The Pocket Guide to the Wildflowers by Samuel Gottscho circa 1951
This is the book of a photographer who, late in life, became interested in wildflowers, first as subjects for his camera and afterwards as flowers and plants themselves... (From the chapter - The Pursuit of a Hobby)
If you ever needed an invitation to get lost in the wilds of nature for a while, this book would be an ideal companion.
Petite in size, The Pocket Guide to the Wildflowers was a passion project of self-taught hobbyist turned professional commercial photographer Samuel Gottscho (1875-1971). Published in 1951, it is packed full of botanical identification information for flowers growing wild in the American landscape.
Unlike some nature guides that tend to be organized in one specific way, this one is organized in four ways - by color, by month of bloom, by location and by visual reference - so that nature lovers can easily and precisely identify the types of flowers that are of immediate interest.
Samuel fell in love with photography in his early 20s but a decades-long career in sales kept him from exploring his interests more intensely, When he turned 50, he decided to change all that and devote all his time to his true passion.
The first field of wildflowers that caught Samuel's attention was on his summer vacation in the Adirondack mountains. Not knowing what they were at the time, but still intent on capturing the scene, Samuel eventually discovered it was a big field of wild bergamot. He was hooked. From that moment forward, Samuel developed a new appreciation for wildflowers and the beautiful subjects they turned out to be.
Along with his botanical interests, Samuel also became a highly acclaimed urban landscape photographer, especially noted for his glamorous portraits of 1930s-era New York City buildings. Over the long course of his late-in-life second career, his work has appeared in hundreds of well-known magazines and periodicals.
Working right up until his death at the age of 95, Samuel never tired of photographing flowers. He had a favorite spot on Long Island that he would return to year after year each summer, which he liked to say "offered him world enough" when it came to photographing his favorite subjects.
This book contains 221 different species of wildflowers that appear in various parts of the natural landscape from Canada all the way down to Florida. Samuel took all the photos himself, and the line drawings were recreated from his still photographs to ensure complete visual accuracy.
A fun companion for the picnic basket, the nature walk or the camping trip - this pocket guide is small enough to literally fit in your pocket but big enough to keep you entertained for hours.
- Published in April 1951
- Contains 192 pages
- Includes a bevy of charts, diagrams and illustrations for easy identification purposes
- There's a wildflower quiz and coloring book in the final pages of the book to test your knowledge, record your findings and add your own artistic flair
- Includes color and black and white photos as well as line drawings throughout
In wonderful vintage condition. There's a small scuff on the front cover that carries over onto the spine, but other than this book is in great shape. The spine is tight, all pages are clean and bright and there are no interior markings.
Measures 6.5" inches (length) x 4.5" inches (width) x .5" inches (thickness) and weighs 4 oz.
Read more about the amazing life and work of Samuel Gottscho over on the blog here.