Friday, June 30, 2017

Botany - A Proper Female Pursuit for "the fair daughters of Columbia" in a British American Patriarchal Society

Early British American colonial botanist Jane Colden Farquher (1724-66) came from a traditional patriarchal family. Her physician father Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776) sailed to New York in 1710, He was Lt. Governor of New York from 1761, until his death & served as Surveyor General for New York. His scientific curiosity included a personal correspondence between 1749-1751 with Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778). Colden thought women should study botany because of "their natural curiosity & the pleasure they take in the beauty and variety of dress seems to fit them for it."  Moreover, he viewed such study as an ideal substitute for idleness among his female children, when he moved his family to the country in 1729. He believed gardening & botany "an Amusement which may be made agreable for the Ladies who are often at a loss to fill their time."  He went so far as to recommend that perhaps from Jane's example "young ladies in a like situation may find an agreable way to fill up some part Of their time which otherwise might be heavy on their hand May amuse & please themselves & at the same time be usefull to others."  Jane Colden far surpassed her father's amusement theory. 
The Fair Florist. British Museum

In South Carolina, Eliza Pinckney (1722-1793), who was responsible for profitably changing the economy of South Carolina by introducing indigo agriculture, wrote in 1760, “I love a garden & a book; & they are all my amusement.”

The Rev. Mr. John Bennet (1714–1759), a Methodist English clergyman interested in the appropriate behavior (especially the conduct of women) for a moral society whose 1803 Letters to a young lady...calculated to improve the heart, to form the manners and to enlighten the understanding circulated throughout Great Britain & the United States, wrote"Attention to a garden is A truly feminine amusement. If you mix it with a taste for botany, and a knowledge of plants and flowers, you will never be in want of an excellent restorative."


Irish immigrant gardener, seed dealer, & writer Bernard M'Mahon (1775-1816), noted nearly the exact sentiments as father Colden in his 1806 Phildadelphia book The American Gardener's Calendar"The innocent, healthful, and pleasing amusement that Botanical studies might afford to the fair daughters of Columbia, who have leisure time to devote to such, is also a very important object, as in that way, many happy and enchanting hours might be delightfully spent to useful and salubrious purposes, which othecwise would hang heavily or be trifled away perhaps to disadvantage."

Thursday, June 29, 2017

James Vick's Seed and Plant Catalog from Rochester, New York

James Vick was born in Portsmouth, England on Nov. 23, 1818.  In 1833, at the age of 12, he arrived in New York City to learn the printing trade.  In 1837, he moved with his parents to Rochester, New York where he set type for several newspapers and journals.  In 1849, James Vick was elected corresponding secretary of the Genesee Valley Horticultural Society. Vick was associated with the "Genesee Farmer" as a writer and editor from 1849 became owner and publisher in 1855.  With Vick as editor, the publication became more elegant and circulation rapidly increased.  A year later he sold out to Joseph Harris.  On the death of A. J. Downing, James Vick bought "The Horticulturist" and moved it to Rochester in 1853.  It was devoted to horticulture, floriculture, landscape gardening, and rural architecture. About this time, Vick started to grow flowers and then began sending seeds out by mail to the readers of his publication. In 1855 he established a seed store and nursery on East Avenue in Rochester.  In 1856, Vick started "Rural Annual and Horticultural Directory."  The first half was a seed catalog and the second a list of nurserymen.  This was taken over in 1857 by Joseph Harris who continued it until 1867.

With Vick’s knowledge of chromolithography and training as a printer, he produce a catalog and later a monthly magazine.  The first, "Floral Guide and Catalogue" was printed in 1862.  His "Floral Guides" provided gardening advice, quality color prints, and reached a circulation of 250,000.  He entertained his readers with anecdotes, published letters he had received, and had a special section for children. By 1870, his mail was averaging over 3000 letters and over 300 orders a day.  As many as 150,000 catalogs were sent out each year.  A staff of more than 100 worked in the office and packing house.  There were over 75 acres of seed gardens scattered about the city.  In 1876, the catalog offered 46 pages of general gardening information followed by a price list. In 1878, Vick started a paper, "Vick’s Illustrated Monthly" which was published by the Vick Seed Company in Rochester and in Dansville until 1909.  This magazine was sold by subscription. Vick also printed a set of prints that were either sold or offered as premiums with large orders. Vick was one of the most successful horticultural seedsman, writers, and merchandisers of his day. The Vick Seed Company continued into the 20th century before being sold to the Burpee Seed Co.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Botany - A Philadelphia Seed Dealer & a New York Teacher on why Women should learn Botany

Irish immigrant gardener, seed dealer, nurseryman, & writer Bernard M'Mahon (1775-1816), noted in his 1806 Philadelphia book The American Gardener's Calendar"The innocent, healthful, and pleasing amusement that Botanical studies might afford to the fair daughters of Columbia, who have leisure time to devote to such, is also a very important object, as in that way, many happy and enchanting hours might be delightfully spent to useful and salubrious purposes, which otherwise would hang heavily or be trifled away perhaps to disadvantage."

Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps (1793-1883) who taught at the Troy Female Seminary wrote in her 1829 Familiar Lectures on Botany "The study of botany seems particularly suited to females; the objects of its investigation are beautiful and delicate."  
In 1821, Emma Hart Willard opened the Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York, to provide young women with the same higher education as their male peers. Prior to the school's founding, most young women had been unable to pursue the advanced curricular offerings in mathematics, classical languages, and the sciences, including botany, that were taught to their male counterparts. Having taught for several years, Emma Willard perceived the egregious disparity in what girls learned compared to boys. She was able to formally found the Troy Female Seminary "for young ladies of means," becoming "the first school in the country to provide girls the same educational opportunities given to boys."  The school was immediately successful, and it graduated many great thinkers, including noted social reformer and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
School for Girls by Jan Josef Horemans (1682–1759)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A W Livingston's Sons 1895 Seed Annual from Columbus, OH

A W Livingston's Sons 1895 Seed Annual from Columbus, OH
Alexander W. Livingston was born on October 14, 1822, near Reynoldsburg, Ohio. He grew up on his family's farm & received limited schooling. He could read & write & do simple math problems. While still a child, Livingston showed an interest in seeds & plants, & many Reynoldsburg residents viewed him as an authority on these subjects. Upon reaching adulthood, Livingston married Matilda Dickey Graham. The couple had 10 children. In 1852, Livingston purchased 70 acres of land near Reynoldsburg. Here he developed A.W. Livingston Buckeye Seed Gardens, a seed business. His business quickly prospered. At this time, Livingston began to try to improve the tomato. He succeeded in doing so in 1870. Livingston spent two decades breeding his "Paragon" tomato. Tomatoes existed before Livingston, but they were small fruits with a sour taste. Livingston's Paragon was much larger & had a sweeter taste. Over the next 28 years, Livingston developed more than 30 other varieties of tomatoes. His work helped to make tomatoes more popular with American cooks. A scientist until the end of his life, Livingston died in 1898.
Timeline:
1822 - Founder Alexander W Livingston b in Reynoldsburg, OH 
1842 - Begins working for a local seed grower. 
1844 - Marries and leases land to begin farming.
1852 - Purchases his own land for a farm & seed business. 
1856 - Purchases 400 boxes of the Buckeye Garden Seed Company from Robert Robertson who was moving to Iowa.  During the late 1850s and early 1860s, business does well; and Livingston is able to expand his farming and seed operations. 
1864-65 - Builds a family home and consolidates seed and farming operations in one location. 
1875-76 - The Buckeye Garden Seed Company went bankrupt in the economic crash that affected many businesses in the nation. The business is dissolved and new entity formed by son Robert and named, "A. W. Livingston's Sons." Marketing was expanded using seed catalogs and advertising in newspapers and magazines. 
1880 - The company moves from Reynoldsburg to Columbus, Ohio. Alexander moves to Des Moines, Iowa after purchasing the farm of his friend Robert Robertson. Alexander's plan was to relocate the entire company to Iowa, but the business was prospering in Columbus under his son's management. 
1890 - After Alexander's wife passes away, he turned over the Iowa seed business to his son, Josiah. He returned to Ohio and began to work on his book, "Livingston and the Tomato." It was part autobiographical, part instructional, and part agricultural history. It combined information about Livingston's methods, the history of the tomato as a food crop, and even contained a large selection of compiled recipes. 
1898 - The company is incorporated as the Livingston Seed Company. Founder, A. W. Livingston passes away. 
1919 - The Livingstons were big players in the seed trade industry interacting with many major seed houses. They had their own grow outs as well as 'traded' stock. On April 1st, 1919, a fire broke out at one of their warehouses destroying everything. The McCullough's Sons Seed Company from Cincinnati, took the train up to Columbus the next day, gathered up what they could, and filled orders for the Livingstons. Even with their help, Livingstons still was forced to send out a form letter returning orders along with money.  
1930s - By the late 1930s, the seed industry had begun to change. The company survived by moving into field seeds, and dropped tomatoes from their line. 1937 - The United States Department of Agriculture's "Yearbook of Agriculture" for the year 1937 published the following short history: "The work of A. W. Livingston, of Columbus, Ohio, and his associates and successors in the Livingston Seed Co. has resulted in the introduction of more new varieties than that of any other private group. Most of the varieties introduced by the Livingstons were of their own finding or origination, but some were obtained from other growers. Paragon, from a chance seedling, was their first introduction (1870). The famous old variety Acme was developed by A. W. Livingston from a single superior plant found in a field of mixed stock and introduced in 1875. Like the Trophy, this variety was the source or served as one parent of many subsequently introduced varieties. In 1880 Perfection, a chance variant in Acme, was introduced. Livingston next brought out Golden Queen in 1882, Favorite in 1883, Beauty in 1886, Potato Leaf in 1887, Stone in 1889, and Royal Red in 1892. This last was developed from seven similar plants found in a field of Dwarf Champion by M. M. Miesse. The others just named were chance seedlings occurring in varieties the names of which are not known. These were followed by Aristocrat and Buckeye State in 1893, Honor Bright in 1897, and Magnus in 1900, as chance seedlings in varieties not recorded. In 1903 Dwarf Stone was introduced; it was a chance seedling found in Stone. Globe is from a cross between Stone and Ponderosa made about 1899 by Robert Livingston and was introduced in 1905. Hummer, another introduction, was selected out of Paragon. Of this impressive list introduced by the Livingstons, Stone and Globe are among the most important varieties grown today. Acme, Beauty, Buckeye State, Dwarf Stone, Golden Queen, and Perfection are still listed by some seed producers although they are not extensively grown." "With all due credit to the important contributions of other growers, seedsmen, and investigators, it is not out of place to call attention again to the great contribution of the Livingston Seed Co. to tomato improvement. Of about 40 varieties that had attained a distinct status prior to 1910, a third were productions or introductions by the Livingston company. If we add those varieties derived directly from Livingston productions and introductions, it appears that half of the major varieties were due to the abilities of the Livingstons to evaluate and perpetuate superior material in the tomato." 
1947 - The last wholesale catalog was produced. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Botany - Why Proper, 18C Religious Women Should Learn Botany

Louis Carrogis de Carmontelle, 1717-1806. French artist Madame la comtesse de Vauban, 1776.

