The March/April issue of Victoria magazine is out now, and it contains my essay on herbaria — the Victorian-era scrapbooks brimming with dried flowers that can be found in archives or, if you’re lucky, in rare book shops. It’s a topic that has been on my mind for almost a decade, and I was thrilled to have the chance to finally dive in. For anyone who wants to read more about herbaria, I thought I’d share some sources (& links) here.
- Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium (Facsimile, Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2006). In this case, even a facsimile can run $200, so I borrowed a copy through inter-library loan. However, you can still page through the digital version here: http://pds.lib.harvard.edu/pds/view/4184689.
- I interviewed bookseller Priscilla Anne Lowry of Lowry-James Rare Prints & Books, for she once showed me a beautiful herbarium at a book fair.
- I found this article, “Flora and Femininity” by Susan Branson (Common-place, January 2012) very interesting.
- Also, related to herbaria, seaweed scrapbooks were popular too, and this recent article, “When Housewives were Seduced by Seaweed” (Collectors Weekly, Nov. 7, 2013) is fun (and pretty!).
- This blog post, “Reading Sarah McGrath’s May 1834 Herbarium,” by Jessica C. Linker at the University of Connecticut also provided some context.
One I had not seen–and wish now that I had–was just sent to me by a reader named Betsy Butler, and I’d like to share it here: “A Herbarium is One Reference Collection I Couldn’t Think of Weeding.” Butler, an Ohio librarian, had a similar experience of “discovering” a herbarium in the archives and wanting to know more about it. She visits Ohio State’s Herbarium and talks about the process of drying/pressing specimens. Enjoy!
*”A Blossom, or A Book” is a line from Dickinson’s poem, “By Chivalries as tiny.”
- Victoria Victorious
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