chapter  5
32 Pages

The Rise of Natural History

Plate 5.1 "If Harry went with her ... " from Laura D. Nichols, Underfoot, or What Harry and Nel{y Learned olthe Earth 's Treasures (Boston: D. Lothrop & Company, 1881), 29. (Courtesy q( Rare Books and Manuscripts, The Ohio State University Lihraries, Columhus.)

Plate 5.2 "First Class in Botany-Please Rise!" in St. Nicholas Magazine, 15 (November 1887), 31. (Courtesy olthe Green Library, Stanford UniversityJ

walks were not merely for recreation, but for the study of the trees, rocks, insects and other objects of nature."37 So popular was botany among middle-and upper-class American women, and so common was the belief that mothers should teach it to their children, that magazine illustrations spoofing the trend appeared near the end of the century ePlate 5.2.)

Table 5.2 Percentage of Selected Pennsylvania Female and Coeducational Schools Offering Botany, Geology, and Natural History, 1750-1819 and 1830-1889

1750-1819 Female schools 14 0 11 Coed schools 0 0 0

Table 5.3 Percentage of New York Secondary Schools Offering Various Sciences, 1830-1870

Natural Year philosophy Astronomy Chemistry Geology Botany

1830 77 40 50 2 14 1835 100 83 95 5 45 1840 100 87 93 28 74 1845 96 84 90 35 74 1850 95 91 87 31 70 1855 96 93 79 38 82 1860 92 77 79 41 73 1865 95 67 70 42 70 1870 92 65 67 34 68

Source: Miller, A History of NeU! York Secondary Schools, 108-109.