Esther O’Connor’s Love of Wildflowers

Plans to transform a grassy field into a prairie planting began in early 1990. The planting would eventually be named in honor of Esther O’Connor.


Esther O’Connor collected a wide variety of natural history books throughout her life. Most still reside at the BAS Library and Nature Center. She had a special love for birds, but also plants and flowers. I wanted to provide an antidote to this week’s endless dreary weather, so please enjoy these photos from a few of her flower books, published between the years 1935 and 1981.


WILD FLOWERS: Homer D. House. Published by Macmillan, New York (1935).


I would never denigrate photography or photographers when that medium produces so many awe-inspiring images of the natural world. And thanks to the development of digital photography, everyone can participate, for citizen science purposes, or just for the joy of creating personal nature memories


WILD FLOWERS OF AMERICA: Illustrations by Mary Vaux Walcott and Dorothy Falcon Platt, edited by H.W. Rickett. Published by Crown Publishers, New York (1953).


But I have a special admiration for those who can bring flora and fauna to life in drawings and paintings like these. When an artist painstakingly reproduces every detail of a bird or a flower, they must know the subject as no one else can! We can see why Esther treasured these books–she appreciated art, as well as science.

-Elizabeth Stoakes, BAS Historian


WILD FLOWERS OF THE WORLD: Brian D. Morley, Barbara Everard (paintings). Published in by Peerage Books, London (1981).