The untold story of two sisters whose discoveries sped the growth of American science in the nineteenth century
In Mischievous Creatures, historian Catherine McNeur uncovers the lives and work of Margaretta Hare Morris and Elizabeth Carrington Morris, sisters and scientists in early America. Margaretta, an entomologist, was famous among her peers and the public for her research on seventeen-year cicadas and other troublesome insects. Elizabeth, a botanist, was a prolific illustrator and a trusted supplier of specimens to the country's leading experts. Together, their discoveries helped fuel the growth and professionalization of science in antebellum America. But these very developments confined women in science to underpaid and underappreciated roles for generations to follow, erasing the Morris sisters' contributions along the way.
Mischievous Creatures is an indelible portrait of two unsung pioneers, one that places women firmly at the center of the birth of American science.
Catherine McNeur is an associate professor of history at Portland State University in Oregon and the author of Taming Manhattan. She is the recipient of several awards, including the American Society for Environmental History's George Perkins Marsh Prize. She lives in Portland, Oregon.