In the middle of the 19th century, Anna Atkins wondered how she might be able to create accurate impressions of algae specimens. She was an amateur botanist who was primarily interested in the art and science of taxonomy and scientific illustration. After a long period of experimentation, she came up with the idea of using an existing blueprinting process to create the multiple copies that would later back her “Photographs of British Algae”. This was also the first photographic work by a woman, and also the first book produced entirely by photographic means. Thanks to the fine work of the staff at the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery, interested parties can browse through this monumental achievement at their leisure. Visitors can search the entire work, or just browse through the 285 images. As one might imagine, each image is accompanied with a complete bibliographic record.
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