Behind the Exhibit

The Iowa State University Special Collections Department has many wonderful herbals in its rare book collection. The department owned herbals from two of the three founders until 2012, when Bock’s New Kreuter Buch came and completed the collection. These three herbals by Otto Brunfels, Leonhart Fuchs, and Hieronymus Bock were chosen to be highlighted in an exhibit titled "The Three Founders of Botany: Images of Rare Works from Special Collections." The exhibit was on display in the Reading Room of the Special Collections Department from May 3 through October 15, 2013.

My name is Rebecca Dickman and I created the exhibit as part of my Honors Project. I am an Iowa State student studying history and a student assistant in the Special Collections Department. For my project I also wrote an exhibit catalog, which you can read at This website was the final component of my project. While working on the project, I learned how to make Plexiglas book cradles, write an exhibit catalog, and make a website!

Image of the exhibit

Exhibit in the Reading Room of the Special Collections Department


Another image of exhibit

Close-up of the exhibit



Arber, Agnes Robertson. Herbals, Their Origin and Evolution: A Chapter in the History of
Botany, 1470-1670. Cambridge: University Press, 1912.

Blunt, Wilfrid and Sandra Raphael. The Illustrated Herbal. New York: Thames and
Hudson, 1979.

Blunt, Wilfrid and William T. Stearn. The Art of Botanical Illustration. Rev. ed. 1994.
Reprint, Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Antique Collector’s Club, 2000.

Greene, Edward Lee. Landmarks of Botanical History: A Study of Certain Epochs in the
Development of the Science of Botany: Part I-Prior to 1562 A.D. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1909.

King, Ronald. Botanical Illustration. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1978.

Rix, Martyn. The Art of the Plant World: The Great Botanical Illustrators and Their
Work. Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1980.

Saunders, Gill. Picturing Plants: An Analytical History of Botanical Illustration.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.


Botany Department in Trinity College Dublin. “1711-2011 Botany: 300 Years of Growth.”
Trinity College Dublin. (accessed June 25, 2013).

Cincinnati History Library and Archives. "From Seed to Flower: Selected Books from the
Cornelius J. Hauck Botanical Collection Hieronymus Bock, 1498-1554." Cincinnati Museum Center. (accessed February 6, 2013).

Curators of the University of Missouri. "De Historia Stirpium by Leonhart Fuchs." Special
Collections and Rare Books, MU Libraries, University of Missouri. (accessed February 6, 2013).

Gardham, Julie. "Book of the Month October 2002: Leonhart Fuchs De Historia
Stirpium." Glasgow University Library Special Collections Department. (accessed February 6, 2013).

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. "Plant Memory: Images from the Exhibition."
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. exhibitions /crowe/index.php (accessed February 6, 2013).

Special Collections & University Archives. "Otto Brunfels." University of Massachusetts
Amherst. (accessed February 6, 2013).

Yates, Stanley. Illustrated Botanical Books, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth Centuries.
Ames, IA: Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library, 1974. (accessed February 6, 2013).