Serratifolia is a Clematis vine
Shenandoah Valley Quilt by Esther (Ester) Blair Shaw Matthews (1776-1866)
Rockingham County, Virginia
Block labeled Star of the East
Although many of her blocks are classic applique
in stylized formats, others seem drawn from nature.
"Jacob's Ladder" probably refers to the plants on the sides, perhaps
Variegated Jacob's Ladder
One way to botanize was to keep a scrapbook of
pressed plants with identifications.
Rachel Van Dyke, a little younger than Esther, kept a diary in 1810 when she was 17.
"As I was coming out of school Mr. G---handed me an acorn and told me it was something for me to botanize upon. 'Botanize upon an acorn....the man's a goose.' "
She soon discovered the hollow acorn contained a tiny poem.
'Well done...You are no Goose either who would have thought of such a contrivance.' "
I guess Mr. G was thought a goose at first because one cannot press an acorn into a scrapbook.
Herbarium with samples dated 1883
Rachel Littler Bodley (1831-1888) was a well-known botanist
photographed with the tools of her trade and an herbarium
on the floor.
The perfect gift for a young lady
Fiction in Godey's Lady's Book prescribed an herbarium for lonely "little Jemima, who, you must know, is a bit of a blue." A blue, a blue-stocking, was an intellectual.
Poet Emily Dickinson (a bit of a blue) kept an herbarium when she was a school girl in Amherst, Massachusetts in the years 1839-1846. It's now at Harvard's Houghton Library, where they have scanned every page.
Anna Coates Shreve (1802-1897) seems to have transferred her scrapbook pages
to an applique quilt that is pictured in Hall & Kretsinger's book
Romance of the Patchwork Quilt
The Shelburne Museum has a quilt dated 1868 that owes more to
the look of an herbarium than to common applique layout.
The quilt was purchased from Florence Peto, who attributed it
to the Griswold family of Connecticut.
Block from Susan & Henry Underwood's sampler album
in the collection of the Smithsonian.
See more about Rachel Littler Bodley at this post.
Tomorrow: more botanizing.