In the mid 1970s, John Hanson Mitchell discovered over 2,000 antique glass plate negatives in the attic of an old estate in Massachusetts, the work of a little-known African American named Robert Gilbert. "Looking for Mr. Gilbert" is filled with music, natural history, African-American history, and the world of early photography as Mitchell uncovers the life of this remarkable American.
John Hanson Mitchell's work is focused on a square mile tract of land known as Scratch Flat, located about thirty-five miles north-west of Boston. Mitchell has used this anomalous landscape of rolling hills, farms, forests and encroaching suburbs to explore his continuing interest in natural and human history and the whole question of place in human cultures, both native and European. Best known of this series of books is the first, Ceremonial Time: Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile, a New York Times Editors' Choice. The latest book in the group is An Eden of Sorts: The Natural History of My Feral Garden. All of these books have been collected together in a series known as The Scratch Flat Chronicles.