Beatrix Potter: 145 Years Later

Most of remember her for the sweet stories and charming pastel illustrations, but how many of us know that Helen B. Potter was a budding naturalist? In 1897, she had a friend submit her paper entitled  “On the Germination of the Spores of the Agaricineae” to the Linnea Society simply because women were not allowed to attend the meetings of the society.

She also had difficulty getting her little books published. Most houses wanted larger books they could sell for more money.  Potter would not give in to their demands, insisting the books remain small and affordable. “Little books for little hands.” was her motto.  Just as she was about to self publish these books, she came to the attention of Fredrick Warne & Company.

Personal heartbreak was no stranger to Potter. She corresponded with her editor Norman Warne frequently, until, in 1905 Warne asked her to marry him. One month after their engagement, Warne died. Because Norman Warne was considered beneath Potter in social standing, she had never been allowed to publicly announce the engagement..

Potter took the royalties from her little books and bought farm lands that would allow her to distance her parents and live the rural life she loved. These lands now comprise most of the Lake District National Park.  In 1913, Potter married William Heelis, a local solicitor,  They would remain together for the rest of her life.

Beatrix Potter was born on this day in 1866

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