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COLLECTION Identifier: ecb00010

Original water-colors: Flowers of woodlands

Overview

Decorative title page and 103 watercolor paintings of wild flowers by Caroline Murdoch for Caroline L.W. French.

Dates

  • 1867-1903

Physical Description

Paintings originally housed in two albums. Paintings detached from albums and stored in one box. Albums boxed separately.

"Flowers of woodlands" embossed in gold on the front cover of one album. The album is leather. The back cover is embossed "C.L.W.F 1868" in gold, (33 x 43 cm). "For Miss French" that is Caroline L. W. French. Album includes a three page index of plates numbered 1-50. Individual plates are not numbered.

"C.L.W.F" is embossed in gold on the cover of the other album (32 x 43 cm). The album has a leather spine and corners.

Extent

0.5 linear feet (2 flat boxes) : 104 sheets and two original bindings ; 19 x 23 cm to 24.5 x 31 cm
This collection contains one decorative title page and 103 watercolor paintings of flowers made by Caroline Murdoch for Caroline L.W. French. The paintings are dated from 1867-1869. Also includes two small printed gift labels and two original bindings.

The scientific name is often written on the recto of the painting in black ink or in pencil on the verso. Common names are sometimes included. Corrected or supplied names that were added by library staff appear in square brackets. Several paintings bear Murdoch’s signature and several contain sketches on reverse. Some paintings attributed to Miss French.

Biographical note

Caroline Murdoch was born Caroline Dorcas Smith in 1817 to parents William and Caroline Smith. She was educated at a private girls’ school started by Joseph Hale Abbot. There she befriended Caroline Healey Dall who went on to become a reformer and transcendentalist. Dall and Murdoch remained in contact throughout their lives.

Murdoch returned to Abbot’s school as a drawing teacher. She also taught private lessons. She married Joseph Murdoch, the son of a wealthy plantation owner in Cuba, in 1844. They lived in Roxbury. They had one son and five daughters, the youngest of whom, Helen Messinger Murdoch, became a well-known photographer.

Murdoch was predeceased by her husband in 1884. She died in Boston on September 5, 1902.
Sources: Cheney ED. 1902. Reminiscences of Ednah Dow Cheney (Born Littlehale). Boston (MA): Lee and Shepard.

Dall CWH. 1900. Alongside. Boston (MA): Thomas Todd.

Hale EE. 1908. Captain Joseph Murdoch of Company G. In: Mann, AW.

History of the Forty-fifth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. Boston (MA): W. Spooner. p. 204-206.

Vital Statistic Records, Massachusetts Archives.

Provenance

Caroline L.W. French bequeathed her collection of Murdoch’s paintings to George Lincoln Goodale in May 1903. The collection includes a printed gift label: Original water-colors. The gift of Miss C.L.W. French, May, 1903, Boston.

Gift acknowledged by George Lincoln Goodale in the Botanic Garden section (page 228) in the Harvard University. Annual reports of the President and Treasurer of Harvard College for 1902-1903.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Illustrations of a few wild flowers from eastern United States by Caroline D. Murdoch.
Title
Murdoch, C. D. (Caroline Dorcas), 1817-1902. Original water-colors: Flowers of woodlands: A Guide.
Status
completed
Author
Archives, Economic Botany Library of Oakes Ames, Harvard University Herbaria
Description rules
dacs
EAD ID
ecb00010

Repository Details

Part of the Botany Libraries, Economic Botany Library of Oakes Ames, Harvard University Repository

Contact:
Harvard University Herbaria
22 Divinity Ave
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-2366