Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Herbarium #7 Wreath of Rosebuds: Cincinnati Female Seminary & Rachel L. Bodley


Herbarium #7 Wreath of Rosebuds by Denniele Bohannon
 for The Cincinnati Female Seminary & Rachel Littler Bodley

An elite school in the 1840-1870 period.

Cincinnati Enquirer, 1935
The building was torn down in the 1960s for a freeway.

The school had an adjacent gymnasium---a Calisthenium---and a museum with an herbarium.
"It will be a safe depository, where our scientific friends may leave as many curiosities as they chose."

One herbarium that was said to have been donated to the museum was Joseph Clark's.

Rachel Littler Bodley, a botany teacher at the school during the Civil War, catalogued Clark's specimens and published a book in 1865, the year she moved to Philadelphia to become chair of Chemistry & Toxicology at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Rachel Littler Bodley (1831-1888)
This celebratory photograph may have been taken in 1865 with her 
Herbarium of Joseph Clark catalog and its marbleized cover proudly displayed.

A copy of her book without its title label.

You may have noticed her patchwork overskirt. See a post discussing
the garment here: 

Wreath of Rosebuds by Becky Brown

Beatrice, Nebraska Women's Tribune

Rachel died suddenly of heart failure at the age of 57, much mourned by
students and feminists. 

Teaching chemistry was her business, botanizing her hobby. She, of course, kept an herbarium, which she willed to the Medical College. 

Rosa carolina 

One realizes how ephemeral these dried plant collections were. No record seems to exist today of hers or Joseph Clark's Herbariums.

The Clark Herbarium was said to have burned in a fire at the Cincinnati Female Seminary, according to this 1911 paper, but the building stood into the 1960s. Suffice it to say that the Clark Herbarium no longer exists except in Rachel's catalog.

Wreath of Rosebuds by Becky Collis

The Block

Wreath of Rosebuds

From the sampler in the collection
of the Shelburne Museum

Seven of the eight samplers have similar patterns,
some more skillfully stitched than others.

Our version is a little more stylized and balanced.

Wreath of Rosebuds by Robyn Gragg for a five-sided block

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