Earth Laughs in Flowers

“Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.” – “Hamatreya” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

This post was written by Khalid Tamimi, Research Services Student Assistant and undergraduate in marketing. 

“Cannaceae: Canna generalis Equador,” Box 1, Page 11, Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Special Collections Research Center holds a myriad of materials that cover the flourishing world of Botany. This includes photograph collections, like the one by Kjell B. Sandved, or books like Histoire des plantes vénéneuses et suspectes de la France (The history of venomous and suspicious plants of France), Temple of Flora, and many more that we have in our catalog.

 

 

 

 

Kjell B. Sandved, Norwegian nature photographer, spent his life traveling across our green planet and capturing its versatility and beauty one frame at a time. His images capture so much detail that a mere glimpse is enough to slow down ones perception of time and get lost in a lifeless image that portrays the very essence of life itself.

 

“Bougainvillea glabra, Hawaii,” Box 1, Page 7, Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

As one peruses over the breathtaking photographs you can’t help but envy those who have dedicated their lives to the study and observation of nature’s finest. We as a species seem to be obsessed with beauty yet we tend to forget the ever-blooming beauty that Mother Nature is.

 

 

 

 

“Grevilla Banksii Kahili flower. Queensland Australia,” Box 1, Page 12, Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

 

 

Flowers are a great reminder that standing out and being different warrant celebration rather than scrutiny. As social creatures, we fixate on assimilation and  yet we often forget that beauty almost always lies in uniqueness. At first glimpse do you notice the single flower? Or the identical leaflets on either side?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Histoire des Plantes Vénéneuses et Suspectes de la France contains over 100 plant species which vary in beauty but are all poisonous. This 1798 book provides information on each plant, though written in French, describing the parts of each plant and other useful facts. L’Hellebore noir is a beautiful flower that can be found across France; also known as the Christmas rose or Helleborus Niger. Despite its misleading name this plant does not belong to the rose family rather is an evergreen perennial flowering plant in the buttercup family. Despite its aesthetic charm, this flower is actually poisonous. Touching or being near this plant can cause the burning of the eyes, mouth, and throat, coughing, and in some cases, oral ulcerations. This may be Mother Nature’s subtle reminder that just because something appears beautiful does not mean that it is harmless or good.

“L’Hellebore noir,” Bulliard, Pierre, Histoire des Plantes Vénéneuses et Suspectes de la France, QK100.F7 B85 1798, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

“Tulips,” Thornton, Robert John, Thorton’s Temple of Flora, QK98 .T5, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Written in 1951, this oversize edition of Thorton’s Temple of Flora (originally Thorton published some editions in the late 18th century and early 19th century) has large, beautiful illustration of flowers, most of which are in color. The text within the book describes Thorton’s life, interests in botany and his relationship with the Darwin family. Exploring these illustrations, one can learn vital life lessons from natures finest. Not only should we all take the time to appreciate the intricacies of the natural world that we live in. Similarly, we can learn a lot about ourselves and how we coexist with other living things in this world. We can coincide peacefully together, regardless of the differences in the colors of our petals, their origins, or which way we choose to face the sun.

“The Dragon Arum,” Thornton, Robert John, Thorton’s Temple of Flora, QK98 .T5, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections.

Celebrate National Moth Week with SCRC

The late Kjell Sandved, born in Norway in 1922, was a noted nature photographer who took pictures of various insects, including moths, from all over the world. Sandved is best known for finding and photographing various shapes and patterns on butterflies and moths, including every letter of the English alphabet, smiling faces, red hearts, and animal shapes. A member of the staff of the Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History, Sandved published two encyclopedias: The World of Music and The World of Art, and co-authored nine other works, including: Butterfly Magic, Insect Magic, and Spiders in the Smithsonian. He passed away on December 20, 2015.

To celebrate National Moth Week (July 23, 2016 – July 31, 2016), we are featuring some photographs that were donated to Special Collections Research Center by Kjell Sandved. 

"Dog figure on silkworm moth," Box 4, Page 12, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Dog figure on silkworm moth, Rhodesia” Box 4, Page 12, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

"Speiredonia Sp. Moth 'Face',"Box 4, Page 12, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Speiredonia Sp. Moth ‘Face’, Sabah”Box 4, Page 11, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

"Problepsis, new sp. moth 'bug design',"Box 4, Page 12, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Problepsis, new sp. moth ‘bug design’, Malaya”Box 4, Page 10, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

"Plutodes discigera moth, Malaya" Box 4, Page 12, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Plutodes discigera moth, Malaya” Box 4, Page 10, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

"Eucereon confusum moth, Manaus, Amazon" Box 4, Page 9, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Eucereon confusum moth, Manaus, Amazon” Box 4, Page 9, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

"Cosmosoma metallescens moth, Manaus, Amazon" Box 4, Page 9, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Cosmosoma metallescens moth, Manaus, Amazon” Box 4, Page 9, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

"'Warning behavior' repellant fluid from glands, Tiger Moth, Peru" Box 4, Page 8, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“‘Warning behavior’ repellant fluid from glands, Tiger Moth, Peru” Box 4, Page 8, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

"Azatrephes discalis, Tiger Moth, Manaus, Amazon" Box 4, Page 8, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Azatrephes discalis, Tiger Moth, Manaus, Amazon” Box 4, Page 8, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

"Oospila sp. moth, Manaus, Amazon" Box 4, Page 8, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

“Oospila sp. moth, Manaus, Amazon” Box 4, Page 8, in the Kjell Sandved nature photograph collection #C0020, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. Copyright held by Kjell Sandved.

For more information about Moth Week and how to celebrate, visit:

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/national-moth-week.xml 

http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/national-moth-week

The collection:

The finding aid for Kjell Sandved includes biographical information and a content list for the materials we hold. Additionally it can be found by going to sca.gmu.edu and searching for Kjell Sandved. Anyone can make an appointment to look through the collection by contacting speccoll@gmu.edu. 

The Kjell Sandved estate retains copyright for these photographs.

Happy Winter!

Edith McChesney Ker, often referred to as Edie, was an avid photographer of wildlife and nature.  She dedicated her life to traveling around the world taking photos and writing journal entries about her experiences. In the course of her career, Ker participated in more than 70 professional photographic camping safaris in Africa, including expeditions with primatologist Jane Goodall. She also served as president of the Society of Woman Geographers from 1997 to 1999. Born in 1924, she died in 2003. GMU is home to the Edith McChesney Ker collection.

Both of the images below are from her trip to Churchill, Manitoba in 1985.

Edith took many photos of polar bears during this trip.

Edith McChesney Ker, 1985