Apiculture and Culture
Books on Bees and Beekeeping, SCUA, UMass Amherst
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American bees
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Moral and financial aspects of beekeeping

In works as diverse as Bernard Mandeville's Fable of the Bees and Hector St. John de Crevecoeur's vignette of the kingbird in his Letters from an American Farmer, bees have been seen as mirrors of human society, and just as often, mirrors for it. Since ancient times, bees have been held up as paragons of natural diligence, efficiency, industry, and thrift, and apiarists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were as diligent as bees in their efforts to harness these apiarian lessons and apply them to human culture. The apparent unity of purpose and continual activity of bees made the hive a symbol for groups as diverse as the early Mormons, Freemasons, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen.

As metaphor or economic resource, beekeeping was seen as presenting singular opportunities to both the individual and the state. For writers like James Bonner, bees offered a means to increase the wealth of the nation, while the pseudonymous Country Curate saw spiritual and intellectual gain in bees as much as financial. Often the benefit of keeping stocks of bees was singled out as of particular value to poor farmers in supplementing their income, the rural cottager being able to profit most from the obedient and toilsome bee.

[ Moral & financial ][ Crevecoeur ][ Bonner ][ Cotton ][ Milton ][ Country curate ]

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