Frances Theodora Parsons (Mrs. William Starr Dana, 1861 – 1952) wrote the first field guide to North American wildflowers.
Frances Theodora Parsons was an American botanist and author active in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was an active supporter of the Republican Party as well as the Progressive Party. She was also an advocate of women's suffrage. Frances started taking walks in the countryside after the death of her first husband. These strolls inspired her most important and popular book, How to Know the Wildflowers (1893), the first field guide to North American wildflowers. It was something of a sensation, the first printing selling out in five days. How to Know the Wild Flowers garnered favorable responses from Theodore Roosevelt and Rudyard Kipling, among others. The work went through several editions in Parsons's lifetime and has remained in print into the 21st century.
This special copy [pictured] of the first edition contains nine original watercolor sketches by an unknownartist.
Published works include:
How to Know the Wild Flowers (1893)
Plants and their Children (1896)
How to Know the Ferns (1899)
According To Season (1902)
Perchance Some Day (1951) autobiography, privately printed.