Monday, April 4, 2016

Pressed Flowers from the Holy Land

Working as a cataloger at the State Library of Massachusetts, I have become accustomed to handling rare materials of all kinds, but a book that recently came to me in need of recataloging caught my eye as something truly special. It is a small book, only six inches tall and 27 pages long, but contained within this slim volume are twelve nicely preserved pressed flowers from the late 19th century.

Published ca. 1898 in Lowell, Massachusetts, Pressed Flowers from the Holy Land contains flowers that were gathered and pressed in Palestine by Harvey B. Greene. Included in the book is a certificate from the U.S. Consul at Jerusalem, who attests that the author “spent three springs, in gathering and pressing the flowers of Palestine, during which time he made with the assistance of native helpers, large collections of the wildflowers,” which the Consul “feel[s] sure … really grew in the Christ Land.”

Delicately secured to the pages of the book are sprigs of Lily of the Field, Papyrus, Mignonette, Puff Ball, Madonna Flower, Judean Clover, Passion Everlasting, Flax, Lentil, Bean, Pheasant's Eye, and Carmel Daisy. Pressed Flowers from the Holy Land may be viewed in its entirety online in the State Library’s electronic repository.

Laura Schaub
Cataloging Librarian