Anna Atkins, the Google doodle and what she taught me

Today’s Google doodle is in remembrance to Anna Atkins. A lady who received unusual scientific education for her gender at the her time, from… no, not a school, but her father. Yay! For dads and grandfathers who believe in the abilities of their kids, and who do not allow things like gender to get in the way of education.

Anna’s mum passed away shortly after giving birth and she was her father’s only child. He was a scientist and he introduced her not only to science, but through his association with Royal Society members William Henry Fox Talbot and the astronomer and chemist Sir John Herschel, she learned of the photographic process then being invented.

Combining her love for botany with her love for photography she demonstrated that the medium of photography could be both scientifically useful and aesthetically pleasing. (

She married John Pelly Atkins in 1825 and she continued her development as botanist and photographer. (

I am not much of a historian, and neither am I a “burn your bra – er” but this lady seems as if she did not ascribe to the ‘typical’ way of doing things, as it was done in her time. Was it because her father and grandfather doted on her and allowed her education in things girls were not “typically interested in”? Could it be because she married a man who allowed/supported/encouraged her to follow her passions? Could it have been because she believed that she could be anything if she chose to?

Yes, yes, yes.

I wrote in my letter to my future daughter(s) in law, that I hope she has a father like I had, and that my boys treat them as their father treats me, because I believe that when you have another person in your life who cares and knows that you are capable of greatness, you can move the boundaries of what is expected. They will allow you to be ‘socially awkward’ (as so many home schooled children are described – hmmm a topic for another day, I promise) and they will know that it is your uniqueness that makes you one of a kind.

Who knows, maybe in the near future there will be a Google doodle in your honour. But for now, you can make your own doodles, play your own games, allow yourself to be stretched beyond the borders of what is expected.

Dream! Breathe! Live!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s