Tag Archives: Twentieth Century

Botanical Daydreaming

21 Nov

When I was a kid, I would, on rainy weekend afternoons such as this, take the large color copy of Audubon’s Birds of America off the shelf and spend hours flipping through the color plates of fancy birds (and some not so fancy birds).

Maybe that is why I was so delighted when I discovered that the Missouri Botanical Garden Library has digitized over 3,000 volumes of historic botanical literature. Access is totally FREE and can be found at Bonaticus.org. You can browse by subject, author, year (the earliest being 1480!! Fifteenth Century plant research!! Am I the only one who thinks this is astonishingly cool?), or region which is presented as a great big map and you can just click on the area you are interested in. Very user friendly. I particularly like that their subject browsing page utilizes the subject cloud, which I am sure we have all seen on one blog or another. (wink wink. I use one here – it is at the bottom of the page.)

So here are three highlights, in no particular order. But oh…the choices! There are so many amazing texts and prints available in this archive.

Les Fleurs Animees (The Animated Flowers) by J.J. Grandville, from sometime during the 1840’s. From Paris. The title of this print is Bleuet et Coquelicot. (Blueberry and Poppy.) I love the playful fairy-like quality of these prints, and I am enamored with the serenading insects.

Edward’s Botanical Register, Vol. 15 by John Lindley from London,1829. I particularly like these prints because they remind me so much of the Audubon plates. I may have to print some of these off and frame them. Finally, the cover page of a text titled Adam in Eden,or, Nature’s Paradise by William Coles, from sometime in the seventeenth century. I just love, love, love the fact that we are still reading books of the same subject as the people in the 1600’s. Also, the title page is just a lovely example of how our language evolves. Overall, this page is a wonderful juxtaposition of the constant and the changing. What a discovery. And what a project this must have been for the folks over at the Missouri Botanical Garden Library. I am giving them a round of applause.

If anyone knows of other archived treasures, share them with us! I would love to explore more sites such as this.

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