Hybrid Event: 'What a nuisance sex is!': Women Plant Collectors in the 19th Century
Women botanists and plant collectors roamed North America looking for plant specimens to share, to sell, and to display in the late 19th century. As we learn their stories, we’ll explore why botany was a scientific pursuit that, while vastly popular with both sexes, was seen as a study particularly suited to women, and we’ll look at the ways that women used their botanical knowledge as a way to secure employment for themselves out in the frontier. Finally, we’ll see how women used their botanical savvy to expand their social and intellectual networks beyond their limited domestic spaces, especially by writing to professional botanists (usually on the East Coast) and engaging them in years-long discussions about plant science.
About the speaker
Tina Gianquitto is an associate professor of environmental humanities at the Colorado School of Mines. She has published a book on women, nature and science, ‘Good Observers of Nature’: American Women and the Scientific Study of the Natural World, 1820-1885 (2007), a co-edited collection America’s Darwin: Darwinian Evolution and U.S. Literary Culture (with Lydia Fisher; 2014), as well as articles on Darwinian botany, evolutionary science and women’s social reform, and women’s participation in botanical correspondence networks. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program. Current projects include a public plant story site: Herbaria 3.0: What is your plant story? (www.herbaria3.org) and a book that examines Darwin’s plant studies and evolutionary theory in the late 19th-century U.S.