The Rev. Mr. John Bennet (1714–1759), a clergyman interested in the appropriate behavior (especially the conduct of women, except, of course, those he was attracted to) for a moral society whose Letters to a young lady...calculated to improve the heart, to form the manners and to enlighten the understanding circulated throughout Great Britain & the United States, wrote"Attention to a garden is A truly feminine amusement. If you mix it with a taste for botany, and a knowledge of plants and flowers, you will never be in want of an excellent restorative."  Apart from his preaching activities and his ideas about how women should spend their time, Bennet is also remembered for his marriage to the widow nurse Grace Murray on 3 October 1749, a woman who at the time of Bennet’s proposal was already engaged to John Wesley 1703-1791 himself. This affair and a few differences in beliefs led to Bennet’s departure from Wesley's Methodism. In 1752, Bennet, left the Methodist Church in Bolton, Lancashire, taking a large segment of the Methodist society with him. He served as minister at Bolton for the following 2 years. In 1754, Bennet, now ordained as a Congregationalist Minister, pastored a church in Cheshire. On 24 May 1759, Bennet, fatigued with much preaching and seemingly constant sickness, died at the age of 45.
John Wesley 1703-1791 by William Hamilton English artist, 1751-1801 National Portrait Gallery, London
Note: As a young man, Preacher John Wesley was reticent even to tell his young first love, that he was fond of her. She found another. This was not John Wesley's only disappointment in love. When he sailed across the Atlantic to the British American colony of Georgia, he was again attracted by a young girl, but now the situation was public, not private.  Sophy Hopkey was one of John Wesley’s young parishoners in Georgia. Wesley and Sophy would go walking or riding or picnicking. Unfortunately John Wesley waited so long to tell her that he cared for her, that Sophy had pledged herself to another man. That was "betrayal" in Wesley’s mind, and he took revenge by refusing to perform the marriage ceremony for the girl on the basis of narrow legalistic grounds. As a result, the whole community was in an uproar; and Wesley literally fled the territory, departed for England, and never sailed to America again. By then, Wesley had suffered 2 devastating personal defeats in love. He apparently was not emotionally prepared for a third. Upon his return to England, he met Grace Murray, who had been his nurse during an illness, and she became Wesley’s 3rd encounter with romance. Grateful for the kindness she had shown him, Wesley employed her as his assistant, while he preached around the country. She was devoted to him, and he became very attached to her. They decided on marriage, but unfortunately Charles Wesley and his brother John Wesley had agreed to allow the other to approve or disapprove of his choice of a bride. Charles not only disapproved of the nurse, but upon hearing of the proposed nuptials; he rode immediately to nurse Grace Murray and cajoled her into to marrying one of John’s preachers instead. That preacher was the botany-loving, but short-lived John Bennet.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

1894 Charles A Green's Fruit Instruction Manual From Rochester, NY

Charles A Green was born on a farm near Rochester, NY.  He became a banker for 15 years; until the financial panic of 1873, when he returned to farming 12 miles south of Rochester. He loved growing and selling fruits especially apple and peach trees, and also published books on fruit growing and edited a horticultural magazine for over 30 years.  

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Botany - Early New York Botanist Jane Colden Farquher 1724-66

A Proper Female Pursuit for "the fair daughters of Columbia" in a Patriarchal Society

Early botanist Jane Colden Farquher (1724-66) came from a traditional patriarchal family. Her physician father Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776) sailed to New York in 1710, He was Lt. Governor of New York from 1761 until his death & served as Surveyor General for New York. His scientific curiosity included a personal correspondence between 1749-1751 with Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778).

1748-52 John Wollaston (American colonial era painter, 1710-1775) Cadwallader Colden.  Colden thought women should study botany because of "their natural curiosity & the pleasure they take in the beauty and variety of dress seems to fit them for it."  Moreover, he viewed such study as an ideal substitute for idleness among his female children, when he moved his family to the country in 1729. He believed gardening & botany "an Amusement which may be made agreable for the Ladies who are often at a loss to fill their time."  He went so far as to recommend that perhaps from Jane's example "young ladies in a like situation may find an agreable way to fill up some part Of their time which otherwise might be heavy on their hand May amuse & please themselves & at the same time be usefull to others."

A letter of 1755 from Colden to Dutch botanist Jan Gronovius (1666-1762)
 "I have a daughter who has an inclination to reading and a curiosity for natural philosophy or natural History and a sufficient capacity for attaining a competent knowledge. I took the pains to explain to her Linnaeus' system and to put it in English for her to use by freeing it from the Technical Terms which was easily done by using two or three words in place of one. She is now grown very fond of the study and has made such progress in it as I believe would please you if you saw her performance. Tho' perhaps she could not have been persuaded to learn the terms at first she now understands to some degree Linnaeus' characters notwithstanding that she does not understand Latin."

