June 2010 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Lady Skipwith's Library

Back in March, the Library of Virginia presented the 2010 Virginia Women in History awards. They honored eight women who have made important contributions to Virginia and the nation. One neat pick this year was Jean Miller Skipwith (1748-1826), described as "an avid book collector and amateur botanist." She assembled one the largest libraries owned by an American woman in her time. Her 800 volumes included travel and history, novels, cookbooks, encyclopedias, essay collections, and children's literature.

The collection also included gardening and botanical books. She collected specimens and made botanical notes that are still of interest and use to horticultural historians. Pictured here is her manuscript list of wildflowers growing in her garden (now at the Swem Library, College of William and Mary).

My thanks to 'How I Got Started' columnist Ellen Firsching Brown for sending along this interesting news!