Published in 1998, Ladies in the Laboratory provided a systematic survey and comparison of the work of 19th-century American and British women in scientific research. A companion volume, published in 2004, focused on women scientists from Western Europe. In this third volume, author Mary R.S. Creese expands her scope to include the contributions of 19th- and early 20th-century women of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
The women whose lives and work are discussed here range from natural history collectors and scientific illustrators of the early and mid years of the 19th century to the first generation of graduates of the new colonial colleges and universities. Rarely acknowledged in publications of the British and European specialists, the contributions of these women nonetheless formed a significant part of the natural history information about extensive, previously unknown regions and their products.
Rather than a biographical dictionary or a collection of self-contained essays on individuals from many time periods, Ladies in the Laboratory III is a connected narrative tied into the wider framework of 19th-century science and education. A well-organized blend of individual life stories and quantitative information, this volume is for everyone interested in the story of women's participation in 19th century science. The stories of these women make for fascinating reading and serve as a valuable source for the student of women's and colonial history.
Mary R. S Creese —
Mary R.S. Creese is a former research chemist and has written numerous publications about the history of women scientists. She is the author of Ladies in the Laboratory: American and British Women in Science, 1800-1900 (Scarecrow, 1998) and Ladies in the Laboratory II: West European Women in Science, 1800-1900 (Scarecrow, 2003).
Creese, Mary R. S. Ladies in the laboratory III: South African, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian women in science: nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: a survey of their contributions, by Mary R. S. Creese with Thomas M. Creese. Scarecrow, 2010. 247p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780810872882. Reviewed in 2010aug CHOICE.
This is the third book in a series (Ladies in the Laboratory, CH, Oct'98, 36-0932; Ladies in the Laboratory II, CH, Nov'04, 42-1523) that examines selected women whose work was considered significant enough to be included in the Royal Society of London Catalogue of Scientific Papers between 1800 and 1900. While in previous volumes, Creese, a former research chemist, concentrated on women from Britain, America, and Europe, in this third volume, she explores women of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. All four countries have a British colonial history, but the science-related contributions of the women in this work extend beyond what is found in the Catalogue. The colonies recognized the importance of botanical illustrators, amateur collectors, and educators as well as skywatchers and physicians. The lives of the women detailed are extremely interesting. Though the maps are appreciated, it would have been nice to see some of the women's illustrations or other related images. Overall, this extensively researched, well-written book will appeal to all students and researchers and a wide audience of general readers.
Summing Up: Essential. All readers interested in women in science or women in history or the colonial period. -- L. S. Rigg, Northern Illinois University