John Burroughs (1837- ), American poet and writer on natural history, was born in Roxbury, Delaware county, New York, on the 3rd of April 1837. In his earlier years he engaged in various pursuits, teaching, journalism, farming and fruit-raising, and for nine years was a clerk in the treasury department at Washington. After publishing in 1867 a volume of Notes on Walt Whitman as poet and person (a subject to which he returned in 1896 with his Whitman: a Study), he began in 1871, with Wake-Robin, a series of books on birds, flowers and rural scenes which has made him the successor of Thoreau as a popular essayist en the plants and animals environing human life. His later writings showed a more philosophic mood and a greater disposition towards literary or meditative allusion than their predecessors, but the general theme and method remained the same. His chief books, in addition to Wake-Robin, are Birds and Poets (1877), Locusts and Wild Honey (1879), Signs and Seasons (1886), and Ways of Nature (1905); these are in prose, but he wrote much also in verse, a volume of poems, Bird and Bough, being published in 1906. Winter Sunshine (1875) and Fresh Fields (1884) are sketches of travel in England and France.

A biographical sketch of Burroughs is prefixed to his Year in the Fields (new ed., 1901). A complete uniform edition of his works was issued in 1895, etc. (Riverside edition, Cambridge, Mass.).