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Monday, February 22, 2021

Anna Botsford Comstock

  Some of these winter days there isn't very much to blog about. And, there is no Philadelphia Flower Show this year. I usually show you pictures from that for more than a week. And, there will also be no trip to Philly to see David's family and Marie. Instead, I'm going to start a series of posts about something very close to my heart. I'll keep it a secret where we are going with this until the next post in this series, and for now I will just say that we are starting here.

This is a picture of a person I never met. In fact, she was dead before I was even thought of. Her name is Anna Botsford Comstock. She was born in 1854 and died in 1930.
Anna Botsford Comstock Anna Botsford was born in western New York, an only child. She grew up on a farm and developed a love of nature study early in life.

She was admitted to Cornell University (Ithaca, New York- and now much closer to where I grew up) in 1874. She fell in love with her entomology (study of insects) instructor, John Henry Comstock. They married and she dropped out of school. However, she taught herself to do illustrations for his books about insects. She later returned to school and received a degree in Natural History, and was one of the first women inducted into Sigma Xi, a sorority for honor students.

She went on to study wood engraving, to prepare plates for many more book illustrations. She became the third woman to be admitted to the Society of American Wood-Engravers.

This is one of her engravings.

She wrote, among other books, The Handbook of Nature Study, which is still in print! She was a pioneer in the practice of actually taking students outside to study, rather than bringing specimens into a classroom.

She was the first female professor at Cornell. (Although she was not the first to receive a full professorship. All women were denied that until many years later.)
Anna Botsford Comstock engraving

Stay tuned over the coming days to learn why this woman is important to me. I'll add a post on days when there is nothing current of interest.

In other news: I worked really hard on editing/formatting jobs today.

See Nora Stanton Blatch


Ann said...

I look forward to hearing more about her

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "That was a very accomplished woman!"

Sharkbytes said...

Ann- Good! Although the series is going to morph into more about me and less about her. I want to get her newest bio.

Lulu- She sure was!