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The Role of Women in the History of Geology

Product Code: SP281
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by C V Burek and B Higgs
Publication Date: 24 August 2007
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Special Publication 281. Reprinted 2019.

Where were the women in Geology? This book is a first as it unravels the diverse roles women have played in the history and development of geology as a science predominantly in the UK, Ireland and Australia, and selectively in Germany, Russia and US. The volume covers the period from the late eighteenth century to the present day and shows how the roles that women have played changed with time. These included illustrators, museum collectors and curators, educationalists, researchers and geologists. Originally as wives, sisters or mothers many were assistants to their male relatives. This book looks at all these forgotten women and for the first time historians and scientists together explore the contribution they made to this male-dominated subject. There are individual profiles on remarkable women: Catherine Raisin, Dorothea Bate, Cuvier’s daughters, Grace Prestwich, Annie Greenly, Nancy Kirk, Margaret Crosfield, Ethel Skeat, Maria Ogivlie Gordon, Marie Stopes, Anne Phillips, Muriel Arber and Etheldred Bennett. Pulling together this extensive research uncovered common issues and generated emergent themes. The Editors have brought this new research together under these themes and tried to answer the question Where were the women in Geology? They go on to discuss how these role models can be applicable to today’s society.

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Related items.

Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN: 1-86239-227-7
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 978-1-86239-227-4
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 352
Weight: 0.95 kg


The role of women in the history of geology: an introduction, C V Burek and B Higgs • The role of women in geological higher education - Bedford College, London (Catherine Raison) and Newnham College, Cambridge, UK, C V Burek • Fossil hunters, a cave explorer and a rock analyst; notes on some early women contributors to geology, M R S Creese • The contribution of British women to Carboniferous palaeobotany during the first half of the 20th century, H E Fraser and C J Cleal • The role of women in British Quaternary Science, J K Hart • The quiet workforce: the various roles of women in geological and natural history museums during the early to mid-1900s, P N Wyse Jackson and M E Spencer Jones • The historical problems of travel for women undertaking geological fieldwork, C V Burek and M Kolbl-Ebert • Great Expectations: Florence Bascom (1842-1945) and the education of early US women geologists, R M Clary and J H Wandersee • The role of women in the history of geological studies in Ireland, B Higgs and P N Wyse Jackson • The role of British and German women in early 19th century geology - a comparative assessment, M Kolbl-Ebert • Invincible but mostly invisible: Australian women's contribution to geology and palaeontology, S Turner • Rediscovering and conserving the Lower Palaeozoic 'treasures' of Ethel Woods (nee Skeat) and Margaret Crosfield in northeast Wales, C V Burek and J A Malpas • Marie Stopes and the Fern Ledges of Saint John, New Brunswick, H J Falcon-Lang and R F Miller • Etheldred Benett (1776-1845) - the first woman geologist? S Laming and D Laming • Grace Anne Milne (Lady Prestwich) - more than an amanuensis?, J D Mather and I Campbell • Anne Phillips: John's geological companion, N Morgan • Keeping it in the family: the extraordinary case of Cuvier's daughters, M Orr • The influential Muriel Arber - a personal reflection, E Robinson • A knowledge unique: the life of the pioneering explorer and palaeontologist, Dorothea Bate (1878-1951), K Shindler • Maria Matilda Ogilvie Gordon (1864-1939) - A Scottish researcher in the Alps, M Wachtler and C V Burek • The role of Annie Greenly in elucidation of the geology of Wales, T P T Williams • Nancy Kirk: turning the world of graptolites upside-down, A R Wyatt.


Jill Schneiderman

Review was featured in ISIS 100.2 June 2009

Thanks to the work of editors C.V. Burek and B. Higgs and the authors of the essays in this remarkable collection, we can now appreciate the roles in this history not only of Mary Anning but also of Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, Margaret Benson, Eliza Maria Gordon Cumming, Sophie Duvaucel, Catherine Raisin, Mary Rosse, Gertude Elles, Ethel Woods, Margaret Crosfield, Marie Stopes, Ethelred Bennett, Grace Anne Milne, Anne Phillips, Agnew Arber, Dorothea Bate, Maria Matilda Ogilvie Gordon, and Annie Greenly. The result is a compelling anthology that will at long last allow interested scholars to examine the contributions of women to the development of geology as a science.

….For the reader motivated to understand not only the role of women in the history of science in general, but their role in nineteenth-and early twentieth-century geology in particular, The role of Women in the History of Geology is most welcome.

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