Mystery 19th Century Botanist Tracked Down Following Appeal
By Moya Zhao
Isabella Anne Allen was a mysterious woman in general, with the only information about her kept in an old book and the many secrets she held. However, after further research, BBC was able to trace her to the village Madsdresfielf, Worscetsure.
The main reason her story gained popularity itself was through a few poems, flowers and doodles in the English Flora. This book was donated by the Royal Hortical Society, and was then found when boxes were sorted out in preparation for a new library, and this only revealed even more information about the true author of the contents. They were able to dig up that she was a gardener as well as a botanist and was quite respected in the community.
Isabella Anne Allen was born in 1851 where she lived comfortably with her parents and several servants. The property had many gardens and woodlands that enabled her to begin collecting and researching plants. In her life, she contributed many important facts to the community as well.
She had a very important role as botany descended from hobby to expertise, and it alone was very important in the fight for women’s rights. She added to Herbaria, and preserved flowers and herbs alike.
Isabella Anne Allen was a very important historical figure in the world of botany, albeit little is known about her. Notably, Allen contributed to the English Flora, the Herbaria and countless other sources that are cited as major documents in botany. She did much for women’s rights, and was able to provide a lot of rich information.