Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas

16 volumes (from 2007 to 2014) of the Journal of Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) are available from Internet Archive here. I browsed through all of them in late May and early June. It’s interesting to compare the botanical illustrations used for research papers today with those from the 1800s. There are still drawings that look very similar to botanical prints…but there are photographs too. The photographs have replaced the colored prints that were a cornerstone of the 1800s books (and made them collectable). I appreciated the drawings as I browsed these BRIT volumes. It is easier to see structures in the drawings than in the photographs (and it is easier to deconstruct drawings into Zentangle patterns)! The sample images from the volumes below show the wide range of illustration types. Click on an image to see an enlarged version.

I found this journal after I discovered Eula Whitehouse’s work back in March (see the blog post about her here). The organization she worked for eventually became BRIT.

Texas Wildflowers in Natural Colors

Whitehouse, Eula. Texas Wildflowers in Natural Colors. 1936. Available from Project Gutenberg here.

This was my favorite botanical book for March….and maybe beyond that too. Eula Whitehouse lived from 1892-1974 and spent the latter part of her career in Dallas – working at Southern Methodist University from 1946 until her retirement; her books and collections are the core of what became BRIT (Botanical Research Institute of Texas). She assisted in organizing the Dallas County Audubon Society in 1954.

The book was self-published first in 1936 and remains a favorite among many Texas botanists. It was published privately and distributed through the Texas Book Store in Austin and then, in 1948, through Cokesbury Bookstore in Dallas. The version available online at Project Gutenberg shows both dates. I’ve included a few sample images below.

I grew up in Texas and found myself wondering why the nature day camps I attended during my elementary and middle school summers didn’t use her book as a reference as we tried to learn about the wildflowers we saw around us.

Eula Whitehouse published a study on the evolution, or succession, of plant communities at Enchanted Rock (in Texas) as part of her doctoral research at the University of Texas in the 1930s. In the late 1970s, Lady Bird Johnson urged The Nature Conservancy to purchase Enchanted Rock to be set aside for posterity. I like that there is a linkage via Enchanted Rock between Eula Whitehouse and Lady Bird Johnson – two women that were deeply involved in preserving wildflowers of Texas.

For more information about Eula Whitehouse, see pages at BRIT and Texas State Historical Association.