Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Why should Ladies Garden in the 18C?

A Proper Female Pursuit for "the fair daughters of Columbia" in a Patriarchal Society

Early botanist Jane Colden Farquher (1724-66) came from a traditional patriarchal family. Her physician father Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776) sailed to New York in 1710, He was Lt. Governor of New York from 1761 until his death & served as Surveyor General for New York. His scientific curiosity included a personal correspondence between 1749-1751 with Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778).

1748-52 John Wollaston (American colonial era painter, 1710-1775) Cadwallader Colden

Colden thought women should study botany because of "their natural curiosity & the pleasure they take in the beauty and variety of dress seems to fit them for it."  Moreover, he viewed such study as an ideal substitute for idleness among his female children, when he moved his family to the country in 1729.


He believed gardening & botany "an Amusement which may be made agreable for the Ladies who are often at a loss to fill their time."  He went so far as to recommend that perhaps from Jane's example "young ladies in a like situation may find an agreable way to fill up some part Of their time which otherwise might be heavy on their hand May amuse & please themselves & at the same time be usefull to others."