Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, & Technology
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Portraits of 12 Scientific Illustrators from the 17th to 21st Century

Women’s Work: Portraits of 12 Scientific Illustrators brings together the work of a group of women who render scientific information into the primary idiom of the human brain, visual imagery. A capable scientific illustrator has the ability to illuminate a subject and stimulate the viewer to look closer, learn more. The illustration will reach vast audiences the way no amount of text or numerical data can. Drawn from the collections of the Linda Hall Library and Missouri Botanical Garden Library, this exhibit highlights six historic women and demonstrates the strong foundation they built by also presenting the work of six contemporary women.

Women’s Work exhibits landmark illustrations in the history of science by six women who led the way at a time when women’s contributions to science were stifled by cultural norms of the day. This exhibit also presents imagery created for the important scientific publications and institutions of our time by six contemporary women. These women were selected because of the quality of their work and because their illustrations demonstrate a range of scientific disciplines, artistic styles, and printing techniques. Their lives demonstrate unique, as well as shared, challenges. Limiting the work of five centuries to selections from twelve women is a difficult task. For that reason we hope this small tribute will be looked on as an invitation to further exploration.

A copperplate engraving by Maria Sibylla
                      Merian depicting Pawpaw
                      (<em>Carica papaya Linnaeus</em>), Butterfly (<em>Nymphidium
                      caricae Linnaeus</em>), Larva (possibly <em>Lymantriidae</em>), and Moth (unidentified
From the Linda Hall Library.

Pawpaw (Carica papaya Linnaeus), Butterfly (Nymphidium caricae Linnaeus), Larva (possibly Lymantriidae), and Moth (unidentified Noctuidae). A copperplate engraving from Maria Sibylla Merian's 1705 counterproof edition of Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium.


Anna Lister  |  Maria Sibylla Merian  |  Elizabeth Gould  |  Sarah Drake  |  Anna Maria Hussey  |  Sarah Price  
Sally Bensusen  |  Megan Bluhm   |  Marlene Hill Donnelly  |  Bee Gunn  |  Jessa Huebing-Reitinger  |  Yevonn Wilson-Ramsey