NABOKV-L post 0014412, Sun, 17 Dec 2006 22:29:15 -0500

New England or Virginia?
If Nabokov did have Maryland or Virginia in mind as a possible location
for New Wye, perhaps he was familiar with Wye, Maryland, site of the
famous Wye Oak. I once gave a report on this tree in sixth grade
(conducting research which I always knew would come in handy some day),
but it's no longer what it once was. I quote from the website for Wye
Oak Park:

The Wye Oak, Maryland's State Tree and the largest White Oak in the
United States, toppled June 6, 2002 during a thunderstorm in the village
of Wye in Talbot County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Believed to be more
than 460 years old, the beloved tree was purchased by the State Maryland
in 1939, and was declared Maryland's State Tree in 1941. The purchase
marked the first time in American History that a government agency
purchased a single tree for preservation. The Wye Oak was one of
Maryland's greatest living symbols and was older than the State itself.

Maryland's first State Forester, Fred W. Besley, made the first official
measurement of the Wye Oak in 1909. Besley was amazed at the size and
breadth of the tree, and it quickly gained notoriety as the "largest and
finest specimen of white oak in the country." The tree soon received
national recognition in a November 1919 issue of American Forests
magazine that created a national Hall of Fame for trees, and include the
"Wye Mills Oak" as its first nominee. In 1940, the American Forestry
Association held a nationwide contest to locate "the largest living
specimens of American trees..." Again, the Wye Oak was the first tree
nominated, and held its title until the recent storm, and one of only
two trees to have survived since the contest began.

Nabokov might have gleaned such information from tourist books and
automotive guides while conducting research for Lolita.


Search the archive:
Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies: