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Pulitzer Prize-winning author speaks on Sanibel

By Staff | Mar 7, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Pulitzer Prize winner Jack E. Davis with, from left, Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Executive Director Dorrie Hipschman and Steve Greenstein and Robin L. Cook, with The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company.

In partnership with the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company hosted a private presentation on Feb. 20 featuring Pulitzer Prize winner Jack E. Davis.

“We have a special relationship with the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum,” Chairman and Founder Al Hanser said. “We were honored to have the opportunity to host this event for our clients and friends. Mr. Davis is a force of nature – a true historian and advocate for our Gulf waters.”

Davis has spent a considerable amount of time on Sanibel and has visited the museum frequently. He said he learned a lot from the museum and its staff when writing his 2018 prize-winning book, “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea.” In fact, the opening of Chapter 18 was inspired by one visit:

“The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is one of those gems by the sea about the sea, a place of discovery and wonderment where you learn that compact creatures embody the vitality of expansive life,” Davis said.

His presentation, “The U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico: History, Wisdom, and Hope,” incorporated his lively historical view of the Gulf of Mexico. Significant beyond tragic oil spills and hurricanes, the Gulf has historically been one of the world’s most bounteous marine environments, supporting human life for millennia. Davis started from the premise that nature lies at the center of human existence, and took the audience on a compelling journey from the Florida Keys to the Texas Rio Grande, along marshy shorelines and majestic estuarine bays, profoundly beautiful and life-giving. At the center of his talk was the way people, from pre-Spanish natives to present-day coastal residents, have organized their societies and individual lives around nature, and how Gulf nature has been a positive force in human events.

PHOTO PROVIDED “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea,” by Jack E. Davis

Earlier that afternoon, the museum hosted a public presentation by Davis with 175 in attendance.

“Davis’ message resonates well with those who call Sanibel and Captiva home and with those who love to collect shells on our beaches,” Executive Director Dorrie Hipschman said. “It is an exciting time for the museum. With phase I of our aquarium expansion on the horizon, 2019 is going to be an incredible year of unprecedented growth for the museum and for the programs we offer our community.”

PHOTO PROVIDED Pulitzer Prize winner Jack E. Davis takes part in a book signing.