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Barber, Mary E. (born Bowker, 1818-1899)

Naturalist and artist

Plug (1999): "Among the contributors to South African science who died this year [1899], one deserves special mention. She is Mary E. Barber (born Bowker, 1818-1899), naturalist and artist, and probably the most important female amateur scientist in nineteenth-century South Africa. She read and published various papers on natural history topics, corresponded with prominent scientists both in South Africa and overseas, and donated many specimens to local museums. A number of the species of insects and plants that she discovered were named after her. An ironic recognition of her contributions to science is her inclusion in the publication Men of the Times (Cape Town, 1905)."


  • Cohen, A. 2000. Archives of Natural History 27 (2): 187-208.

Compiled by Hamish Robertson

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