Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Book Review: The Life and Times of Mary Vaux Walcott

I thought this an appropriate book for International Women's Day! It's also my son's 31st birthday, I sent him a gift card for books!

Life and Times
My regular readers know I dabble in sketching. I was sent a book about a real artist.

Known as the “Audubon of Botany,” Philadelphia, Quaker Mary Morris Vaux Walcott (1860–1940) was a gifted artist whose stunning watercolors comprise a catalog of North American wildflowers.
"In the summer of 1887, when she was 27, Mary orris Vaux, along with her father and two brothers, trekked 10,000 miles –by rail, carriage, stagecoach, ferry, horseback, and on foot–through the American West and Canada. Although it wasn't their first trip west, it was their introduction to the Canadian Rockies, and it changed their lives."
Can you imagine?

Mary Morris Vaux Walcott was a woman who refused to let the times limit her. Victorian social conventions were so constricting for many. Walcott married the secretary of the Smithsonian, and this gave her much leave to study as she wished. If you haven't read a woman's autobiography of the times, you might not understand how far we have come. She traveled the continent, and was involved in history, religion, politics, women's studies, science and art. Walcott knew the women of the times who looked for adventure and went into the American West. Her friends were gifted artists, writers and historians. The book contains letters to and from famous folks of the times, like the First Lady (Lou Henry Hoover), and Mary Walcott, Commissioner for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The art interspersed in the book is lovely, as are the photos from Walcott's life.

The author is a graduate of Wheaton College, with an MA in historical studies. For twenty years she has taught history, including classes for its college program at Sing Sing Prison.

These are Toronto archival images of the times, the early 1900s, just happened in my news feed, and they make one think. We've come a long, long way! Simpson's and Eaton's.


William Kendall said...

I hadn't heard of her before!

Red said...

Yes, it does indicate how far we've come. We have long way to go yet. One of the top mountaineers in the 1890's in the rockies was a woman mart...I can't remember the last name.

Jocelyn Thurston said...

I have a special interest in botanical watercolours and just plain love flowers, all flowers. Thank you for talking about Mary Walcott's book. I will definitely be looking it up.