Vintage Oversized Botanical Coffee Table Book - Wild Flowers of America by Mary Vaux Walcott & Dorothy Falcon Platt - 1975 Edition, 12th Printing
How lavishly are the flowers scattered over the face of the earth! Susan Fenimore Cooper
First published in 1953 and containing 400 full-color botanical prints, Wild Flowers of America features the beautiful 1920s watercolor art of Mary Vaux Walcott (1860-1940) and Dorothy Falcon Platt (1881-1971).
These portraits represent some of the most common and most exotic flowers that graced our 20th-century American landscape from Alaska to Maine, from Canada to Mexico, and from each and every state in between.
Born from 25 years of traveling adventures across the country, Mary Vaux Walcott accompanied her museum director/geologist husband, Charles Walcott, as he collected specimens for the Smithsonian Institute. While Charles foraged, Mary painted. It was a tough job some days, as she climbed rocky ledges and mountainsides, waded through ponds and across waterways to capture the diverse variety that makes up the American wildflower landscape. Careful not to disturb the natural environment, she painted all her subjects from life, never cutting or taking away a single specimen to save and study at another time. Now considered a pioneer in her field, Mary's botanical illustrations were executed when few women had the opportunity, encouragement and support to study the natural sciences - an industry mostly dominated by men.
Once completed, Mary's paintings were bound in a five-volume set first published in 1926 under the title North American Wild Flowers. Originals were held in the archives of the Smithsonian. In 1953, her work was published again, in a new format - one single book - along with additional paintings by American botanist and illustrator, Dorothy Falcon Platt. Successful immediately upon debut, just like her 1920s publication launch, this midcentury version called Wild Flowers of America, served many purposes. It was a reference book, an art book and also a natural history chronicle of what was blooming and where. Twelve printings later, this edition was published in 1975, still just as popular as its 1953 original.
Photo of Mary Vaux Walcott courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute circa 1924
- 12th printing, published in 1975
- 470 pages
- In addition to the color portraits, there is a 69-page description guide with detailed botanical information regarding each flower featured
- Botanical names appear at the bottom of each floral portrait
- Contains original dust jacket
In lovely vintage condition. The dust jacket contains one small rip on the front bottom corner near the spine which was repaired previously with tape. There is the name of the previous owner written in pen on the inside endpaper and dated 1977. The interior pages are clean and bright. There is the lightest of splatter spots on the fore-edge, but these do not bleed through to any of the floral portraits. The spine is tight and all pages are intact.
Measures 8.5" inches (width) x 11.75" inches (length). Measures 9" inches (width) x 12" inches (length) x 1.5" inches (thickness) and weighs 3.7 lbs.
Find single bookplates of Mary and Dorothy's flowers that were rescued from a damaged book here.