Collecting women in geology: opening the international case of a Scottish 'cabinétière', Eliza Gordon Cumming (c. 1798–1842)

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The double meanings of ‘case’ in the subtitle pinpoint the dual investigations of this chapter. It first puts the case for better understanding of women's contributions to ‘serious’ geology in international, as well as national, contexts by overtly collecting British women collectors in the field who contributed to French geological knowledge. It can then unpack the pivotal importance of women's geology collections and women collectors ‘at home’ in the establishment of new global subfields of geological work in the 1840s, despite more famous names being given national and international recognition for key discoveries. Our examination of the geology case in point – the collection and its expert collector, Lady Eliza Gordon Cumming – discloses her international geological expertise but also longer transnational heritage of women's scientific collecting practice. By proposing the French term ‘cabinétière’ to name its clearer status, this chapter investigates the implications of serious retrospective relabelling for geology when a woman discoverer-collector is restored and reconnected to her world collections.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCelebrating 100 Years of Female Fellowship of the Geological Society
Subtitle of host publicationDiscovering Forgotten Histories
EditorsC.V. Burek, B.M. Higgs
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherGeological Society of London
ISBN (Print)0000000000
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sept 2020

Publication series

NameGeological Society Special Publications
ISSN (Print)0305-8719
ISSN (Electronic)2041-4927


  • Cabinetiere
  • Eliza Gordon Cumming
  • Fossil fish
  • Louis Agassiz


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