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[Nature prints of leaves]
Albums of predominantly nature prints of leaves produced by inking both sides of the specimen, placing it between a folded sheet of paper, and pulling the sheet through a printing press. Sheets contain one to several specimens (a few numbered) and several are annotated with the date of printing, inscriptions, and identifications of specimens. Some sheets contain manuscript notes about the provenance of and how the specimens were dried or inked, the condition of the leaves, their medicinal uses, and descriptions of the plants from which they came. Inscriptions of note include "Engraven by the Greatest and Best engraver in the Universe"(v. 1, p. 2); "... leaves dried and press'd in my Heap of News-Papers for 7 or 8 years" (v. 1, p. 43); "Done July 18th 1742, when I impress'd 6 or 8 sheets more for my Frd's Kent, Bard, Pratt, Browne, Shoemaker, &" (v. 1, p. 74); "These were done in my new Press which Joseph Watkins made & now brought Home 2nd of May 1734" (v. 1, p. 94); "Done July 1st 1744 with L' & Vel't B'll"(v. 1, p. 95) and "From Jno. Bartram 18th Augst. 1734. The most excellent remedy for the bite of a Rattlesnake - Sysimachia Quadrafolia - 1st 7br 1734 - "An Indian specific for fevers and aguas [sic] and a substitute for tea [I think Green]" - "From Peter Sonmans (who brought it from Albany). Done 31st Augst. 1734. A famous Snake weed" - "Mem the other Side I sent to Peter Collinson, June 1735" (v.2, p. 58)., Botanical specimens represented in album include wormwood, hollyhock, althea, marsh mallow, lavender, moss, creeper, quince, plantain, service, sage, tansey, mulberry, a sarabacca, rattlesnake weed, gooseberries, hemp, laurel, pawpaw, mustard, bind weed, wild grape, water plantain, wild betony, teasel, pineapple, Indian Fluxwort, "parsimon," arrowhead, oak of Cappadocia, squash, cattail grass, Goat's-Rue, sanicle, yam, maidenhair, tobacco, cat mint, saffron, caterpillar, marygold, horse radish, sun flower, gelder rose, may heart, St. John's-Wort, wild Angelica, marjoram, silk cotton, buck wheat, potato, burdock, rattle snake golden rod, mulleins, and Carolina Bean. Album also contains printed images of feathers, pieces of fabric, and a twenty-four line poem written in pencil and signed by "A Botanist" and dated 1855 (v. 1, p. 106). Provenances of the specimens include John Bartam, Stephen Benezet, "Spring Garden," John Holland, E. Woolley, G. Gray, "R.R.'s Ginseng Hill," Peter Sonmans, and Esther Banks., Title supplied by cataloger., Some sheets contain watermark: Pro Patria., Gift of Mrs. Joseph Breintnall in 1746., Cataloging funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (PW-506-19-10), 2010-2012., Volume 1 (P.2011.7.1) reformatted and arranged in two cases of folders numbered (1-10) and (21-34)., Index to inscriptions held at repository., Described in Edwin Wolf and Marie Elena Korey, eds., Quarter of a Millennium (Philadelphia: The Library Company of Philadelphia, 1981), entry 11., Described in Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976) #29., Joseph Breintnall (d. 1746), scrivener, public servant, author, poet, and colleague of Benjamin Franklin, was also an amateur scientist who experimented with solar heat and botany. A founder and secretary of the Library Company of Philadelphia, he engaged in the study of botany through Peter Collinson, the library's London book agent. Between circa 1731 and circa 1744, he created hundreds of leaf prints as records of botanical specimens he gathered himself and from networks. Breintnall also most likely used his experience with leaf printing to assist Franklin in the creation of a metal cast of a leaf impression used to print currency incapable to be counterfeited.