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Crafton, Edith Caroline, 1833–

Edith C. Crafton science notebook, completed at South End House, Croydon.

Croyden, England, ca.1850.
Physical Description:
[41] leaves : illustrations ; 23 x 30 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Q160 .C73+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Archives & Manuscripts
The compiler of the present manuscript is probably Edith Caroline Crafton (later Edith Crafton Wise) of Croydon, born 12 June 1833.
Illustrated science notebook by Edith C. Crafton, a student at South End House, a Society of Friends school in Croydon, Surrey. The manuscript is a record of current scientific thought, drawing on a number of popular contemporary publications. It includes a handful of entries unrelated to science: a transcribed poem by Felicia Hemans; two copies of society portraits (one based on Thomas Lawrence's image of the Calmady girls); a chronological chart of the sovereigns of England, France, and Scotland; and a biographical note on British prison reformer John Howard, much admired by the Quakers. The bulk of the manuscript, however, is dedicated to geography, mechanics, astronomy, and geology. Nearly all of the 41 leaves include illustrations in black ink, accompanying manuscript notes in various calligraphic styles, most interleaved with tissue guards. There are 14 full-page illustrations, maps, and graphs; four of them are hand-colored, two on heavier card mounted to leaves.
Crafton's entries vary in format, reflecting an interest in the graphic representation of data: she charts the comparative sizes of lakes and rivers throughout the world, expresses the relative distance of planets from the sun as a function of "a cannon ball flying at the rate of 1000 Miles an hour," and produces a detailed hand-colored copy of George Greenough's geological map of England and Wales, color-coded by strata. Throughout these exercises, Crafton draws on recent scientific and educational publications, among them James Reynolds's popular chart of comets and aerolites (the illustration by John Emslie), John Tallis's comparative views of the Eastern and Western hemispheres, and contemporary articles on astronomy in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal.
Crafton's most sustained engagement with a source text comes in the final section of the notebook, where she transcribes multiple geological passages from Thomas Milner's 1846 bestseller, The gallery of nature, billed as a "tour through creation." Her precise hand-drawn copies of Milner's wood-engraved fossils, bones, and dinosaurs are arranged in a column that runs for a dozen pages; it documents the eve of the Darwinian revolution, nearing an evolutionary model unexplored in the texts that Crafton transcribes.
The full-page illustrations include: The journeyings of the Israelites [map] -- Sweden and Norway [map] -- Comparative chart of the principal lakes and inland seas in the Eastern Hemisphere -- A comparati[v]e chart of the principal lakes and inland seas in the Western Hemisphere -- A comparative chart of the principal rivers in the Eastern Hemisphere -- A comparative chart of the principal rivers in the Western Hemisphere -- Mechanical powers -- Comparative magnitudes of the planets [with] Relative distances of the planets from the sun -- On comets and aerolites -- [Graphite portrait of two young girls, after Lawrence] -- [Graphite drawing of a teenage girl titled "to [?] come out"] -- Geological map of England -- Carboniferous system.
Subject Terms:
Astronomy -- Study and teaching -- Great Britain.
Crafton, Edith C., 1833-
Geography -- Study and teaching -- Great Britain.
Geology -- Study and teaching -- Great Britain.
Girls -- Education -- Great Britain.
Howard, John, 1726-1790.
Lawrence, Thomas, Sir, 1769-1830. Calmady children.
Natural history -- Study and teaching -- Great Britain.
Quakers -- Education.
School notebooks -- Great Britain.
Science -- Study and teaching -- Great Britain.
Society of Friends -- Education.
Statistics -- Charts, diagrams, etc.
Women in natural history.
Exercise books.
Ink drawings.
Graphite drawings.
Tallis, John, 1817-1876.
Milner, Thomas, -1882. Gallery of nature.
Greenough, George Bellas, 1778-1855. Geological map of England and Wales.
Emslie, John, 1813-1875. Series of popular astronomical diagrams.
Hemans, Mrs., 1793-1835.
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