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As a young man, he had been a reporter for the newspaper San Francisco Morning Call. Although he spent much of his time traveling, Lathrop considered the Bohemian Club in San Francisco his home for the rest of his life.
After he became wealthy, Lathrop traveled around the world many times. In the 1890s, Lathrop met a young biologist named David Fairchild who he persuaded to become a plant explorer. He financed Fairchild and accompanied him on some of his early travels. Lathrop's travels with Fairchild are described in detail the Fairchild and Douglas books.
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Adventures in a Green World: the Story of David Fairchild and Barbour Lathrop. (Coconut Grove, FL: Field Research Projects, 1973) [That book contains an introduction by his nephew, Henry Field.]
- David Fairchild. The World Was my Garden: Travels of a Plant Explorer. (New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1938)
- "Barbour Lathrop" (obit). New York Times (May 18, 1927). Page 25.
- "Barbour Lathrop, Capitalist, Leaves $1,750,000 Estate." Chicago Daily Tribune (October 9, 1927). Page 4.
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