historical and scientific significance of Emily Gregory:
The life of Emily Lovira Gregory (31 Dec. 1841-21 Apr. 1897) of Barnard
College, New York, is significant for several reasons:
In sum, the interplay among Gregory's devotion to teaching, to Victorian-era
botany, and to religion makes a fascinating story for those interested
in the history of botany, the development of the feminist movement, and
the relationship between science and religion.
the first American woman to receive a doctorate in botany (University of
Zürich, 1886) and one of the first to receive it in the sciences in
general; a pioneer in the development of professional female botanists
a contributor of original research on the epidermis, periderm, wood, cell
wall, and Spirogyra;
a most knowledgeable connoisseur of the European, mainly Germanic scientific
literature, who through her many reviews and commentaries introduced to
a fledgling American botany various facts and concepts developed in the
research centers of Europe; the first woman and the first American to write
a plant anatomy textbook (Elements of plant anatomy, 1895);
an excellent teacher, who served as a role model to several generations
of female students and scientists;
an active member of the Torrey Botanical Club during its early years;
a deeply religious scientist (a Baptist), who wrote a religious tract (A
scientist's confession of faith, 1897).
One of Gregory's manuscripts, "Botanical text books" (1897), was discovered
in the 1980s and published with notes and an added bibliography in 1987
(see below). This 1897 work is important in comparing plant anatomy textbooks
in the late 19th century. The annotated bibliography lists Gregory's 51
papers and reviews of publications (1886-97, 1987), her 16 talks and two
exhibits (l889-96), and accounts of her life.
1987. (Schmid, R. & D. W. Stevenson). "Botanical text books,"
an unpublished manuscript (1897) by Emily Lovira Gregory (1841-1897) on
plant anatomy textbooks. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 114:307-318. July-Sep.
1987. (Schmid, R.). Annotated bibliography of works by and about
Emily Lovira Gregory (1841-1897). Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 114:319-324.
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