Nature Whisperer

On February 17, 1858, educator, illustrator, biologist, photographer, and writer Margaret Warner Morley was born. After graduating as a teacher in New York City, she studied at what is now the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, before teaching in Wisconsin and Illinois.

In an era when little science material was written for children, Morley wrote books that engaged them, calling their attention to small and common animal life present in most neighbourhoods. She filled the books with her own accurate, clear line illustrations in small bites of detail and labeled cutaways, whispers of grown-up confidences that nudged her readers closer to view the marvels of Nature, to feel the excitement of Knowledge, and to build greater respect for the environment.

Some of her books served as texts for teachers as well as their pupils. The Bee People contains over 100 pen drawings that illustrate the Honey Bee’s eyes, tongue, honey sac, legs, wings, honeycomb, wax manufacture, and other facts and features. Little Wanderers explains the adaptive travel practices of dandelions, thistles, milkweed, lettuce, asters and golden-rod, cattails, maples, pines, tumbleweeds, berries, and apples. Morley gives The Wasps their own book to show off their unique construction expertise in paper, masonry, carpentry, and mining.

Science writer-illustrator Margaret Warner Morley at her hedge surrounded by pen drawings from some of her best-selling books about bees, wasps, and seeds.

Science writer-illustrator Margaret Warner Morley at her hedge surrounded by pen drawings from some of her best-selling books about bees, wasps, and seeds.

In addition to over a dozen nature themed books for children, Morley also wrote travelogues. She made many photo studies of Appalachian people and mountain communities and this collection now resides in the North Carolina Museum of History.

B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage

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