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.
Seahorses belong to the genus Hippocampus, and there are 47 different species. The word “hippocampus” comes from Greek, “hippos” for horse and “kampos” for sea monster! The human brain and the brains of most vertebrates have a structure called the hippocampus, which is involved in memory and internal brain communication.
This part of the brain was named after the seahorse. As you can see from the next image, the brain’s hippocampus and fornix closely resemble a seahorse.
Professor Laszlo Seress’ preparation of a human hippocampus and fornix alongside a seahorse. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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 industrybased 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 Mothsis 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.