Jane Colden far surpassed her father's amusement theory. She was the first scientist to describe the gardenia. Although she had to read the works of Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) in translation, she mastered the Linnaean system of plant classification perfectly. She catalogued, described, and sketched at least 400 plants. She actively collected seeds & specimens of New World flora & exchanged them with others on both sides of the Atlantic.
The South Carolina scientist Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791) wrote in a letter to John Ellis in 1755, that Jane Colden “is greatly master of the Linnaean method, and cultivates it with assiduity.”  

Peter Collinson (1694-1768) wrote about her to American plant collector John Bartram: "Our friend Colden's daughter has a scientifical manner. Sent over several sheets of plants very curiously anatomised after [Linnaeus'] Method. I believe she is the first Lady that has attempted any thing of this nature."  Collinson reported to Carolus Linnaeus, "Your system, I can tell you obtains much in America. Mr. Clayton and Dr. Colden at Albany of Hudson's River in New York are complete Professors....Even Dr. Colden's daughter was an enthusiast."   He later wrote to Linnaeus, that  Jane Colden “is perhaps the first lady that has so perfectly studied your system. She deserves to be celebrated.”  


Carolus Linnaeus also knew of her work.  He corresponded directly with her father; and in a 1758, letter to British naturalist John Ellis (1711-1778) tells Linnaeus that he will let Jane know "what civil things you say of her."  The only plant bearing the Colden’s surname is Coldenia, so named by Linnaeus, in reference to a relative of the Borage and Comfrey plants Coldenia procumbens.  Her work on plant classification was in a Scottish scientific journal in 1770, 4 years after her death.

Friday, June 23, 2017

John A. Bruce & Co. Seed Catalog from Hamilton, Canada

John A. Bruce & Co. Seed Catalog from Hamilton, Canada.  The Seed Warehouse of this firm, one of the largest and best equipped in Canada, was situated in Hamilton on the corner of King and McNab Streets, had a frontage of 30 feet on the former and 130 feet on the latter, occupying 7 plots. The business was established by John A. Bruce in 1850, and in 1861 his brother, F. C. Bruce, became partner. They popularized soybeans in Canada and beyond. Brothers John and Frank Bruce had supplied a Canadian market for quality seeds of all kinds since 1850. By the time John A. Bruce and Company first offered soybean seed for sale, it had an established reputation for introducing new and improved varieties of field crop, vegetable and flower seeds, tools, and ideas to farmers and gardeners throughout the Dominion of Canada.  Their exhibit mounted by the Bruce Company at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 was awarded the World’s Fair Medal and a diploma “for the superior quality of our exhibit of Oats, Peas, Rye, Millet and Timothy Seeds.” While the Bruce Company maintained a seed farm and trial grounds on Main Street East, Hamilton, in addition to its offices and warehouse at the corner of King and McNab Streets, many seeds sold by them in Canada were imported from Britain, France, California, and a few from Holland and Denmark. By offering larger quantities of seed at more favorable prices per unit, the Bruce Company targeted farmers who intended to plant soybeans as a field crop, not a garden or vegetable crop. John A. Bruce's seed-house encouraged farmers to buy their products "Farmers all over the Dominion are awakening to the fact that it pays to buy the very best seeds that can be procured, and our long connection with the best growers in the seed producing districts gives us exceptional advantages in securing the best samples offered, while our cleaning facilities are unequaled. The large annual increase in our trade with the farmers of the Dominion is an evidence of the superiority of our stocks and of the personal attention we give to the interests of our patrons. Our first grades of Clovers and Timothy are in all cases export seed." In North America, more seed and nursery companies came into being during the 2nd half of the 19C, especially after the US Civil War. Mail-order became much more common due to improved transportation networks and US postal reforms in the 1860s that made it cheaper to ship seeds and plant material, as well as catalog. Mail-order companies increased the size and number, often including colorful art, of catalogs they produced, and most catalogs were shipped to customers free upon request. As more business was done by mail, catalogs contained more detailed ordering and shipping instructions. John A. Bruce & Company, produced mail order catalogs and instructional leaflets from 1862-1932.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Botany - Why should Ladies study Botany and Gardening in the 19C?

Published by Sayer and Bennett 1782 London

Seedsman Grant Thorburn (1773-1863) gave space in his 1832 seed catalog to an idea often touted in garden literature of the early 1800’s - the encouragement of botany and gardening as a desirable & suitable occupation for ladies. It was considered proper, if a woman could afford it, to stay at home. To occupy her time with botany and gardening was thought to be an edifying activity that would improve the health, well-being, & perhaps even the temperance of her family members by providing a beautiful and cultivated home, that would be preferable to a tavern. 
Thorburn provided instructions for making herbaria, with the remark that this would be a better use of ladies’ time than compiling sentimental scrapbooks. All the same, the last 4 pages of the Thorburn 1832 catalog translate the language of flowers, with which ladies could convey secret messages in their bouquets. Pressing flowers, flower drawing & botany infused with sentiment were popular hobbies of 19C middle-class ladies, & the catalog clearly addressed this market.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Botany - From Southern Belle to Socialist Botanist - Eliza Frances Andrews 1840-1931

Eliza Frances Andrews 1840-1931
What would turn a fashion-loving, privileged Southern Belle into a Socialist botany geek?  From her birth in 1840 to her death in 1931, the world she had known turned upside down.  Eliza Frances Andrews (1840-1931), was born at Haywood, her parents' plantation near Washington, Georgia, a thriving planting community in the northeastern part of the state.  She had the history to guarantee her a firm position in the highest social circles of the Old South. The 2nd daughter & 6th of 8 children of Garnett & Annulet (Ball) Andrews, she was descended from James Andrews, an Englishman who had settled in Virginia about 1670. Her father, a prominent lawyer & jurist, encouraged his children's literary & academic interests.  Fanny, as she was known, attended the Washington Seminary for Girls & in 1857 received an A.B. degree as a member of the 1st graduating class at the La Grange (Ga.) Female College.

