Collectors Harnessed: Research on the British Flora by Nineteenth-Century Amateur Botanists

  • David E. Allen


Botany and geology have always enjoyed one great advantage over the third of the trio of studies to which the label ‘natural history’ eventually came to be restricted: unlike zoology, they have much more obvious practical utility. Geology, however, was a late-developer, for it began to cohere intellectually only as the eighteenth century was drawing to its close. Botany therefore had the field effectively to itself during the thousands of years in which it functioned as a branch of medicine, growing out of the need to distinguish the different kinds of herbs. As if it was not enough to form part of the best-regarded of all professions, it had a subsidiary usefulness in the guise of horticulture, with physic gardens acting as an intermediate domain in which two great streams of curiosity about the earth’s botanical riches converged to their mutual benefit.


Eighteenth Century British Isle Botanical Society Local Flora Intermediate Domain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allen, D.E. (1980) ‘The women members of the Botanical Society of London, 1836–1856’, British Journal for the History of Science 13: 240–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, D.E. (1985) ‘The early professionals in British natural history’, in Wheeler, A. and Price, J.H. (eds) From Linnaeus to Darwin: Commentaries on the History of Biology and Geology, London: Society for the History of Natural History.Google Scholar
  3. Allen, D.E. (1986) The Botanists: A History of the Botanical Society of the British Isles through 150 Years, Winchester: St Paul’s Bibliographies.Google Scholar
  4. Allen, D.E. (2000) ‘Walking the swards: Medical education and the rise and spread of the botanical field class’, Archives of Natural History 27: 335–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Allen, D.E. (2003) ‘Four centuries of local Flora-writing: Some milestones’, Watsonia 24: 271–80.Google Scholar
  6. Berman, M. (1974) ‘Hegemony and the amateur tradition in British science’, Journal of Social History 8: 30–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dandy, J.E. (1969) Watsonian Vice-Counties of Great Britain, London: Ray Society.Google Scholar
  8. Egerton, F.N. (2003) Hewett Cottrell Watson: Victorian Plant Ecologist and Evolutionist, London: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  9. Gunther, R.T. (1922) Early British Botanists and Their Gardens…, Oxford: printed for the author.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Harvey, J. (1981) Medieval Gardens, London: Batsford.Google Scholar
  11. Kent, D.H. and Allen, D.E. (1984) British and Irish Herbaria, London: Botanical Society of the British Isles.Google Scholar
  12. Lousley, J.E. (1957) ‘The contribution of exchange clubs to knowledge of the British flora’, in Lousley, J.E. (ed.) Progress in the Study of the British Flora, London: Botanical Society of the British Isles.Google Scholar
  13. Miller, D.P. (1988) ‘“My favourite studdys”: Lord Bute as naturalist’, in Schweitzer, K.W. (ed.) Lord Bute: Essays in Re-interpretation, Leicester: Leicester University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Perring, F.H. and Walters, S.M. (eds) (1962) Atlas of the British Flora, London and Edinburgh: Nelson.Google Scholar
  15. Rawcliffe, C. (1999) Medicine for the Soul, Stroud: Sutton Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Secord, A. (1994) ‘Science in the pub: Artisan botanists in early nineteenth-century Lancashire’, History of Science 32: 269–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Secord, A. (1996) ‘Artisan botany’, in Jardine, N., Secord, J.A. and Spary, E.C. (eds) Cultures of Natural History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Shteir, A.B. (1984) ‘Linnaeus’s daughters: Women and British botany’, in Harris, B.J. and McNamara, J.K. (eds) Women and the Structure of Society, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Shteir, A.B. (1984) ‘Linnaeus’s daughters: Women and British botany’, in Harris, B.J. and McNamara, J.K. (eds) Women and the Structure of Society, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Shteir, A.B. (1987) ‘Botany in the breakfast room: Women and early nineteenth-century plant study’, in Abir-Am, P.G. and Outram, D. (eds) Uneasy Careers and Intimate Lives: Women in Science, 1789–1979, New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Shteir, A.B. (1996) Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science: Flora’s Daughters and Botany in England, 1760–1860, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David E. Allen 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Allen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations