The Wonders of the Vegetable Kingdom Displayed.
London: G. & W.B. Whittaker, 1824. Second edition of a work on botany for young readers. With chapters on the structure of a tree, sap vessels, the formation and function of leaves, names and functions of roots, descriptions of different kinds of flowers, and the dissemination of seeds. Mary Roberts (1788 – 1864), who also wrote works of history and theology, takes a broad approach to her discussion of botany: the present work covers the political and economic history of farming; details the use of plants in medicine, spirituality, dyeing and tanning, and trade; and ties in other scientific fields including astronomy and geography. Though this work was intended for youth, the complexity of the scientific principles indicates an audience of older teens rather than children. Frontispiece. Spine toned, and some spotting to cloth. Prize bookplate (Ursuline Convent, St. Mary’s near Waterford, dated 1833) to front pastedown, awarding the book to a Miss Phelan. Early ink stamp (St. John’s College Library, Waterford) to first leaf of ads. Clean throughout aside from some dampstaining to a few leaves. A very good, fresh copy. Contemporary blue cloth with printed paper spine label. Twelvemo. 4 [publisher’s ads], viii, 242,  pp. Item #17441
Roberts was a Quaker author whose ancestors included the botanist Thomas Lawson (1630 – 1691) and the humorist John Roberts (1623 – 1684). Growing up in the countryside, Roberts developed an interest in natural history, which served as the basis for her best-known work, Annals of My Village (1831), which described daily rural life in the village of Sheepscombe and provided valuable insights into natural history. She also wrote The Conchologist’s Companion (1824), Ruins and Old Trees Associated with Remarkable Events in English History (1843), and Select Female Biography (1821), the latter of which surveys historical women who were “some of the brightest rays of moral and intellectual excellence.” Her final work, Popular History of the Mollusca, was published in 1851.
The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, p. 910. Oxford DNB.