Roberts, Mary. The Annals of My Village, Being a Calendar of Nature, for Every Month in the Year. London, J. Hatchard, 1831

Mary Roberts, 1788-1864, produced a stream of books for young readers that combine nature, science, and religion, in order to support herself and her widowed mother. Her works were part of a new stream of writing, separate from the secular Enlightenment culture; she often uses religious imagery to describe plants, rather than employing a systematic and taxonomic approach. In her writing we see how evangelical Christians of the 19th century participated in botanical culture. Like many other writers, she promoted the study of botany as a form of moral improvement. A Quaker and a native of Gloucestershire, she counted among her ancestors the 17th-century Quaker, herbalist, and botanist Thomas Lawson.

Annals of My Village... has a chapter for each month of the year illuminating for rural dwellers the activities in natural world of birds, insects, animals, plants, and farming during that month from her observations. Her goal with this book was to help people who lived in the midst of natural beauty created by God appreciate what they saw and heard more fully.

Her first book was published in 1821, Select Female Biography, Comprising Memoirs of Eminent British Ladies; it features the piety and religious principles and practices of exemplary women from the 17th century on. Another work, published in 1845, was Flowers of the Matin or Even Song, or Thoughts for Those Who Rise Early; it gives a theme for meditation at times appointed for reading lessons from the Book of Common Prayer. Mary was the author of five other books on conchology (shells), the seaside and marine natural history, animal and vegetable production of America, and trees, mosses, and lichens.

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Title page of The Annals of My Village by Mary Roberts Plate in The Annals of My Village by Mary Roberts Page 150 of The Annals of My Village by Mary Roberts Page 151 of The Annals of My Village by Mary Roberts

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