Jane Colden (1724 - 1760)

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Nicknames: "Jenny"
Birthplace: New York, NY, USA
Death: Died
Occupation: botanist
Managed by: Douglas Kellner
Last Updated:

About Jane Colden

Jane Colden (March 27, 1724 – March 10, 1766) was an American botanist described as the "first botanist of her sex in her country" by Asa Gray in 1843. Contemporary scholarship maintains that she was the first female botanist working in America. Colden was born in New York City, her father Cadwallader Colden was a physician who trained at the University of Edinburgh and became involved in the politics and management of New York after arriving in the city. She was educated at home and her father provided her with botanical training following the new system of classification developed by Carolus Linnaeus. Between 1753 and 1758 Jane Colden catalogued New York's flora, compiling specimens and information on more than 300 species of plants from the lower Hudson River Valley, and classifying then according to the system developed by Linnaeus. She developed a technique for making ink impressions of leaves, and was also a skilled illustrator. She went on to study the gardenia. Through her father she met and corresponded with many leading naturalists of the time. Colden's original manuscript describing the flora of New York is held in the British Museum. A plant sanctuary in her honor was established in the late 1990s at Knox's Headquarters State Historic Site in New Windsor, near where she lived and worked.


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Jane Colden's Timeline

March 27, 1724
New York, NY, USA
March 10, 1760
Age 35