The Language of Flowers
The Language of Flowers began in the East, where
people exchanged gifts of flowers and objects, each
with a symbolic meaning. In the 1700s, Europeans
discovered this pastime in Turkey, brought it home
and adapted it to their own culture.
By the 1800s, the Language of Flowers was spoken
fluently in Europe and America. People consulted
Language of Flower dictionaries and exchanged
floral gift books, calendars and cards. They sent
messages by way of bouquets which allowed them
to express their affection privately and silently.
This exhibit of rare and beautiful books features
flowers as envoys.
“Then, gather a wreath from the garden bowers,
And tell the wish of thy heart in flowers.”
James Gates Percival
The exhibition is free and open to the public during regular Salem Athenaeum hours. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 1 PM – 5 PM, Thursday: 5 PM – 9 PM and Saturday: 10 AM – 2 PM.