Part II includes twenty-two women who published in science before the Civil War with brief life histories, an analysis of their writings and a bibliography of their works
Each person is described in a short biographical sketch which incorporates a critique of all her publications in science which would be found in the standard scientific journals, biographical and bibliographical sources and standard reference works such as Poole's Indices and the National Union Catalogue. Older publications such as Hanaford, Willard and Livermore and even Godey's Lady's Book were helpful. Comments by the writer on the contents of the women's writings are made from the perspective of a scientist and only after the original works have been read. Comments from persons contemporary with these women have been included where appropriate.
The one thing they shared was a common interest in science. Who were these women? Some were obscure, some were better known for their social activism than for their work in science, and others were professionals in the field. Some were writers, some experimenters, some teachers, some were all three. They were married or single, childless or not, well known or not, professional writers or researchers in their own back yards. There is Elizabeth Agassiz who wrote on the radiata of Massachusetts Bay and there is Dorothea Dix who published on insects. There is Almira Lincoln Phelps whose botany books sold a half million copies. Margaretta Morris studied the life cycles of insects in her own back yard and had a paper published in the first volume of the Proceedings of the Philadelphia Academy of Science in 1841. There is Mary Swift whose book on natural philosophy for children was translated into Burmese, and there is Eunice Foote, who investigated the effects of the sun's rays on the temperature of carbon dioxide gas, a concern of ecologists today, more than a hundred years later.
There is no doubt that the writings of these women contributed to Science in many ways. Papers in journals contribute to the body of knowledge in science. Textbooks of any level are essential for the development of a new generation of scientists in addition to their vital role in teaching all students. Popular articles on science educate the non-scientists.
From the viewpoint of a scientist these writings are competent, well done publications given the scientific information available at the time. The papers were published in standard scientific journals and the books were used in school curricula and in homes as well. These women were well versed in their fields. Their writings deserve to be read and recorded in bibliographies. There no doubt is more to be learned about some of these twenty-three women, and there may be more women in this group of Science writers yet to be found. It is hoped that these data will be of use to persons interested in early women in science. It is obvious that women had an interest in scientific pursuits in this early period at a time when educational opportunities were scarce and economic and professional rewards were few.