Welcome to the world of Historical SciArt!

In 2015, I began volunteering for Biodiversity Heritage Library by researching and adding historical and current taxonomy to scientific illustrations uploaded from their digital library to their Flickr account. As I worked through these illustrations, I realized how much I enjoyed viewing them, so I started sharing my research on my personal Twitter account. Others began showing interest and sharing in my delight, so I developed a platform showcasing these scientific works to a broader audience. Thus began “Historical SciArt”, also known as HistSciArt. In June 2016, I created @HistSciArt on Twitter to share my discoveries, and I have expanded #HistSciArt to Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Flickr, and Goodreads.

“Historical SciArt” is a broad concept that includes illustrations of natural history for scientific and popular publications from the 16th to 20th century that are part of the public domain. Natural history, for these purposes, relates to the science of discovery and observation of flora and fauna.

While researching the subjects of these illustrations, I became curious as to the artists that created them, and I soon learned that this area of work was filled with women whose talent extended beyond the artistic and into the scientific where they made inroads for their gender. Historically excluded from higher education and scientific organizations, these women forged a path into science of their own making through their careful scientific study, records, and artistry of flora and fauna. As I research more into their lives and works, I hope to share them through this website. I maintain a dynamic spreadsheet of their names and links to their works on Women in HistSciArt.

My work is primarily based on the collections of Biodiversity Heritage Library.  BHL is a consortium of outstanding libraries, archives, special collections, and museums whose natural history works have been digitized and gathered in one central place, making BHL a digital natural history library of the highest caliber. BHL and their partners and affiliates maintain an extensive Flickr account with more than 200,000 illustrations of SciArt.

I am an independent researcher, and like many of the Women in HistSciArt, I am self-taught in this area. I have several degrees, listed here in chronological order: BA in English, JD, LLM in taxation, AS in general science, and BSN. I am a former public school teacher, a recovering lawyer, and a current ICU registered nurse.

I hope you enjoy my work! I reserve all rights related to my research; please give proper attribution when using my work from this website or any of my other related social media sites, regardless of the purpose for which you are using it. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions at histsciart [at] gmail.com.

Michelle L. Marshall

My background image is stylized Monkshood (Aconitum plicatum) by Maurice Pillard Verneuil from Eugène Grasset, La Plante et ses Applications Ornementales (1896).

My header image has petals from a harebell (Campanula rotundifolia) from Pierre Bulliard, Flora Parisiensis, Vol. 1 (1776).