Over a long time, botanical sciences were strictly reserved for men, at least officially. Men were held in esteem as the scientists and experts of this domain. In reality, women have been using botany for therapeutic purposes since ancient times, and numerous discoveries made in this field are undoubtedly attributable to their work. Their knowledge was sometimes practised in the shadows, meek and silenced, in contrast with the academic freedom of men.
It wasn't until the 20th century that women were able to become members of scientific academies and botanical societies, thus providing their invaluable contribution as scientists. Elena Macellari has conducted meticulous and scrupulous archive research, masterfully reconstructing the studies and research of numerous Italian 20th century botanists, little known to the general public, including Eva Mameli Calvino, Eleonora Francini, Albina Messeri and Carmela Cortini.
Through clear yet captivating writing, the author takes us by the hand and leads us on a journey of discovery through the life and works of these fascinating female figures, women who have made significant contributions in the botanical sector, despite the persistence of discrimination in scientific fields of the 20th century. The book is decorated with precious images which enable us to gain a better understanding of these botanical enthusiasts as well as the cultural and scientific context of our recent past.
Botany is also about women: we shall come to embrace this affirmation upon concluding the book, inspired by gratitude and recognition for these women who succeeded in affirming their personality and works, with force and determination, against all the odds.
Elena Macellari has a degree in Agrarian Sciences and Technologies and a PhD in Land Planning. She has worked at the Faculty of Agrarian Studies at the Universities of Perugia and Milan. Currently she works as a garden and landscape designer. She also dedicates herself to the research and study of the art of gardening and the history of botany. She is a member of the Italian Botanical Society. Her books include: Eva Mameli Calvino, Giardinieri ed esposizioni botaniche in Italia (1800-1915), Nello specchio di Mabel, Nabù e il giardino cosmico.