the wife of Rama, from the epic, the Ramayana, Sita,
followed her husband through the fourteen years of exile.
She remained true to Rama even during her capture by the
demon Ravana. Following her rescue, doubts arose about
her purity and virtue. This led to a trial by fire in which she
emerged unscathed but not exonerated from further
suspicions. Consequently, Sita was exiled by her husband,
whom she worshiped. In the end, she was acquitted of all
false offenses once Rama discovered their twin sons. Her
motherhood thus signified her innocence and Sita was
returned to mother earth.
During these trials and tribulations never once did
Sita utter a grievance or blame Rama for the injustice done
to her. Sita enshrined the embodiment of the chaste and
devoted Hindu wife. Her silent sufferings for uncommitted
sins and her acceptance of this fate was actually admired
by women. According to Raheja and Gold, Sita personified
the "ideal womanhood for both men and women in Hindu
society."15 Parpola stated:








14 Gloria Goodwin Raheja and Ann Grodzins Gold, Listen to the
Heron's Words Reimagining Gender and Kinship in North India
(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 30.
15 Raheja and Gold, pp. 33-34.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Nancy Tran
Sita represents ideals that live in the heart of
millions of Indians today. Countless wives
struggle to follow without complaint the
dictates of often inconsiderate husbands, and
Sita's example helps many to suffer their lot
bravely.16

The portrayal of Sita was as a woman who remained faithful
while accepting her tragic destiny and in a way triumphed
at the end as her innocence was discovered through her
motherhood.
Other examples of the self-sacrificing and devoted
wife ideal were Savitri and Draupadi from the epic, the
Mahabharata. The former, was one the most famous models
of the chaste and faithful wife in Sanskrit literature. Savitri
married Satyavan while knowing that he will meet his
demise in twelve months. She then left her wealth behind to
live in the forest with her husband and his parents. As the
time came nearer to her husband's death, his wife "took the
terrible vow that was known as the three vigils" in which
she prayed and fasted in order to reach a state when the
soul could hear and see things mortals cannot. When the
day finally came and Yama, the god of truth and death,
arrived to lead her husband's spirit to the afterworld,
Savitri trailed him. Yama, attempting to get rid of Savitri,
granted her a wish which eventually led to the restoration
of her husband's kingdom, birth of sons, and his return to
life.17
Draupadi was the devoted wife of the five Pandava
brothers. She was to spend each year serving each brother
as his wife. Yudhishthira, one of the brothers, in a game of
dice, lost his kingdom and his freedom, along with those of
his brothers. As a result, Draupadi was publicly humiliated


16 Parpola, 171.
17 Sister Nivedita, Cradle Tales of Hinduism (Calcutta: Swami
Anayananda, 1988), 51-63.


Alpata: A Journal of History






Folklore and the Creation of Indian Womanhood
and molested. A long exile ensued and afterwards an
eighteen-day battle in which the Pandavas were victorious.
Draupadi took her revenge by washing her hair in the blood
of the man who humiliated her. Afterwards, in the fairy
tale -like ending, Draupadi provided each of the five brothers
a son, thereby continuing the family line.
Both of these women shared the same nature of
absolute commitment and duty in their role as a wife. Each
had to make some sort of sacrifice which eventually led to
triumph. Savitri went through the terrible vow and then
fearlessly followed the god-of-death to rescue her husband.
This feat earned her the admiration of Yama who praised
her as "peerless amongst women...the brave heart that
follows the husband even into the grave."18 Savitri's actions
of fidelity were commended and admired. Draupadi was
ignobly gambled away and publicly humiliated. Yet she
remained by the side of her five husbands. As Bankim
Chandra Chattopadhyay states, she could, with "pride, tell
Satyabhama how she served even the other wives of her
husband just to please him. "19 These two tales within the
Mahabharata were pedagogical in the sense that they
outline the duties and responsibilities of a wife and more
broadly a woman's role and character.
In extolling Savitri's and Draupadi's sacrifices, these
tales expounded the idea that a woman must first and
foremost serve her husband and his family. Next, they were
to continue the family line by providing sons. Constant
sacrifice and wifely servitude would consequently bring
fulfillment, happiness, and reverence. A woman following in
the footsteps of Sita, Savitri, and Draupadi would win her
place and get rewarded if she was able to forgo her self-
interest in the name of the family. Ray wrote that in the


18 Sister Nivedita, 63.
19 Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Renaissance and Reaction in
Nineteenth Century Bengal (Calcutta: Minerva Associates
Publications, 1977), 190.


