Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Paper, flower specimens, vellum
10 × 7 3/8 × 1 in. (25.4 × 18.7 × 2.5 cm)
ca. 1853-1856
Victorian (1837-1901)
Album of pressed flowers titled "Flower Remembrance." The album is a sentimental travel log of visits to sites all over Italy during the 1850s. Instead of a travel journal with written entries, the pages are filled with flowers and plants collected from various sites as mementos. One page shows pressed flowers collected at the Roman Coliseum in 1853, 1854, and 1856 all on the same page.
Label Text:
Collecting and preserving plants was a popular pastime in the nineteenth century. Both men and women pressed plants and kept them in a botanical scrapbook of sorts. This activity was able to serve a variety of interests, both the scientific, sentimental, and artistic. Whatever their purpose, the plants collected were prepared and added to a book in a similar fashion. To dry the flower or plant for a botanical scrapbook, the specimen was placed between two sheets of botanical drying paper, blotting paper or newspaper and then sandwiched between two boards. This was then bound tightly together for a period sufficient for it to dry completely. The dried specimens were then sewn, glued, or taped to the pages of the album, which might be plain or colorful fabric or paper. Usually some identifying information such as the name, location, and date that they were found was also recorded on the page.
Sentimental botanical albums included collections from important moments in one’s life, such as a graduation, wedding, or funeral. These were used as mementos of friendships and loved ones from bouquets and wreaths from graves. Plants might even be collected and preserved in the pages from the places the individual had visited as a travel log from a memorable journey. These sentimental albums of pressed flowers were a treasure trove of memories, which placed importance on the time, place, and circumstances of collecting the specimen rather than its scientific names and data. Many of these sentimental albums were not just souvenirs but carried deeper meanings through the language of flowers. A popular pursuit of middle-class ladies was the addition of poems and flower eulogies carefully penned on the margins of the pages.
C.G. Thompson - Arrangement commenced (?) 20th May 1856
albums  Search this
scrapbooks  Search this
Botanical specimens  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
Horticulture  Search this
plants  Search this
travel  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens