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In her University Lecture on Oct. 11, 2018, Dr. Carol Anelli, an entomologist and science historian, presented a talk about the career of Anna Botsford Comstock. Comstock was a writer, scientific illustrator, and entomologist, and Cornell’s first female professor. Dr. Anelli’s lecture, based almost entirely on archival material housed in the Cornell University Libraries, told the story of the major role that Anna Comstock played in the establishment of Cornell as a center for research and education in the natural sciences.
Dr. Anelli described how Comstock developed and fostered her interests in science and art, beginning as an undergraduate at Cornell, and was a model for breaking gender barriers at a time when very few woman went into higher academia. The lecture also wove in stories of famous Cornellians Liberty Hyde Bailey, Martha van Rensselaer, and Andrew Dickson White as it discussed the large role that Comstock (and Cornell) played in the early history of natural sciences, nature-education and entomology, and the influence of the Comstocks on Cornell.