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Graceanna Lewis (Notable Americans)

Reference

Rossiter Johnson, ed., “Lewis, Graceanna,” The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, vol. 6 (Boston: The Biographical Society, 1904).

LEWIS, Graceanna, naturalist, was born in West Vincent, Pa., Aug. 3, 1821; daughter of John and Esther (Fussell) Lewis; granddaughter of John and Grace (Meredith) Lewis, and of Bartholomew and Rebecca (Bond) Fussell; and a descendant of Henry Lewis, a native of Narbeth in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, who came with William Penn to Pennsylvania, in 1682, with his family which included his father, Evan Lewis. Graceanna attended the girls' boarding school at Kimberton, Pa., and later devoted herself to the study of natural history and to painting. She inherited anti-slavery views, her father's house being a station for fugitive slaves en route north by the "underground railroad." She was also an advocate of woman suffrage, and an opponent of war, in accordance with the principles of the Society of Friends of which her family on both sides had long been members. She was made a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia; the Philosophical society of Westchester, Pa., the New Century club of Philadelphia; the Natural History societies of Lancaster, Pa., and Rochester, N.Y., the Woman's Anthropological society of America; the National Science club for women; an honorary member of the Woman's club of Philadelphia, and of the Woman's club of Media, Pa., and a life member of the Delaware County Institute of Science. She was also elected secretary of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union of Media, the Media Woman Suffrage association, and the Delaware County Forestry association; chief of the cultural department of the Media Flower mission, and superintendent of scientific temperance instruction for the Delaware County W.C.T.U. She exhibited a model in wax to accompany her "Chart of the Animal Kingdom" at the Centennial Exposition in 1876 and was commissioned to paint fifty representations of the leaves of forest trees for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. She published in 1869 a pamphlet intended to show The Position of Birds in the Animal Kingdom, and in 1877 Maria Mitchell, then of Vassar college, published, as president of the fourth Congress of Women held in Philadelphia, a second pamphlet on The Development of the Animal Kingdom, being a paper prepared by Miss Lewis for the congress. Her Chart of the Animal Kingdom was prepared previous to 1876, that of the Vegetable Kingdom was completed in 1855, and both were soon supplemented by a Chart of Geology with Special Reference to Paleontology. In addition Miss Lewis devoted many years in part to Microscopic Studies, including Front Crystals, Symmetric Forms, Lower Life Forms, and the Plumage of Birds; and in the preparation of a large number of illustrations for lectures on natural history in its varied departments. She also added to her other charts one On the Class of Birds, and another On the Race of Mankind. She illustrated her botanical studies by numerous water-color paintings of wild- flowers and branchlets of different species of trees, and in 1901 was publishing a series of fifteen Leaf Charts of the most important nut, timber and shade trees, whether native or foreign. Her charts were all improved from time to time with the progress of knowledge.
How to Cite This Page: "Graceanna Lewis (Notable Americans)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/18190.