Janet Harvey Kelman


Janet Harvey Kelman

Janet Harvey Kelman (April 18, 1873 – November 15, 1957), a Scottish illustrator and author, created many children’s books about nature, including Butterflies and Moths (1910) which was part of the “Shown to the Children” book series. To date, I have not been able to locate a biography of Kelman, despite her authoring and illustrating more than 30 books according to WorldCat, but I was able to locate her family’s grave in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her brother was Rev. John Kelman (1864-1929), a United Free Church of Scotland minister who was also a published author. In 1923, Kelman published Labour in India: a study of the conditions of Indian women in modern industry based on 16 months that she spend in India funded by a Research Fellowship from Selly Oak Colleges. In addition to her natural history works, she published books about Christianity.

Rev. Theodore Wood (1862-1923) described the species for each of Kelman’s illustrations using only the common name and in a writing style meant for the juvenile reader. His father, Rev. John George Wood (1827-1889), was a popular author of Victorian natural history books.

Butterflies and Moths is written in a popular style, rather than scientific, but as an historical natural history work with intricately detailed illustrations, it contributes to a larger picture of the evolution of teaching science and how scientific understanding was communicated across large swaths of the population.

Published Works & References

  1. Butterflies and Moths: Shown to the Children (1910), digitized by Cornell University Library for Biodiversity Heritage Library.
  2. Janet Harvey Kelman in BHL.
  3. Janet Harvey Kelman in WorldCat.
  4. Janet Harvey Kelman in Internet Archive.
  5. Flickr album of illustrations from BHL.
  6. BHL Blog Post featuring artwork and quotations from Butterflies and Moths.

Cécile Pfulb-Kastner

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Cécile Pfulb-Kastner was a French botanical artist and lithographer who illustrated Volume 1 (1906) and Volume 2 (1908) of Nouvelle Flore Coloriée de Poche des Alpes et des Pyrénées by Charles Flahault (1852-1935).

Naming conventions for the 19th and 20th centuries often did not include the first names of French women in publications, but instead they were identified by their titles, Mademoiselle (Mlle) and Madame (Mme). Note the changes in Pfulb-Kastner’s name from Volume 1 to Volume 2. These naming conventions, along with the cultural taboo of women working during this time, make researching early women in science a challenge. Pfulb-Kastner is no exception, and so far, I have only found mention of her in bibliographies of the works mentioned above. For example, this entry is from Bibliographisches Bulletin der Schweizerischen Landes-Bibliothek, Volume 8 (1908).

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Google Books is a great resource for full text searching of out-of-copyright works that they have digitized. Another search under her married name came up with her listed as a member of the National Horticulture Society of France as of January 1, 1909.Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 9.26.45 PM.pngScreen Shot 2017-03-12 at 9.24.00 PM.png

Based on the key, she is listed as an “Officier d’Académie” and a “dessinateur-lithographie pour la botanique”, which is roughly translated as an Academy Officer and botanical lithographer.

Explore Cécile Pfulb-Kastner’s botanical art in the Flicker account and catalogue of Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Sugar Gliders

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Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps breviceps) are small marsupials native to Australia.

SciArt by Henry Constantine Richter and John Gould for Gould’s Mammals of Australia, Vol. 1 (1863), which was contributed for digitization by Smithsonian Libraries for Biodiversity Heritage Library.

In My Library: The Curious Mister Catesby


The Curious Mister Catesby (2015), edited by E. Charles Nelson and David J. Elliott for the Catesby Commemorative Trust.

This book is a wonderful compilation of essays and research on Mark Catesby and his Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. I relied on the taxonomic research in this book for adding taxonomy to the images in BHL’s Flickr albums.

SciArt Methodology: Mark Catesby

screen-shot-2017-02-15-at-1-18-38-pmThe Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands (1729-1771) by Mark Catesby, a self-taught artist and naturalist, was first publication to describe scientifically the flora and fauna of North America. The first edition, published between 1729-1731, was written and illustrated by Catesby, with the exception of a few plates done by Georg Dionysius Ehret.

Catesby arrived May 23, 1722 in Charlestown in the colony of Carolina. A passionate explorer without formal scientific training, he taught himself scientific observation, illustration, and engraving. He describes his scientific and artistic methodology with much humility.


Catesby’s explanation of how he illustrated his plates shows how intent he was to recreate accurate representations so that his work would be part of the legitimate endeavors of the burgeoning scientific community. His attention to detail even extended to his description of how he painted greens in his illustrations.


Even with his efforts at accurate representation, one interesting feature of Catesby’s plates with multiple species is a varying perspective that doesn’t accurately account for size. For example, on Plate 20 of the Appendix, Catesby illustrated a Buffalo (Bison bison) with a Rose Locust (Robinia hispida).


Biodiversity Heritage Library has a wonderful post about Catesby and the realization of his lifelong dream to catalog the life of the new world in the North American British colonies of the south. All of Catesby’s illustrations from the three editions, along with links to those editions, can be found here with thanks to BHL. As part of my research for BHL, I had the pleasure of adding taxonomy to each of these illustrations, with gratitude for the invaluable resource, The Curious Mister Catesby (2015), edited by E. Charles Nelson and David J. Elliot for the Catesby Commemorative Trust.