Women in Historical SciArt

I have focused a major part of my research into the women who created scientific illustrations from the 16th to early 20th centuries. During this time, women were prohibited from higher education and from joining scientific organizations. These women found another way to pursue their love of science. Often self-taught in both science and art, they made great strides for the inclusion of women in science at all levels, and they contributed to the overall advancement of science despite discrimination.

No publishing standard for identifying artists existed for centuries, so the research of identifying artists can be challenging. Even if an artist has signed an image, another artist may have done the work! Copyright law was non-existent or in its infancy at the time of these works; regardless, the work of women generally was considered the property of their fathers, husbands, or male relatives.

If these women were identified on their artwork, they may have used their full name, their initials, their husband’s name (“Mrs. John Doe”), or their maiden name without a first name (“Miss Doe”). Other signature variations exist, even within the same work! Occasionally, these women were identified in the preface of the work. Sadly, many of these women are unidentifiable and will continue to lack proper recognition for their scientific study, research, and artistry.

On this spreadsheet, I have included their full names in the American convention (first, middle, maiden, married) to provide the greatest range of possibilities in how they may be identified. In addition to their names and lifespans, I have included their scientific areas of study, and links to their works identified in the Flickr account and catalogue of Biodiversity Heritage Library.

My spreadsheet automatically updates when I add new information based on my personal research. 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. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know via histsciart [at] gmail.

My post header incorporates lovely apple blossoms illustrated by Marian Ellis Rowan for Alice Lounsberry’s Guide to the Trees (c1900). This SciArt is part of the public domain.