Strong-willed, determined, & sophisticated, Fanny Andrews possessed a freedom & self-assuredness unusual for a woman of her time. But soon, the Civil War exploded & was easily the central event of her life.  Garnett Andrews, though himself the owner of 200 slaves, was a Unionist who deplored & worked against secession, while all his children were ardent Confederates, 3 sons serving in the Southern armies.  Their home was not directly in the battle area, but late in 1864, after General Sherman's "March to the Sea," Fanny & her younger sister were sent for safety to a brother-in-law's plantation near Albany, in southwest Georgia. 
Haywood House & Plantation, erected in 1794-95 by Judge Garnett Andrews, from a photograph taken in 1892, after 20 years of neglect & decay, just before it was torn down to make way for a roadway.

Petite, lively, auburn-haired, & not noticebly inhibited by her traditional Episcopal religion, Fanny Andrews here enjoyed frequent parties, dances, & flirtations.  She also bitterly recorded in a diary her reactions to the fall of the Confederacy & the beginning of Reconstruction.  In 1865, once more at Haywood, she vowed never to marry but to pursue "the career I have marked out or myself." She would become a writer. 

In July 1866, Godey's Lady's Book published her views on the difficulties of remaining fashionable in wartime; here, as later, she wrote under the pseudonym "Elzey Hay."  In 1865, Andrews published an article in the New York World about the theft of gold & jewelry that was stolen along with Confederate gold from a wagon convoy in Georgia, purportedly a Northern officer's lament over the evils of Reconstruction. 

In the 1870s, she wrote about Eli Whitney & his invention of the cotton gin, giving credit to Catharine Greene for helping Whitney to refine his gin design. It would be a long time before historians acknowledged Greene's role in Whitney's accomplishment.

But as life resumed a semblance of normality with the Civil War & Reconstruction fading into the background. her interests in authorship, not a particularly trade, seemed to fade, & for some years she resumed her privileged life at home.  In 1873, however, her father's death & the loss of his estate through the speculations of a "trusted" adviser brought her to the verge of poverty.
Eliza Frances Andrews 1840-1931
The secession & the Civil War destroyed the Southern family's aristocratic way of life. Andrews's mother & father died within 8 years after the South's defeat. Fanny Andrews & her siblings were forced to sell the family home & plantations.

Confronted at the age 33 with the problem of day-to-day survival, Fanny Andrews initially turned to school-teaching.  For one year, 1873-74, she attempted to serve as principal of the Girls' High School in Yazoo City, Miss., where a brother was practicing law. Working under a Negro superintendent of education, she seemed to experience the painful alteration in status common to many of her class throughout the South at this time.  Returning to Washington in 1874, Fanny opened the Select School for Girls with a cousin. In 1885, after 3 years of illness, she joined the faculty of the Wesleyan Female College at Macon, teaching literature & French & working in the library. 

Circumstances had likewise renewed her interest in writing, & throughout these years she appeared frequently in print, under both her own & her pen name.  During this time she also began work on her 1st novel, A Family Secret, a fictionalized account of her wartime journal. It was published in 1876 to much critical acclaim & enjoyed a wide readership. A Family Secret, published in Philadelphia by J. B. Lippincott & Company, was said to have been that firm's most successful offering for 1876. Two other novels followed: A Mere Adventurer in 1879 and Prince Hal: or The Romance of a Rich Young Man in 1882. 

Though romantically nostalgic, these novels revealed Fanny Andrews' abiding disdain for what she saw as the vulgar postwar plutocracy & her resentment of the limited sphere of action prescribed for women. She never seemed to rid herself of the bitterness felt when her antebellum lifestyle was lost & seemed to hold both greedy Yankee capitalists & African Americans responsible. She also published serial stories in various periodicals & briefly attempted lecturing on the Tennessee Chautauqua circuit.

Fanny Andrews' most memorable literary work, however, was her actual personal diary she had begun in December 1864 & which she continued during the remainder of the war & the months immediately following.  Forth years later she decided to publish it. The War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl, issued in 1908, is a revealing record of experiences both major & trivial.  It has been compared by some historians with the diary of Mary Boykin Chestnut, & cited as offering "unexcelled" insight into "the minds & sentiments of many Southern women during wartime & early Reconstruction."

By 1900, Fanny returned again to Washington & began teaching in Washington's public high school Science. Turning serious attention to one of her lifelong interests, botany, she spent a summer immersed in research at Johns Hopkins University.  In 1903 her 1st textbook, Botany All the Year Round, was published. It was a simple, practical book especially useful in rural schools which seldom had laboratories or supplies. From 1898 to 1903 she taught botany in Washington's public high school.

