spencer natural history collection


Eloise Butler and Women in Botany

“The study of botany is rapidly increasing in favor with women. The opportunities for making practical use of this knowledge also are increasing. Teachers of botany are in great demand; women are employed in all the botanical gardens and women botanists with literary or artistic ability find a wide field in the form of stories and text books for children, with illustrations, also in contributions and illustrations to the various magazines and garden journals.” - The Courier, Lincoln, Nebraska June 29, 1901

Eloise Butler was one of the many women who favored botany. She was a prime force in creating the first public wildflower garden in the United States, authorized by the Minneapolis Park Board on April 15, 1907. She remained curator of the garden until her death on April 10, 1933. Along with her botanical colleagues in the city and around the country, she contributed to the knowledge, documentation, and appreciation of our native plant species. Some of the botanists and botanical artists profiled in this exhibit were people Eloise Butler knew personally; others represent the popular and scientific interest in botany during her lifetime. Much of the source material for this photo-stream comes from the Minneapolis Central Library’s Special Collections Division or the Minneapolis Athenaeum’s Spencer Natural History Collection.

This online exhibit was formed from a display outside the Doty Board Room at the Minneapolis Central Library that was featured last fall in conjunction with the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden Florilegium exhibit by the Minnesota School of Botanical Art.


This display and online exhibit was curated by Minneapolis Central Librarian Mary Linden.