By Dawn Bazely

Before Carrie Derick became Canada’s first professional woman scientist, as a professor in Botany and Genetics at McGill University in 1912, we know that White, anglophone Canadian women were making an income from running garden centres, as botanical illustrators, and from writing magazine articles, field guides and coffee-table books about botany, horticulture and gardening. Evidence for this comes from artwork, and many written documents, including the Canadian Horticulturist Magazine (see ‘Let it snow[berry]‘).

My colleague, York University history professor, Kate McPherson and I, wrote about what was happening in Ontario, in our chapter for feminist and science historian, Professor Emerita Ann B (Rusty) Shteir’s forthcoming Women, Men, and Plants in 19th Century Canada: New Resources, New Perspectives (working title). Rusty wrote the influential 1996 history of science monograph: Cultivating Women, Cultivating Science: Flora’s Daughters and Botany in England, 1760 to 1860.

Figure 1: Rusty’s 2017 Workshop poster that brought together the botanists, biodiversity specialists and historians who contributed to her forthcoming edited book.

Editor’s note

In true Dawn Bazely style, she has been too modest to mention a wonderful blog about her life in STEM by Grace Constantino of BHL. This includes some of the images incorporated into the AdventBotany blog today.


Bazely & McPherson in Shteir’s forthcoming Botany in 19th Century Canada: New Resources, New Beginnings (working title). McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Constantino, G. (2020) “Writing Women Back Into the History of STEM”: BHL Supports Research on Women in Science BHL Blog March 12, 2020

Y-File article about Prof. Rusty Shteir, on the occasion of her receiving an Honoray Degree from York University in 2016:

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