Fanny Andrews had never been fully satisfied with merely sentimental or nostalgic justifications of the Civil War. Discussions with her Unionist father had forced her to seek a rational basis for her Confederate sympathies, & by the time she published her War-Time Journal she had found this, surprisingly, in Marxist socialism.  Economic determinism seemed to offer not only scientific confirmation of the Southern belief, that the moralistic Yankee crusade had masked economic purposes, but also the bittersweet knowledge that the rebellion had been "doomed from the first by a law as inexorable as the one pronounced by the fates against Troy." She also found satisfaction in the thought that although "wage slavery" had vanquished outmoded chattel slavery in 1865, the Yankee capitalists, in their turn, were soon to fall before socialism, her vision of the next evolutionary stage.  From 1899 to 1918 she listed herself in Who's Who in America as a Socialist, & she contributed at least one article to the International Socialist Review "Socialism in the Plant World," July 1916.
Eliza Frances Andrews 1840-1931
After her retirement from teaching, Fanny Andrews spent much of her time pursuing the study of botany, in which she had become interested as a young girl. Andrews became a strong proponent of conservation, writing articles to rail against turpentine distillers & developers for destroying woodlands.  She  was largely self-taught but ultimately achieved considerable competence in this area & produced 2 textbooks. Long an advocate of making botany a basic part of school curricula, she published high school textbooks, Botany All the Year Around, in 1903 &A Practical Course in Botany (1911).  

In 1911 Fanny’s 2nd, more advanced textbook was published. A culmination of 6 years of study in Alabama, the text was aimed at high school & college students.  She collected more than 3,000 plant specimens during summer travels throughout the American West, Mexico, & Europe. Having spent time at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute editing the text & working with other botanists, Fanny donated more than 3,000 plant specimens she had collected to the Alabama Department of Agriculture. Her 2nd textbook was translated for use in the schools of France.  She continued to write, mainly on botany, throughout the last years of her life in Rome, Ga.

The “Remarkable Behavior of a Veteran White Oak” was published in 1926. The royalties from her textbooks provided her with a comfortable income during her later years. In 1926, she was invited to become a member of the International Academy of Literature & Science, the only American woman so honored.

Dying in 1931 at the age of 90, she was buried in the family plot in Rest Haven Cemetery, Washington, Ga. "The exigencies of the times did away with many conventions," Fanny Andrews had written in 1908 of the impact of the Civil War upon Southern women (War-Time Journal, p. 21). Certainly its unsettled aftermath had opened the way for her own productive career.

See:
Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971
Georgia Women of Achievement  - Eliza Frances Andrews 1840-1931 
New Georgia Encyclopedia - Eliza Frances Andrews 1840-1931 

Monday, June 19, 2017

1898 The Conrad & Jones Co New Floral Guide from West Grove, PA

1898 The Conrad & Jones Co New Floral Guide from West Grove, PA
Alfred Fellenberg Conard (1835-1906) of West Grove, Pennsylvania–was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1835.  He descended from German Quakers who were part of William Penn’s Colony in 1683. He worked on his father’s farm and learned the nursery business from Thomas M. Harvey.  Conard formed the firm of Conard & Brother, but some time after 1862 he started a nursery business with Charles Dingee under the name Dingee & Conard. The business had 2 greenhouses, and the establishment was known as the Harmony Grove Nursery.  About 1867, the firm started propagating roses under a new system introduced by Antoine Wintzer.  Conard conceived the idea of disposing of their rose stock through the mail. Their first catalog offered bedding plants, shrubbery, bulbs, seeds, and roses. About 1892, Conard separated from Dingee and along with Antoine Wintzer joined with S. Morris Jones in 1897, to become Conard & Jones Co. The new company continued with the growing and distribution of roses and flowering plants. As another specialty, they worked on the improvement of the canna. Conard died on December 15, 1906.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Botany - Lucy Sheldon Beach 1788-1889 - Both Science & traditional Ornamental Studies in her Education

Lucy Sheldon Beach 1788-1889  by Anson Dickinson (1779-1852) 1831

Lucy Sheldon Beach, daughter of Daniel & Huldah Stone Sheldon of Litchfield, Connecticut, was born June 27, 1788. From 1801 until 1803, Lucy was educated at the Litchfield Female Academy. In 1832 she married Theron Beach (1785-1864), a physician, as his 2nd wife. None of their children survived. At some point in the mid-1800s, Elizbeth Prince Child, Lucy's first cousin once removed (Elizabeth was the granddaughter of Lucy's aunt Dothe Stone Cutler (1756-1805), moved in with her. She inherited her father's house on North Street (now called the Sheldon House) living there for her entire adult life. Lucy passed away on April 7, 1889 at the age of 100 years.
Lucy Sheldon Beach 1875

At the Litchfield Academy, founder Sarah Pierce experimented with innovative ways to unite the academic & ornamental subjects for girls. Botany & natural history lessons often were illustrated with watercolor drawings. Students drew & painted maps & made charts of historical events to reinforce geography & history lessons.  Students also illustrated poetry, literature, & mythological & biblical readings with elaborate embroideries & detailed watercolor paintings often emphsising garden & landscape design components. 

