New York: J.C. Riker, 1862. Victorian album showcasing over twenty preserved and pressed seaweed and algae specimens. The collection and classification of botanical samples was considered an edifying pursuit for women in the Victorian era, and the study of natural history served as an acceptable access point for women interested in scientific subjects. Seaweed specimens were particularly popular, creating a lively market for instructional books like Shirley Hibberd's The Seaweed Collector (1872). The album also contains a laid-in sheet of botanical samples bearing four notable personal annotations. The first specimen is captioned: "Taken from Aunt Lucy Lee's grave in Ridgefield Oct 3d 1859." Two others, collected on the same date, are identified as growing on the graves of "Uncle Aaron Lee" and "Charles Bradley Lee," while the final specimen is captioned: "Taken from my sister's grave, the same date Jane E Smith who died at the early age of two years." Genealogical records indicate that a Lucy Smith in Ridgefield, CT, married one Aaron Lee, a captain in the Revolutionary War. A compelling artifact of Victorian popular science and filial piety. Scrapbook album measuring 6 x 7.5 inches, contemporary full red sheep, elaborate gilt urn motif stamped in center of boards, triple-ruled border and elaborate cornerpieces in blind, spine ornamented in gilt floral pattern, all edges gilt, renewed endpapers. Green pictorial printed title page with hand-colored embossed flower, four pages embossed with images of flowers (one hand-colored), 15 specimens of seaweed and algae on tipped-in cards, eight additional seaweed specimens lying loose between pages, two samples of pressed flowers tipped in, six pressed leaves laid in, some evidence of lost samples. Two instances of penciled-in poems partially erased, pen and blue pencil ribbon sketch. Laid in is a single page featuring four annotated botanical samples from family gravesites, each hand-sewn onto the paper. Offsetting caused by specimens, rectangular portion of one leaf excised, expert restoration to binding.
(Inventory #: 1001480)
540 President Street, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Literature and the lively arts, design and decoration, cultural history.
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