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The name Quebec (originally Kébec) comes from “the Algonquin word for “narrow passage” and was first used to describe the narrowing of the St. Lawrence River near what is now the City of Québec. Before the arrival of Europeans in 1534, the lands of Canada were inhabited by bands of Algonquin, Abenaki, Miq’maks, Wendat, and Iroquois nations. The summer after Samuel de Champlain (1567-1635) fortified Quebec in 1608, he made alliances with the Wendat, the Algonquin, the Montagnais and the Etchemin who sought help to win their war against the Iroquois. Eventually, however, the objective was not to join as military allies, but instead to convert the ‘savage’ natives into god-fearing Christians through missionary towns, such as Sillery, Québec. Sillery, would later become home to the Woodfield estate owned by the botanising Sheppard family in the nineteenth-century. But why was this family estate so important to colonial botany and what can it tell us about the imbricating histories of Britain and Québec?
The Woodfield estate would prove to be essential for Kew Gardens’  first Director, WilliamJackson Hooker’s publication, Flora Boreali-Americana (1829-1841). While female contributions to the first volume of Hooker’s Flora make up only 6%, women from the small town of Sillery were responsible for 81% of the specimens submitted from the Québec region. Their estates, especially Woodfield, were paramount to their contributions. In this Seminar, we will travel through time glimpsing through the window of the estate in the lead up to the British occupation and links with Kew Gardens (1763-1867), through to its remaining legacy today.

Kimberly Glassman
is a PhD student at Queen Mary University of London, scholar in the RBG, Kew PhD Humanities Cohort, Postgraduate member of the Royal Historical Society, and PGR rep for the Centre for the Study of the Nineteenth Century and its Legacies She obtained an MSt in History of Art & Visual Culture from the University of Oxford and a BFA in History of Art &; Psychology from Concordia University. Her research interests include the history of art, science, and botany considered through the lens of postcolonial and feminist studies. Kim is also the Curator of Botanical Art and Manuscripts for the private collection of Sowvital in London. She has presented at international conferences in the UK, Canada, Austria, and Russia, and has published in SciArt Magazine (2019), Litinfinite Journal (2021), The Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies Journal (2022), and has two upcoming publications in the European Cultural Studies Journal (Jan.2023) and Holotipus (Jun. 2023)

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend but booking in advance is required.