Margaret Mee: Explorer/Conservationist, Botanist/Scientific Illustrator

Bromelia anticantha Bertol. Cultivated in São Paulo. Procured from Minas Gerais. Margaret Mee, 1964. Permission for reproduction received from Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Rare Book Collection, Washington, D.C., Online Exhibits, Highlights from the Collections, Margaret Mee, The Paintings.

Margaret Mee, née Brown (1909-1988), was a British contemporary artist considered to be one of the most remarkable women of the twentieth century.1 She was referred to as the premier female explorer of the Brazilian rainforest and an outstanding botanical artist. Her voice was one of the first courageous ones to be raised against the exploitative destruction of Amazonia and she spoke for its conservation until her death.

Courtney Letts de Espil: Borden-Field Museum Alaska Arctic Expedition of 1927

“One must wear white in stalking Arctic game,” quips author Courtney Letts de Espil (Mrs. John Borden) in her 1928 book The Cruise of the Northern Light, which is a 317-page account of the Borden-Field Museum Alaska Arctic Expedition of 1927.1 Public Excitement As The Expedition Launches While newspaper accounts Continue Reading

Janaki Ammal Edavaleth Kakkat: Cytogeneticist, Sugarcane Revolutionizing Botanist

K. Janaki Ammal was born in Kerala, India on November 4th, 1897. One of the first women in the U.S. to earn a doctorate in botany, she went on to develop new hybrids of sugarcane. After shifting here focus to research, she published The Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated Plants.

Dr. Margery C. Carlson: Botanist, Professor, and Conservationist

Margery Carlson (1892-1985) Botany Research Associate shown [outdoors] with some of the packs of [plant] specimens she collected on expedition. © The Field Museum, B80585.

  “Every collector hopes that he will be able to bring home some species unknown to science, never before described or even given a botanical name.” – Margery Carlson¹ An Auspicious Beginning Dr. Margery C. Carlson was born in November 21, 1892 in Arthur, Illinois.²,³ She was named after the marguerite Continue Reading

Amanda Almira Newton: Botanical Illustrator for the US Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705

Amanda Almira Newton was a prolific illustrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) who specialized in drawing watercolors of fruit. She contributed more than 1200 watercolor paintings to the USDA and also made more than 300 wax models of fruits. Her precise and detailed drawings were especially important in Continue Reading

Alice Eastwood: Pioneering Botanist, Explorer & Naturalist, Lifelong Lover of Flowers & Plants, California Academy of Sciences Curator of Botany

Alice Eastwood collecting plant specimens in the field, while holding her wooden plant press Childhood/Alice in Wonderland Alice Eastwood was born on January 19, 1859 in Toronto, Canada.1,4 Her childhood was a difficult one; at age 6, she promised her dying Irish mother, Eliza Jane (Gowdey) Eastwood, that she would Continue Reading

Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton: Bryologist, Educator, New York Botanical Gardens Founder

Born Elizabeth Gertrude Knight in New York City on January 9, 1857, she was the first of five daughters of James and Sophie Anne (Compton) Knight. She spent part of her early childhood on her grandfather’s sugar plantation in Matanzas, Cuba. Knight graduated from the Normal School (now Hunter College) Continue Reading

John Tyley: Caribbean Botanical Illustrator in a Colonial World

John Tyley, watercolor on paper of [Fruit], ca. 1802 John Tyley worked as a botanical illustrator at the historic St. Vincent Botanical Garden in the late 1700s creating exquisite depictions of tropical plants.¹ Aside from the beautiful and detailed illustrations he left behind, little is known of this native Caribbean Continue Reading