Discovering Margery Milne
By JChandler on August 27, 2012
In yet another attempt to rid myself of magazines and items that sit on a shelf too long I happened upon a book entitled The Nature of Life. It has sat on my bookshelf for many years and has followed me everywhere but is yet to be read. I think it came from my parents book collection and I adopted it. The dust jacket was ripped and discarded some time back and there is little chew marks on the binding from when my dog decided to taste it. I can’t speak to its flavour but I can say it is a solid book with a lot of text and beautiful pictures within its pages. It was written by Lorus and Margery Milne who up to this point had never been on my radar.
My curiosity peaked and so I began to search the Internet for its origins and learn more about the writers. I never did find the exact date of publishing but I can guess circa 1960′s or 70′s? What I did discover is a wonderful history about a couple who met while studying at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the mid 1930′s. Lorus Milne (a Canadian) and Margery Greene (Milne) would eventually marry and begin a journey that would see them traveling the globe, writing books and teaching at various colleges and universities across America.
Given my passion for the lives of women I focused immediately on Dr. Margery Milne’s accomplishments. I was reminded that women scientists were few and far between in the time in which she was a young woman. As Dr. Milne progressed further up the educational and professional ladder that rarity would be noticed among male counterparts and ingrained institutions. When I came across her obituary I became privy to more. She obtained her undergraduate degree, went on to a master’s degree and further still to complete a ‘Doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1939.’
From all indications she led a life that was interspersed with the initial challenges of being a woman of science but mostly was made up of incredible adventures, learning and teaching. She and her husband passed on their knowledge to many students which in turn keeps their legacy alive. Their love of nature gave way to countless seminars, papers and workshops that inspired generations to know the world and its infinite beauty. Dr. Lorus Milne died in 1987 at the age of 77. Dr. Margery Milne lived a long and purposed filled life, passing away at the age of 94 in 2006. It is clear that this woman of influence knew what she wanted to accomplish and did so without hesitation!
I now have a greater appreciation for this book and so it will reside more proudly on my shelf, ready for the fingers to turn the pages and the eyes to see nature as it was intended through Drs. Lorus and Margery Milne.