Unpublished Cuban Botanical Illustrations of Nancy Kingsbury Wollstonecraft to be Revealed at UF

Cueto will present images of the manuscript illustrations and share the importance of the manuscript to Cuban history on Thursday, November 8 in Smathers Library, Room 100 at 3:00 p.m.

Unpublished Cuban Botanical Illustrations of Nancy Kingsbury Wollstonecraft to be Revealed at UF

         

October 29, 2018

FOR RELEASE October 29, 3018
Media Contact: Barbara Hood, bhood@ufl.edu

Unpublished Cuban Botanical Illustrations of Nancy Kingsbury Wollstonecraft to be revealed at UF

Gainesville, Fla. – Thanks to the collaboration between the University of Florida (UF) Libraries and Cuban expert historian Emilio Cueto, the one (and likely only) copy of an unpublished manuscript from 1828 by Nancy Kingsbury Wollstonecraft, “Specimens of the Plants and Fruits of the Island of Cuba”, has been discovered at the Cornell University Libraries in Ithaca, New York. This unpublished manuscript is highly significant because it represents work by talented, but unknown, female scientist and artist from the U.S. working in Cuba. The manuscript was first reported in 1828 and thought by most to be lost for 190 years.

Cueto will present images of the manuscript illustrations and share the importance of the manuscript to Cuban history on Thursday, November 8 in Smathers Library, Room 100 at 3:00 p.m.

Cueto made this discovery based on his research that began with a single note in the Carlos M. Trelles bibliography (Bibliografia Cubana del Siglo XIX). Cornell came into the possession of the manuscript from one of her relatives, Benjamin Freeman Kingsbury (1872-1946). In 1923, a century after the drawings were made, Kingsbury, an alumnus and professor at Cornell, donated the volumes to the Cornell Libraries, which cataloged them in April 1923 as a manuscript. Because the title page attributed the work to A. K. Wollstonecroft, it was cataloged under that incorrect spelling in the library records.

In September 2017, Cornell University librarians took another look at the three volumes of illustrations and decided to switch the classification from manuscript to book and, thus, an entry was posted in WorldCat -- the world's largest network of library content and services. On March 31, 2018, Cueto was searching the internet for information about Cuba, and stumbled across the Cornell entry. He immediately recognized its importance as the long-lost Cuban drawings of Wollstonecraft.

Knowing that Judith Russell, Dean of University Libraries at UF, would share his interest in the find because of the multiple digitization projects the Libraries are engaged in on Cuban history, he notified her and she contacted Gerald Beasley, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell. Cueto and Russell visited Cornell on October 16, 2018, to view the manuscript and were amazed by the beauty of the illustrations.

About the Digital Collections of Cuban Heritage

In 2016, the University of Florida expanded its historical collaboration with Cuban institutions by signing an agreement with the Biblioteca Nacional de Cuba José Martí (BNJM) to create broad and deep open access to digital collections of Cuban Heritage materials.

Materials from the Cuban Heritage initiatives are available at BNJM and through the Digital Collections of Cuban Heritage (www.ufdc.ufl.edu/CUBA) which is part of the Digital Library of the Caribbean (www.dLOC.com). Digital files are also available to partner institutions who wish to locally host materials. Areas included are Cuban Newspapers and Periodicals, Cuban Monographs, Cuban Judaica Materials, Cuban Legal Materials, Maps of Cuba and US Government Documents Relating to Cuba.

For more information, please see http://cms.uflib.ufl.edu/news/index.aspx#20181026

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