Maria Martin was born in Charleston in 1796, the daughter of Jacob Martin and Rebecca Solars. She lived with her sister Harriet, and her sister’s husband, John Bachman, helping to run the household and raise their nine children as Harriet was chronically ill. Two years after Harriet died in 1846, John Bachman remarried Maria. In 1831, John Bachman and John James Audubon met and became lifelong friends. Audubon stayed at the Bachman home whenever he was in Charleston - and so he met Maria. Her artistic skill was discovered and nurtured by both Audubon and Bachman, and she painted the backgrounds for many of the plates in Audubon’s Birds of North America.

These examples of her work are a 1918 donation from the family. They appear to be separated from their journal and came to us as loose pages. There is also some fire damage.

Click to view Maria’s painted silk purse recently featured in our Textile Tuesday blog. Also, learn more about Maria Martin Bachman and other women naturalists active in Charleston in this past presentation by our archivist, Jennifer Scheetz.

EPHEMERA FRIDAY: Each Friday we post a selection or small collection from our Archives. Some items may be on exhibit, some may be too fragile to display and some may be too unusual to fit into our typical Lowcountry exhibit themes. We will occasionally ask for help identifying people or places in photographs that have come to us with little or no information. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on EPHEMERA FRIDAY.