Elizabeth Blackwell's A Curious Herbal

British Library Curator of Printed Heritage Collections Maddy Smith talks about Elizabeth Blackwell and her wonderful book, A Curious Herbal.

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first British woman to produce a herbal, a book of plants describing their appearance and their culinary and medical uses. These illustrations give an insight into the culture and beliefs of the time and show the value of illustration to our understanding of places over time.

Stella Wisdom and Maddy Smith of the British Library have co-written a blog post about Elizabeth Blackwell on the British Library’s Untold Lives blog and more images from Blackwell’s book, A Curious Herbal can be found on the British Library website.

Maddy Smith is a curator in the British Library’s Printed Heritage Collections department, which is responsible for Western printed books, periodicals, prints and ephemera from the 15th century through to the year 2000. She specialises in 17th and 18th century material. She has worked at the library since 2016.

Stella Wisdom is Digital Curator for Contemporary British Collections at the British Library, with research interests in digital publishing, transmedia storytelling, narrative games, interactive fiction and web comics. Stella promotes creative innovation and has collaborated widely including working with Lancaster University’s Litcraft initiative, which builds literary environments in Minecraft.