Mary Agnes Chase (1869-1963), sitting at desk with specimens

Description: Mary Agnes Chase (1869-1963) specialized in the study of grasses and conducted extensive field work in South America, often personally funding her research trips, as it was considered inappropriate for women to conduct such work. Chase joined the Department of Agriculture in 1903 as a botanical illustrator and eventually became Scientific Assistant in Systematic Agrostology, 1907; Assistant Botanist, 1923; and Associate Botanist, 1925. In 1935, became Principal Botanist in charge of Systematic Agrostology and Custodian of the Section of Grasses, Division of Plants, United States National Museum.

 

Creator/Photographer: Unidentified photographer

 

Medium: Black and white photographic print

 

Date: c. 1960

 

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives

 

Accession number: SIA2009-0712

 

View more collections from the Smithsonian Institution.

 

Related blog posts:

Formidable: Women in Science

Ali, AproposGirl and 36 more people faved this
  • Smithsonian Institution 6y

    Read more about Mary Agnes Chase here - blog.photography.si.edu/2009/03/08/formidable/
  • alers40 6y

    Famous women with names U, V, X, & Y:

    Usula B. Marvin, geologist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center forum.wgbh.org/lecture/life-our-home-turf-scanning-solar-...

    Vita Sackville-West, author, gardener,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vita_Sackville-West

    Victoria Regina, queen

    Vera Brittain, author, pacifist en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera_Brittain

    Valentina Tereshkova - Russian cosmonaut en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentina_Tereshkova
    (lots of Valentinas en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentina)

    Xenia Desni, Ukranian, silent film star

    Yoko Ono, Japanese artist

    Unity Mitford, Fascist sypathizer and friend of Hitler en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unity_Mitford
  • pennylrichardsca (now at ipernity) 6y

    More about Mary Agnes Chase:

    Botanist Mary Agnes Meara Chase was born April 20, 1869, in Illinois. Her father Martin Meara, an Irish railroad worker, was hung as a murderer when Mary Agnes was a toddler. After a elementary education in Chicago, Mary Agnes quit school to work as a newspaper typesetter, a proofreader, even as a meat inspector. She was briefly married, then widowed, at 19. She had always been artistic, and interested in plants; a minister who was also a botanist hired Mary
    Agnes to draw specimens of mosses he had collected. Some of her
    illustrations were selected for publication in scientific journals. In
    1903, she took a Washington-based job as an illustrator for the US
    Department of Agriculture. She would eventually become a senior botanist at the Smithsonian, and one of the world's experts on grasses of North America. She went on several collecting expeditions to Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico (her personal collection was donated to the Smithsonian and the National Herbarium). Her strongly feminist politics led her to activism that endangered her government employment, including jail time and forced feedings during a hunger strike for suffrage.

    Here's a local history account mentioning her father's lynching, for
    the murder of his son, the older brother of Mary Agnes Meara:
    www.rootsweb.com/~ilicgs/monthly/meara2.htm
  • sezohanim 6y

    An inspiring story, of success against the odds.
  • John 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Systematic Botany (not for "pretty flower images"), and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Arnaldo Principe do Amaral 6y

    I'm brasilian Veterinary of bovine . Beautiful History, beautiful woman!
    Sorry about that my English, no speak.
  • Passiflorae 1y

    Here is an example of a Passion flower that she found in Brazil at Cabo Frio.

    [Passiflora racemosa 'Carioca']

    Passiflora racemosa 'Carioca' by Passiflorae


    She was mentioned several times in the famous monograph on Passiflora by Killip 1938 even though she was a specialist & expert on grasses.
  • Smithsonian Institution 1y

    That's really interesting, @Passiflorae. She was quite impressive. We have her fieldbooks in our collection, including this one of an expedition to Brazil - transcription.si.edu/project/6611
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