Friday, August 20, 2010

In History: Mary Vaux Walcott

This is the 39th post in a weekly feature here at Spare Candy, called "In History." Some posts might be little more than a photo, others full on features. If you have any suggestions for a person or event that should be featured, or would like to submit a guest post or cross post, e-mail me at rosiered23 (at) sparecandy (dot) com.


Mary Vaux Walcott was born in Philadelphia in 1860, and is perhaps best known for two things: one, her watercolor paintings of wildflowers, and two, being married to Charles Doolittle Walcott, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. The latter is mostly important because Mary often traveled with him on his projects, working on her art while with him, and because the Smithsonian published a five-volume book of her paintings in 1925, titled "North American Wild Flowers." The work included 400 colored lithographic prints. The Smithsonian also published her "Illustrations of American Pitcherplants" in 1935, with 15 illustrations.

Walcott served on the federal Board of Indian Commissioners, from 1927 to 1932. In 1933, she was elected president of the Society of Woman Geographers. A mountain in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, is named Mount Mary Vaux after her. (How cool is that?!)

Butterfly Pea (Clitoria mariana), 1934, Mary Vaux Walcott

You can see many of Walcott's watercolors here.

Photos courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute (top, bottom).

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