Henry Bugbee – A Lifelong Thinker on Nature and Wilderness
Henry Bugbee became an inconsequent lecturer at several renowned universities – Stanford, Harvard, Chatham College and Penn State – yet has fallen into relative obscurity despite his influential philosophizing on nature and wilderness. Yet his legacy continues to influence us today.
This book brings his work out of obscurity, beginning with student writings and moving through published and unpublished work.
Early Life and Education
Bugbee was an avid reader, yet his ideas often languished in relative obscurity. This book introduces him as an early environmental philosopher and deep thinker about nature.
This volume presents Rodick’s writings from various stages in his academic life: undergraduate thesis and dissertation, essays published during his lifetime and four never before published pieces as well as an extended interview recorded near the end of his life. Although his selections appear disparate at first glance, Rodick notes that strikingly coherent themes emerge.
Born into an affluent family in 1915, he fled Manhattan’s preppy world at Hotchkiss School and spent seasons hoboing to Wyoming hay farms before attending Princeton University and later UC Berkeley for his doctorate studies in philosophy. While aboard a wartime mine sweeper ship in the Pacific he overcame writer’s block and realigned his focus toward philosophy as his studies.
Bugbee earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1936 with his thesis entitled, “In Demonstration of Spirit.” Following this, he relocated westward for graduate studies at Berkeley but his academic pursuit was interrupted by World War II minesweeping duties.
Bugbee made waves with his 1957 publication of The Inward Morning, a daybook which combined East and West, nature and culture, the personal and universal. While its release left critics puzzled, readers appreciated his poetic philosophy of wilderness living.
The collection contains typescripts from lectures throughout Bugbee’s teaching career at universities including University of Nevada Reno Stanford Harvard and Montana where he taught for decades. There is also class material, correspondence notes and other writings by him that show annotation and underlining, possibly made by him himself.
Achievement and Honors
Bugbee was an immensely popular president praised for his executive and organizational abilities as well as for championing arts, culture and education initiatives. Additionally, he championed academic freedom.
His philosophical daybook, The Inward Morning, bridges East and West, nature and culture, the personal and universal. It has since become an underground classic that continues to influence a generation of philosophers.
At Allegheny, he implemented an energetic building program, retrofitting Bentley and Ruter halls and setting up cooperative boarding with Philo-Franklin and Ossoli women’s boarding houses as well as encouraging literary societies. Additionally, he served in World War II in both minesweeping and patrol duty, earning himself the Distinguished Service Medal in recognition.
Henry Greenwood Bugbee was born and raised in Hotchkiss, Colorado. After attending Princeton University for his undergraduate studies and Berkeley for graduate work in 1936 respectively, he interrupted both to serve in World War II’s Pacific Theater Navy as captain of a minesweeper minesweeper as Captain Henry G. Bugbee a minesweeper captain.
Bugbee’s writing not only drew on philosophical canon, but drew from various sources beyond it: from Plato and Aristotle to Herman Melville, Charles M. Doughty, Franz Kafka. He frequently invoked the power of “wild nature” while drawing parallels between himself and Thoreau.
He married Sally Moore and had five children: Ann Berkley from Lake Oswego, Joan Jackson of Cordova Alaska, Libby Bugbee of Missoula Montana, Morgan Bugbee from Beaverton Oregon and Taj Bugbee from Great Falls Montana as well as two stepchildren.
His net worth is estimated to be $3 Million. He has held various management roles within the shipping industry and currently holds senior partnership at Scorpio Tankers Inc and co-founds Hermitage Offshore Services Ltd as senior partner and co-founder respectively. Prior to its sale, OMI Corporation (aka “OMI for short”), which had NYSE-listed oil tanker shares until 2007, was under his leadership and served as its President until its sale.
Bugbee uses wilderness and nature as the backdrop to his book The Inward Morning to explore themes related to self-discovery. Following in Basho’s footsteps, he makes use of both literal and figurative themes to convey man’s journey of self-realization in nature, helping us find balance between mind and heart (Conway 260). Hamill also highlights this aspect of Basho’s poetry which relies heavily upon this setting for discussion of self-realization (Conway 261).