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On 3rd March we welcomed Rachael Gibson into our team as the Departmental Coordinator for the Library & Archives. Rachael graduated from Liverpool University in May last year with an English Degree and now, whilst working in her part time post with us, is embarking on the road to a PhD. She has a huge love of poetry and, as a result, her subject of choice is Christina Rossetti, a nineteenth century poet. It was a Victorian module during her degree that originally introduced her to Christina and, finding there wasn’t much information to hand about her, became increasingly fascinated. “Christina was single all her life, but was actually proposed to 3 times in 2 years!”. Now Rachael has set herself a personal challenge to complete her PhD.

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Rachael joins the NHM with a love of travelling, having lived in both Mexico and Barcelona. She spent just under a year in Mexico teaching English and one year teaching and tutoring in Barcelona. This city was her favourite, although after six years she admits her Spanish is a little rusty!

 

When her family moved to the South East, Rachael recalls as a seven year old the Natural History Museum was the first place visited in London. “I remember thinking how pretty the building was and how lovely it would be to live there!”.  She remembers seeing Dippy, but not going to the Whale Hall.

 

 

 

 

She also has  memories of seeing cased butterflies and being fascinated that she could get so close to them, not like the ones back in her garden at home. Rachael was therefore so excited when she came back all those years later for her interview, and now since starting work, she has redressed the balance and visited the Blue Whale and wants to try and be proactive in her lunch break visiting all the public galleries, including our art gallery Images of Nature. In particular she is very much looking forward to the May opening of the new Mammoth Exhibition.

 

Since starting, Rachael has had to learn a lot, including a new finance system that went live only a few weeks ago, so definitely a good time to have started. She has also introduced a new fortnightly internal staff newsletter, encouraging our busy department to keep up to date with everything that we are all doing.  As Departmental Coordinator Rachael is responsible for the day to day smooth running of the L&A in a role similar to a secretary. This includes; arranging meetings, taking minutes, organising paperwork and emails, and liaising with other Coordinator’s in different departments. All this involves visiting  the many different parts of the museum, and Rachael has had to learn her way around the building as quickly as possible, which is not easy with such a large site. She admits to having copious notes to help her remember where to find everyone.

 

Welcome to the team!

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This week we have 17 new book additions, covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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This week we have 15 new book additions, covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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This week we have 12 new book additions, covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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This week we have 10 new book additions, covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website

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Bartram - Sarracenia flava, yellow pitcher plant & Sarracenia purpurea, pitcher plant NHMPL 015930.jpg

 

By Judith Magee, Special Collections Curator

 

William Bartram (1739-1823) was the son of the Quaker farmer and nurseryman John Bartram (1699-1777), who established a botanical garden at his home in Kingsessing, some four miles from Philadelphia. For many years John traded packets of seed of American plants to customers all over Europe and was responsible for introducing up to a third of North American plants to Europe during his lifetime. William, like his father, became an excellent botanist and plant collector. He was also a very skilled artist and many of Bartram’s drawings portray the plants and animals in context, showing the inter-relationship and dependency between species and the habitat in which they lived; a depiction quite different from that of most natural history artists of the day.

 

Bartram - Evening primrose NHMPL 015966.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Between the years 1773 –1777 William travelled through the Carolinas, Georgia and East and West Florida as far as the Mississippi River. He collected plants and seed, wrote a journal and completed drawings for his patron John Fothergill (1712-1780), a London physician. On his return to Philadelphia Bartram wrote his now famous work Travels through North & South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, published in 1791. The importance of this work is manifold, not least the influence it had on the Romantic poets of Europe. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth are just two of the many poets who were influenced by Bartram’s book. The poetic imagery evoked in his writings and his rhapsodic language found its way into many well-known poems. Bartram viewed the earth as an organic whole, a living unity of diverse and interdependent life forms and it was this understanding of nature that also made him so attractive to the Romantic poets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bartram was also a significant influence in shaping science in America in the post-revolutionary era. The process of nation building and eradicating American dependence on Europe was reflected in the struggle for an American cultural and scientific identity. The study of naturBartram -Eastern diamondback rattlesnake NHMPL 015960.jpgal science was seen as a patriotic act in which Americans themselves were discovering their natural products, identifying, classifying, describing and naming these species, in short stamping American control over their subject. William Bartram was very conscious of this and during his lifetime gave inspiration and encouragement to a long list of young American scientists.

 

 

Today Bartram’s Travels remains in print and continues to be read by practitioners of all disciplines of natural history and the arts. A large portion of his book is devoted to describing the lifestyle and culture of the Native Americans of the region that he travelled through. His writings are amongst the very few that give first-hand knowledge of the subject. His own experiences during his travels led him to develop a great admiration of the Creek and Cherokee Nations lifestyle and particularly their relationship with nature.

 

 

The Bartram collection is made up of 68 drawings most of which were sent to John Fothergill between 1772 and 1776. Fothergill’s library, including all his artwork, was auctioned after his death in 1780. A number of lots were purchased by Sir Joseph Banks including the Bartram material and were given the Banks Mss. number of 23.

 

Further reading:

 

Magee, Judith (2007) The art and science of William Bartram, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press in association with the Natural History Museum.

Bartram - Butorides virescens, green heron NHMPL 015917.jpgBartram - Dendroica magnolia (Wilson), magnolia warbler NHMPL 015964.jpg

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This week we have 14 new book additions, covering Zoology, General Natural History, Earth Sciences, Ornithology, Entomology and Botany. Download the PDF attached to the bottom of this blog to view this week's list.


If you wish to view these or any other items, please contact the library to arrange an appointment library@nhm.ac.uk or 020 7942 5460

 

The Library catalogue is available online and more information about the Library & Archives collections can be found via our website