Catesby’s Natural History

Catesby's Natural History1st Ed., Vol. 1 (1731)

Mark Catesby was an English naturalist, scientist, and scientific artist whose multi-volume series, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands was the first scientific work documenting the flora and fauna of North America. Volume 1 from the first edition was created over the period of 1729 to 1732, and this particular volume was digitized by Smithsonian Libraries for inclusion in Biodiversity Heritage Library. This volume covers many of the birds and plants that Catesby saw, including the now extinct Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) with a Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum) shown below.

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Carolina Parakeet with a Swamp Cypress

The header illustration features a Blue Grosbeak (Passerina caerulea) with a Sweet Bay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana). Read more about digitizing Catesby’s remarkable works on Biodiversity Heritage Library’s blog, as well as another post about the taxonomy additions to BHL’s Flickr albums. I was able to add taxonomy to these images with the published research found in The Curious Mister Catesby (2015). You can also read about Catesby’s SciArt Methodology here.

Reichenbachia, Vol. 1, 2nd Series

Reichenbachia

Reichenbachia, Vol. 1 (2nd Series, 1891) was written by orchidologist Frederick Sander with SciArt by Henry George Moon and others. The header illustration features Miltoniopsis vexillaria.

Explore all 43 illustrations from this stunning work in Biodiversity Heritage Library‘s Flickr album. Thanks to the Peter H. Raven Library of the Missouri Botanical Garden for digitizing this book!

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Disa uniflora by Henry George Moon.
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Oncidium candelabrum by Henry George Moon

Wouldn’t these look great hanging on a wall? You can download high resolution versions of these illustrations, along with many others, from Biodiversity Heritage Library! Learn more here.

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.