Although primarily interested in a strong academic curriculum, Sarah Pierce knew that teaching the ornamental subjects was critical to the success of her school. In the 18C, most wealthy parents were willing to invest in a son’s education, because it increased his chances of pursuing a profitable career. For young women the ability of their families to pay the high cost of an education became a symbol of wealth. The scientifically accurate plus decorative paintings & needlework made by the girls at female academies were hung in formal parlors as proof of family prosperity. Learning dancing, music, foreign languages, art & other ornamental subjects was also important for those students who wanted to become teachers or start their own academies, as no school for young women would be successful without them.
Hop Picking by Litchfield Student Lucy Sheldon Beach
Litchfield Student Rebecca Couch Mrs James C. Denison 1788-1863 Connecticut House
Litchfield Student Rebecca Couch Mrs James C. Denison 1788-1863  Flora 1803 Copying English prints gave the school's young girls an opportunity to explore a range of lifestyles.
The Sailor Boy by Litchfield Student Lucy Sheldon Beach
Litchfield Student Orra Sophronia Sears Mrs. Edwin Cooke (1798-1872) View of Earl of Burlington's House at Chiswick 1816
See:
"Beach, Lucy Sheldon (Mrs. Theron) 1802-1803 Journal" (Archives, Litchfield Historical Society).
1802 Litchfield Female Academy Catalog 
(Vanderpoel, Emily Noyes. Chronicles of A Pioneer School From 1792 To 1833. Cambridge, MA: The University Press, 1903).

Friday, June 16, 2017

Early American Botanist Jane Colden Farquher (1724-66)

A Proper Female Pursuit in an 18C Patriarchal Society

Early botanist Jane Colden Farquher (1724-66) came from a traditional patriarchal family. Her physician father Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776) sailed to New York in 1710, He was Lt. Governor of New York from 1761 until his death & served as Surveyor General for New York. His scientific curiosity included a personal correspondence between 1749-1751 with Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778).
1748-52 John Wollaston (American colonial era painter, 1710-1775) Cadwallader Colden

Colden thought women should study botany because of "their natural curiosity & the pleasure they take in the beauty and variety of dress seems to fit them for it."  Moreover, he viewed such study as an ideal substitute for idleness among his female children, when he moved his family to the country in 1729. 
He believed gardening & botany "an Amusement which may be made agreable for the Ladies who are often at a loss to fill their time."  He went so far as to recommend that perhaps from Jane's example "young ladies in a like situation may find an agreable way to fill up some part Of their time which otherwise might be heavy on their hand May amuse & please themselves & at the same time be usefull to others." A letter of 1755 from Colden to Dutch botanist Jan Gronovius (1666-1762) "I have a daughter who has an inclination to reading and a curiosity for natural philosophy or natural History and a sufficient capacity for attaining a competent knowledge. I took the pains to explain to her Linnaeus' system and to put it in English for her to use by freeing it from the Technical Terms which was easily done by using two or three words in place of one. She is now grown very fond of the study and has made such progress in it as I believe would please you if you saw her performance. Tho' perhaps she could not have been persuaded to learn the terms at first she now understands to some degree Linnaeus' characters notwithstanding that she does not understand Latin."

Jane Colden far surpassed her father's amusement theory. She was the first scientist to describe the gardenia. Although she had to read the works of Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) in translation, she mastered the Linnaean system of plant classification perfectly. She catalogued, described, and sketched at least 400 plants. She actively collected seeds & specimens of New World flora & exchanged them with others on both sides of the Atlantic.The South Carolina scientist Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791) wrote in a letter to John Ellis in 1755, that Jane Colden “is greatly master of the Linnaean method, and cultivates it with assiduity.”  

Peter Collinson (1694-1768) wrote about her to American plant collector John Bartram: "Our friend Colden's daughter has a scientifical manner. Sent over several sheets of plants very curiously anatomised after [Linnaeus'] Method. I believe she is the first Lady that has attempted any thing of this nature."  Collinson reported to Carolus Linnaeus, "Your system, I can tell you obtains much in America. Mr. Clayton and Dr. Colden at Albany of Hudson's River in New York are complete Professors....Even Dr. Colden's daughter was an enthusiast."   He later wrote to Linnaeus, that  Jane Colden “is perhaps the first lady that has so perfectly studied your system. She deserves to be celebrated.”  


Carolus Linnaeus also knew of her work.  He corresponded directly with her father; and in a 1758, letter to British naturalist John Ellis (1711-1778) tells Linnaeus that he will let Jane know "what civil things you say of her."  The only plant bearing the Colden’s surname is Coldenia, so named by Linnaeus, in reference to a relative of the Borage and Comfrey plants Coldenia procumbens.  Her work on plant classification was in a Scottish scientific journal in 1770, four years after her death.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The seedsman, the slave, and Louisiana Almonds - Richard Frotscher's Garden Manuel from New Orleans, LA

