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Many women who worked in science were actually hired as secretaries or scientific assistants for well-known male scientists.  One such was Arabella Buckley, who became a science educator and also retained her maiden name when she married at age 40.  She was born in Brighton, England, and at the age of 24 she was hired as a secretary to the famous geologist Charles Lyell, remaining in that post until Lyell's death  in 1875.  She was thus well-versed in the Darwinian revolution and from 1879 to 1910 she published ten young people's books, most on science explaining the natural world as it was understood in the late Nineteenth Century.  I happen to own one of these, the American version of "Life and Her Children", published by D. Appleton in 1881 (this same company published the works of Charles Darwin in the United States as well).  Certainly Arabella Buckley was close friends with Darwin, as well as Lyell and Alfred Russel Wallace, and helped draft a letter signed by Darwin and sent to Prime Minister Gladstone in January of 1881 supporting a pension for the impoverished Wallace, the co-discoverer of the  Theory of Natural Selection.

Unfortunately Buckley fell in with Wallace in the popular craze for spiritualism - a craze disliked intensely by both Darwin and Thomas Henry Huxley (Darwin's "Bulldog") - and also taken up by a number of other Victorians, including Sir Arthur Canon Doyle, into the Twentieth Century. Buckley actually acted as a medium on occasion.

However, despite this association with the spirit world, Arabella Buckley was an excellent interpreter of the then modern science for young people.  While she did not contribute new ideas in evolutionary biology, she certainly popularized those that were prevalent during her lifetime.  She was thus in the best sense a true science educator.  

Book: Browne, Janet. 2003. The Power of Place Charles Darwin: The Origin and After- The Years of Fame.  Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

Arabella Buckley.

Originally posted to Desert Scientist on Thu Jun 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

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