Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science: Flora's Daughters and Botany in England, 1760-1860

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"In Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science, Shteir weaves intriguing biographies of women botanists into her intricate account of Victorian culture, science, and society. This elegant book is essential reading for anyone interested in plants and science." -- Londa Schiebinger, Nature

In Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science, Ann B. Shteir explores the contributions of women to the field of botany before and after the dawn of the Victorian Age. She shows how ideas during the eighteenth century about botany as a ...

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Overview

"In Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science, Shteir weaves intriguing biographies of women botanists into her intricate account of Victorian culture, science, and society. This elegant book is essential reading for anyone interested in plants and science." -- Londa Schiebinger, Nature

In Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science, Ann B. Shteir explores the contributions of women to the field of botany before and after the dawn of the Victorian Age. She shows how ideas during the eighteenth century about botany as a leisure activity for self-improvement and a "feminine" pursuit gave women unprecedented opportunities to publish their findings and views. By the 1830s, however, botany came to be regarded as a professional activity for specialists and experts -- and women's contributions to the field of botany as authors and teachers were viewed as problematic. Shteir focuses on John Lindley, whose determination to form distinctions between polite botany -- what he called "amusement for the ladies" -- and botanical science -- "an occupation for the serious thoughts of man" -- illustrates how the contributions of women were minimized in the social history of science. Despite such efforts, women continued to participate avidly in botanical activities at home and abroad, especially by writing for other women, children, and general readers.

At a time of great interest in the role of women in science, this absorbing, interdisciplinary book provides a new perspective on gender issues in the history of science. Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science rediscovers the resourceful women who used their pens for their own social, economic, and intellectual purposes.

"Her livelyassortment of women speaks to the diversity of a scientific world in some ways more pervasive of everyday society than our own, and... a complex ecology of women in science."--Abigail Lustig, William and Mary Quarterly

"Shteir's book bears reading and rereading, not merely because it is filled with a wide array of detail, but because it attempts to suggest a texture of women's lives in the nineteenth century that is far too poorly known."--Alan Rauch, Nineteenth Century Studies

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Shteir (humanities and women's studies, York U.) reintroduces to the public significant women's contributions to the field of botany before and during the Victorian Age showing how attitudes toward botany as a leisure activity gave women an unprecedented opportunity to pursue scientific studies and publish findings. Many of these articles have been lost due to the institutionalization of botanical studies, and the efforts of men such as botanist John Lindley to exclude women from participation in the field. Shteir's biographical sketches and research provide an important addition to science history. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Londa Schiebinger
Shteir weaves intriguing biographies of women botanists into her intricate account of Victorian culture, science, and society. -- Nature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801861758
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/1999
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 237
  • Product dimensions: 5.78 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann B. Shteir is a professor of humanities and women's studies at York University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: Botanical Conversations 1
1 Spreading Botanical Knowledge throughout the Land, 1760-1830 9
2 Women in the Polite Culture of Botany 33
The Herbal Tradition 37
Botanical Art and Design 39
Patrons and Collectors 47
Linnaeus's Daughters 50
3 Flora's Daughters as Writers during the Linnaean Years 59
The Maternal Mimosa: Frances Rowden 62
Lady Charlotte Murray 67
Botany for Profit and Solace: Charlotte Smith 68
Henrietta Moriarty 73
Discourses of Utility: Sarah Hoare 74
4 Botanical Dialogues: The Cultural Politics of the Familiar Format 79
Priscilla Wakefield 83
Sarah Fitton 89
Harriet Beaufort 93
Mary Roberts 95
Jane Marcet 99
5 Three "Careers" in Botanical Writing 105
Maria Elizabeth Jacson and Enlightenment Botany 108
"For the Love of the Science": Agnes Ibbetson 120
A Romantic Flora: Elizabeth Kent 135
6 Defeminizing the Budding Science of Botany, 1830-1860 147
John Lindley and "the Modern Science of Botany" 153
Changing Narratives of Nature 158
7 Women and Botany in the Victorian Breakfast Room 171
Artists 178
Collectors and Correspondents 182
Colonial Travelers 191
8 Flora's Daughters in Print Culture, 1830-1860 195
Bowdlerizing Botany: Mrs. E. E. Perkins 200
"For Popular Use and General Interest": Anne Pratt 202
Pictorial Floras: Anna Maria Hussey 208
A Leicestershire Flora's Nonconversation: Mary Kirby 216
Botany for Ladies or Modern Botany? Jane Loudon 220
A Feminist's Flora: Lydia Becker 227
Epilogue: Flora Feministica 233
Notes 239
Bibliography 271
Index 293
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