An intercontinental portrait of two young scientists exploring the nature of friendship, love, insects, and life on Earth.
Friend Beloved invites readers to enter the imaginative worlds of two ambitious young scientists: Marie Carmichael Stopes, the palaeobotanist who found international fame as a birth control advocate and feminist icon, and Charles Gordon Hewitt, the housefly expert who became one of Canada's trailblazers of nature conservation before he died in the Spanish flu pandemic.
Ecology was a new science that connected Stopes and Hewitt, the word coming from oikos, the Greek term for "home". Reproducing a small but significant cache of letters written before the First World War, the book unearths their respective versions of home and shows how these mattered in both domestic affairs and scientific passions. Their co-authored 1909 scientific article, which Hewitt called "the one little sin", is reprinted as an appendix, along with a chapter of Stopes's unpublished novel A Man's Mate, entitled "Friends". Laura Jean Cameron provides a lively, thought-provoking introduction. Her epilogue considers why Stopes and Hewitt's friendship was largely forgotten and how its recollection reveals early ecology's revolutionary promise but also its colonial and eugenic entanglements.
Weaving accounts not only of the professional worlds the correspondents traversed in Britain, Japan, and Canada, but also of intensely personal, relationships involved in the changing nature of their field, Friend Beloved connects careers and emotional trajectories at a key moment in the women's suffrage movement and the making of modern science.
1. Reopenings 3
2. Pleasant Friday Afternoons 14
3. Insects from Japan 27
4. A Kiss in Canada 55
5. The One Little Sin 72
6. Love’s Comedy 87
7. Rereading the Rocks 116
8. Epilogue 136
1 “Ordinary Meeting, 20 October 1908.” Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society 53 (1908): iv-v. 157
2 Marie C. Stopes, PhD, DSc, and C. Gordon Hewitt. “On the Tentbuilding of the Ant Lasius niger Linn. in Japan.” Memoirs and Proceedings of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society 53, 20 (1909): 1-7. 161
3 Chapter VIII, “friends,” excerpted from A Man’s Mate, ca 1910, an unpublished novel by Mortlake (pseudonym of Marie Stopes). 169
Laura Jean Cameron is professor of historical geography at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
"Cameron's intricate picture of an emerging science is like lacework, knitting together the scattered connections in two important scientific lives to offer a charming, personal portrait of ecology in place and in the wider world."
– Libby Robin, Australian National University
"A highly original study of the intersection of the public careers and private lives of two ambitious scientists in the early twentieth century. Interconnection is its central thread, from the integrating ethos of contemporary ecology to the entanglement of desire, ambition, and collaboration revealed in personal correspondence. This lucid and engaging book humanizes the history of science, showing it to be made through all-too-human relationships rather than the product of disembodied authorship."
– Felix Driver, Royal Holloway, University of London