MEET PAULA IVASKA ROBBINS
Paula Ivaska Robbins is the author of two books on botanical history, both published by Purple Mountain Press: Jane Colden: America’s First Woman Botanist (2009) and The Travels of Peter Kalm: Finnish-Swedish Naturalist, Through Colonial North America, 1748-1751 (2007). A reviewer of the latter wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “So we must be grateful to Paula Ivaska Robbins for the first general-interest biography of Kalm in English.” “Ms. Robbins neatly describes the intellectual milieu of the time, when everyone who wrote on science seemed to know everyone else. It was a time of astonishing scientific breakthroughs, as she notes, and also lingering ignorance.”
Paula has given many presentations at botanical gardens and historical sites and will give a talk on “The Man Behind the Mountain Laurel: Peter Kalm in America” as part of the Zahner Lecture Series at the Highlands Biological Station, Highlands, NC, on July 22, 2010.
Paula lived in Concord, Massachusetts, for twenty years, conducted a walking tour of historic Concord, and is the author of The Royal Family of Concord: Samuel, Elizabeth and Rockwood Hoar and their Friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson. She has lectured on “Emerson and Abolition” at several Unitarian Universalist churches. She is also the co-publisher of UU’re Home, a bed and breakfast directory for Unitarian Universalists and other religious liberals www.uurehome.com.
Dr. Robbins taught adult education at the University of Helsinki in 1982 under a grant from the Finnish Academy. Among her six published books are two historical novels based on the life of her grandmothers: Nights of Summer, Nights of Autumn, in Finland from the 1890s through World War I, and in the Finnish immigrant community of Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Paula holds degrees from Vassar College, Boston University and the University of Connecticut and retired as the Assistant Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Her doctoral dissertation resulted in her first book, Successful Midlife Career Change, published by the American Management Associations. She has also been a medical editor and is certified by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences. She lives in the Westwood Cohousing Community in West Asheville and is a guide at the North Carolina Arboretum. She has taught several courses at the UNC Asheville Center for Creative Retirement’s College for Seniors.
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