Today’s picture is featured in our new exhibit “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” which opens today!
I am guessing it was not a hot day in Chinese Turkestan when this picture was taken, since today’s featured man is sporting a full beard, a high furry hat, a fur-lined coat, and boots.
Did I mention it’s nearly 100° F here in Washington, DC? That the facade of the National Archives building shimmers like a mirage, one with a cool, dark Rotunda with documents kept at a careful 64° for preservation?
But I digress. Heat is addling my brain.
Actually, the man in this picture is responsible for making people enjoy the summer more, especially if you love juicy apricots or sweet Meyer lemons. His name was Frank N. Meyer, and he was an “agricultural explorer” in the early 20th century.
Originally from the Netherlands, Meyer began working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1901. But he did not stay in the United States for very long. In 1905 he headed off to explore Asia, and later Russia and Europe.
His adventuring days were cut tragically short. In 1918 on his way to Shanghai, he fell overboard into the Yangtze River and drowned. According to the USDA, “His body was recovered, but the circumstances of his death will always remain a mystery and source of speculation.”
Meyer’s life, though short, has had a long influence. He brought back thousands of specimans, including the lemons later named for him, apricots, soybeans, and gingko biloba.
Let’s raise a tall, cool glass of Meyer lemonade to the memory of Frank Meyer, bearded explorer!