Kwn as the Audubon of Botany, Philadelphia Quaker Mary Morris Vaux Walcott (1860-1940) was a gifted artist whose stunning watercolors comprise a catalog of North American wildflowers. Walcott was catapulted to the highest levels of society and national politics by a late and bold marriage to the secretary of the Smithsonian. Along with an early (1887) transcontinental travelogue, never-before published correspondence with fellow Quaker and First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, and Commissioner Mary Walcotts reports for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, this biography reveals rich intersections of history, religion, politics, womens studies, science, and art during the transformative times in which she lived. Walcott, and other intrepid women like her who sought escape from Victorian social conventions and opportunity for adventure and self-expression in the American West, were gifted artists, writers, and historians.
Mid-career, Marjorie G. Jones, a graduate of Wheaton College, Norton, MA, and the Rutgers School of Law, returned to graduate school to earn an MA in historical studies at the Graduate Faculty of the New School in New York City. There her thesis regarding the unpublished writing of British historian Frances Yates grew into her first book, Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition (Ibis Press, 2008), since translated into Japanese and Italian. For the past twenty years, she has taught history at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, including classes for its college program at Sing Sing Prison. On frequent visits to Philadelphia to conduct research for her biography of Mary Vaux Walcott, she fell in love with the city, where she now lives with her husband and teaches history for Villanova University at Graterford Prison.