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Catalog Data

Margaret May Hill  Search this
Leatherette, pressed flowers
11 1/2 × 9 1/4 × 1 in. (29.2 × 23.5 × 2.5 cm)
A black leatherette album containing a collection of thirty-six dried flowers pressed and affixed to the blank pages of a scrapbook. The specimens are labeled and described for botanical study. This album was created by Margaret May Hill in 1905.
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.
While some books were compiled for scientific or sentimental purposes, others were made as a purely artistic endeavor. Victorian ladies transformed pressing and displaying flowers into an art form. These were created as type of fancywork, which fashioned beautiful pictures and designs from plants while celebrating their passion for gardens. Pressed flower pictures were artfully arranged into symmetrical or fanciful compositions with drapes, arches, frames and small clusters using grasses, mosses, foliage, petals, and full blossoms. Many of these creative albums also 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.
albums  Search this
scrapbooks  Search this
Botanical specimens  Search this
flowers (plants)  Search this
horticulture  Search this
plant material  Search this
plants  Search this
Credit Line:
Smithsonian Gardens, Horticultural Artifacts Collection. Gift of Frances Jones Poetker.
Accession number:
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Horticultural Artifacts Collection
Data Source:
Smithsonian Gardens