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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Life and Times of Mary Vaux Walcott by Marjorie G. Jones Schiffer Publishing Ltd.

This is a nicely written but very factual biography of this scientist, writer and illustrator.  Mary was a formidable woman.  Her mother died when she was young, so she had to care for her difficult father and her two younger brothers.  Her father was a Quaker, however, and Quakers encouraged women to be educated, so her father didn’t object to her love of science which she inherited from him.  The family often travelled out West where Mary drew wildflowers and studied nature.  Later, she went to the Rockies where she studied the glaciers and wrote articles about them.

Mary married Charles Walcott, the President of the Smithsonian Institution when she was 54 over her father’s objections.  An intrepid scientific couple, they explored caves, wrote articles and gave speeches.  Mary had a book of her beautiful floral illustrations published.

She also became an accomplished Washington hostess and led an active social life in the capital.  There are extracts from her correspondence and Charles’s diaries which lend more colour to the book.  It’s worth reading if you like reading about interesting women. 

I received this free ebook from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

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