Treat, Mary


Mary (Davis) Treat (1830–1923) was a natural scientist and widely published nature writer. Mary Treat was an expert in both botany (specialising in carnivorous plants) and entomology (specialising in ants and wasps). She is credited with discovering several new species, and Charles Darwin quoted her original observations on insectivorous plants. Treat regularly corresponded with eminent scientists, including botanists and naturalists (Charles Darwin, Asa Gray, Charles Sprague Sargent and George Thurber), as well as entomologists (Auguste Forel and Gustav Mayr). Treat's remarkable career as a popular nature writer spanned over 50 years, from 1866 to 1910.

Keywords: US women naturalists; carnivorous plants; entomology; Darwin; nature study

Further Reading

Bonta MM (1991) Women in the Field: America's Pioneering Women Naturalists. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

Bonta MM (1995) American Women Afield: Writings by Pioneering Women Naturalists. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

Caruso LA and Kohn T (1997) Mary Lua Adelia Davis Treat. In: Burstyn JN (ed) Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Creese M (1998) Ladies in the Laboratory? American and British Women in Science, 1800–1900. Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press.

Gianquitto T (2007a) Mary (Davis) Treat. In: Patterson D (ed) Early American Nature Writers: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Gianquitto T (2007b) “Good Observers of Nature”: American Women and the Scientific Study of the Natural World, 1820–1885. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

Harshberger JW (1899) The Botanists of Philadelphia and Their Work. Philadelphia: T.C. Davis and Sons.

Treat M (1873) Controlling sex in butterflies. American Naturalist 7 (3): 129–132.

Treat M (1879) Two Chapters on Ants. New York: Harpers.

Treat M (1885) Home Studies in Nature. New York: American Book Company.

Treat M, Wells S and Sargent FL (1886) Through a Microscope: Something of the Science Together with Many Curious Observations Indoor and Out and Directions for a Home‐Made Microscope. Chicago, IL: Interstate Publishing.

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Gianquitto, Tina(Nov 2015) Treat, Mary. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0023361]