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Nancy Tran
new model grihalakshmi (goddess of the home) there would
be an automatic improvement in the quality of life if a
woman, like Lakshmi, worshiped her husband.20 Therefore,
the female was placed in the domestic context, which was
her sphere of obligation and her path to veneration and
worth.
This same model was also portrayed in more
colloquial folktales concerning the lives of ordinary women,
such as the story, The Daughter-in-Law who Got Her Way.
This was a popular tale with the endemic theme of the
tyrant mother-in-law and the abused daughter-in-law. In
the story the daughter-in-law was constantly abused by her
husband and his mother. She was overworked and suffered
from starvation. One day, unable to withstand her hunger,
she tricked her mother-in-law into leaving the home and ate
her fill in front of a statue of Kali. The goddess, in her
astonishment at seeing the speed with which the stew
disappeared gasped and raised her stone hand up to the
own mouth. The statue's new position caused an uproar
and fear throughout the village. In the end, the daughter-
in-law's ability to 'fix' magically the statue dramatically
changed her lot. "From that time on, the husband and his
mother made sure they were kind and respectful to the
daughter-in-law."21 Once again, a wife's devotion and toil to
her family paid off. After years of suffering, the daughter-in-
law was repaid for her commitment to her wifely duties. She
then lived the rest of her life 'happily ever after' at the price
of years of abuse.
The aggrandizement of these latter tales created a
shift from the self-reliant female to a woman dependant on
the patriarchy. The two portrayals of women were the
independent and warrior goddesses versus the sacrificing
and utterly devoted wife. The former was strong willed and
lived outside the patriarchy; the latter resided inside the


Alpata: A Journal of History


20 Ray, .39.
21 Krishnaswami, 34.






Folklore and the Creation of Indian Womanhood
patriarchal territory. These latter women needed the
patriarchy in order to attain worth and identity as they
were defined by how well they accomplished their wifely
duties. Samjukta Gombrich Gupta identified the two most
important roles of women in society were wife and mother.22
Thus, these latter tales show and identify the 'essence' of
being a woman as devotional, virtuous and altruistic by
praising those qualities in Sita, Savitri, and Draupadi.
Women were, according to Nancy Martin-Kershaw, to
adhere to the ideology of suffering, self-sacrifice, virtue, and
absolute devotion.23 Consequently, this led to the creation
of the image of the ideal woman as all those characteristics,
which would later on hamper the progress of the women's
movement. Initially, folklore was very useful in the progress
towards women's rights.

Folklore and the Women's Question
In the early beginnings of the women's movement,
Vedic folklore was used to advocate women's education.
According to Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade (1842-1901),
there were four methods open to reformers to obtain
change. The method of tradition, adopted by many, was
practiced by reinterpreting old texts to suit the needs of the
present. Therefore, the Vedic age stories were popularized
and its heroines glorified. Vina Mazumdar noted that the
much vaunted position of women in the 'glorious' past had
its darker side, like in the trials of Sita. 24 Then there was
also the Code ofManu, which observed that "verily a woman



22 Gombrich Gupta, 92.
23 Nancy Martin-Kershaw, "Mirabai in the Academy and the
Politics of Identity" in Faces of the Feminine, 168.
24 Vina Mazumdar, "The Social Reform Movement in India-From
Ranade to Nehru" in Indian Women:
From Purdah to Modernity, ed Nanda, B. R. (New Delhi: Vikas
Publishing House, 1976), 43-48.


Volume II, Spring 2005






Nancy Tran
does not deserve freedom."25 Nonetheless, these issues and
points were ignored and eclipsed by the more positive tales
in the fight for women's rights by reformers in the early
nineteenth century and later on by nationalist and
feminists.
Education was the top priority that reformers were
trying to obtain for women. Women of the Vedic past were
compared to Indian women of the nineteenth-century.
Mahesh Chundra Deb's "Sketch of the Condition of the
Hindoo Women" pointed out the bleak differences between
two. The author laments the "decline of [women's] ancient
fame and grandeur" from being valued. They are "punished
from ungrounded jealousy or a tyrannical whim"26 Not only
was folklore used as proof of the high status of women, it
was popularized to show that education for women was
acceptable. According to Alf Hiltebeitel, there was an
appropriation of the popular as the eternal truth of the
country.27
Another significance of folklore in the fight for
women's reform was the fact that by celebrating the high
status of women, these tales also showed the splendor that
was India. Again the tie between woman and nation was
made. According to James Mills's theory, the women's
status can be the measurement of a country's and society's
advancement. Therefore, the uplifting of women would
accordingly lead to the progress of the others. Furthermore,
the myth of the Vedic age lent support and credence to
Mills's idea. Thus, the need to educate women was

25 Veena Das, "Indian Women: Work, Power, and Status" in Indian
Women, 130.
26 Mahesh Chundra Deb. "A Sketch of the Condition of the
Hindoo Women: January 1839," in Awakening in Bengal in Early
Nineteenth Century (selected documents), ed. Chattopadhyay and
Goutam (Calcutta: Progressive Publishers, 1965), 94.
27 Alf Hiltebeitel, Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics:
Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims, and Dalit,. (Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press, 1999), 295.


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100




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