Fungi Collected in Shropshire and Other Neighborhoods

Investigator: Deborah Cooper, Mann Library

Preservation Fund, 2020

This is a breathtaking 3-volume inventory of mushrooms identified over a period of forty-two years (1860-1902) in various counties of England’s West Midlands region in the late 19th century. These three albums contain more than 100 sheets of original drawings and watercolors of fungi, representing hundreds of species. The artist, Miss M. F. Lewis of Ludlow, England, was a serious amateur naturalist whose work and collection of rare specimens is referenced in the records of the British Mycological Society among others. Lewis identifies the scientific name, place and date for each species, producing a work of painstaking attention to detail and taxonomy. Relatively little is known of Miss Lewis, but the quality of drawings shows her to have been an extremely skilled artist and mycologist. Her watercolors demonstrate a level of skill and training of a professional. This is the only known copy of this work, hand bound and previously unpublished, with field notes in Miss Lewis’ own hand. By digitizing these volumes we will be able to make this historically significant work accessible to researchers worldwide.