Richard Frotscher's Garden Manuel 1896 New Orleans, LA. Frotscher began to distribute his catalog in the early 1880s. Richard Frotscher was born in Germany in 1833, arrived in the USA by 1860 census in New Orleans, where he lived with his wife Emily Schwalm and their 6 daughters until his death in 1896. The 1926 edition of Steckler Seeds for Southern Climes states that "Frotscher began to 'distribute...pre selected seeds and plants, grown on Southern soil under Southern skies and Southern conditions,' to his clients and his success was immediate. The company was reorganized in 1896. 
The Seedsman, the Slave, and Louisiana Almonds
Around 1846-47, Antoine, a 1st name-only slave gardener from New Orleans, was credited as the 1st to successfully propagate Louisiana pecans at Oak Alley Plantation in St. James Parish. Antoine succeeded in grafting 16 seedling trees with graft wood taken from a tree at a nearby plantation. Eventually, he grafted 126 trees and developed the 1st grafted pecan orchard. By grafting a superior wild pecan to seedling pecan stocks, Antoine created a new pecan plant, an improved variety. Oddly, grafting to select trees for improved pecan production was not pursued again until after the Civil War. In 1877, another Louisiana planter, Emil Bourgeois, also of St. James Parish, revived pecan grafting. Antoine's new pecan, called Centennial, was named as an honor for winning the Best Pecan Exhibited award at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. Antoine’s plantings lead to the 1st official creation of improved pecans. William Nelson, of Jefferson Parish. Louisiana, established the 1st commercial pecan nursery. He began to propagate the pecan by budding and grafting about 1879. In the experiment he was greatly aided by Richard Frotscher, who was for many years head of the New Orleans seed house. The 1st sale of grafted pecan trees through a commercial nursery was by the seedsman Richard Frotscher and orchard owner William Nelson of New Orleans in the 1880s. New Orleans seedsman, Richard Frotscher, promoted Antoine’s improved variety throughout the South. Frotscher was a German immigrant who was friendly with Antoine’s plantation owner, Hubert Bonzano, another German immigrant and owner of Oak Alley Plantation outside of New Orleans. Frotscher took the promotion of improved pecans even further by spending time educating his customers on grafting, budding and top-working pecans in order to further improved varieties. The fact that pecans were a decidedly Southern crop, along with the strategic position of the Port of New Orleans, helped the pecan become a viable export product. From the shores of Louisiana, up the Mississippi river and through the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, pecans were shipped around the globe. The success of the pecan trade through the Port of New Orleans led to more pecan orchards being planted in Louisiana and other regions throughout the American South.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

German Botanical and Natural History artist Maria Sibylla Merian 1647-1717

Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Plum Tree with Blue Moth 1705

German artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) & her daughters Johanna Helena & Dorothea Maria raised the artistic standards of natural history & botanical illustration & helped transform the field of entomology, the study of insects.  From about 1450, European artists began to record the details of flowers, plants, insects, and animals. Maria Sibylla Merian was born in Frankfurt, Germany, into a family of publishers & artists. Her father, Matthäus Merian the Elder, published some of the most influential natural history & botanical texts of the 1600s.  Merian's stepfather, artist & teacher Jakob Marrel introduced his young daughter Merian to the art of miniature flower painting against her mother's will. Merian learned how to draw, mix paints, paint in watercolor, & create prints alongside her stepfather's traditional male pupils.
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Passion flower plant and flat-legged bug, c. 1701-5

Merian married her stepfather's favorite pupil, Johann Andreas Graff (German, 1636–1701), at the age of 18. In 1670, 5 years after her marriage to the painter Johann Andreas Graff, the family moved to Nuremberg, where Merian published her first illustrated books.  There, while having 2 daughters of her own, she also instructed her girls & the daughters of neighbors in embroidery & painting.  By 1686, Merian left her husband moving with her 2 daughters & elderly, widowed mother to a religious community in the Dutch province of West Friesland. When this religious community collapsed in 1691, Merian & her daughters moved to Amsterdam, the center of world trade & 3rd largest city in Europe. Johanna Helena & Dorothea Maria learned their mother's art. The 3 women set up a studio together, painting flowers and plants, birds, & insects.
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Vine branch and black grapes, with moth, caterpillar and chrysalis of gaudy sphinx, 1701-5

Merian's artistic and scientific interests outgrew Amsterdam's supply of exotic plants & animals. In 1699, the city of Amsterdam helped sponsor the 52-year-old Merian's travel to Surinam along with her younger daughter, Dorothea Maria, age 21. Before departing, she wrote: "In Holland, I noted with much astonishment what beautiful animals came from the East and West Indies. I was blessed with having been able to look at both the expensive collection of Doctor Nicolaas Witsen, mayor of Amsterdam and director of the East Indies society, and that of Mr. Jonas Witsen, secretary of Amsterdam. Moreover I also saw the collections of Mr. Fredericus Ruysch, doctor of medicine and professor of anatomy and botany, Mr. Livinus Vincent, and many other people. In these collections I had found innumerable other insects, but finally if here their origin and their reproduction is unknown, it begs the question as to how they transform, starting from caterpillars and chrysalises and so on. All this has, at the same time, led me to undertake a long dreamed of journey to Suriname."
Unknown artist, Portrait of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717)

Maria Sibylla Merian died in 1717. Near the time of her death, her watercolors were purchased for Czar Peter the Great of Russia. Shortly thereafter, Dorothea published a 3rd volume of her mother's The Caterpillar Book with 50 more of her mother's observations with an appendix on insects observed by Johanna Helena, who had moved to Suriname in 1711.  Around 1718, Dorothea moved to Saint Petersburg, where she continued to work as an artist.  Dorothea sold the plates of The Insects of Suriname to a Dutch publisher, who reissued the book in 1719 with 12 additional plates. Thanks to her daughters' continued diligence, Merian left a lasting mark on entomology. The images in this posting are attributed to Merian & perhaps to her daughters.
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Wooly-haired Megalopygio Caterpiller
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium 1705
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Metamorphosis of the Insects Grapefruit
 Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Botanical
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Botanical
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Lizard and Banana
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) From Transformations of the insects of Surinam 1705
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Pineapple From Transformations of the insects of Surinam 1705
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Grapes Metamorphosis of the Insects
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium 1705
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Botanical
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Branch of guava tree with leafcutter ants, army ants, pink-toed tarantulas, c. 1701-5
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Iguana and Coral Snake
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Lizard
Maria Sibylla Merian (German artist, 1647-1717) Surinam Caiman Fighting a South American False Coral Snake 1699-1703 from The Insects of Suriname, 1719