THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


69 John James Audubon 1785-1851
The Birds of America
London, Published by the author, 1827-1838
America's premier artist-naturalist, Audubon was born in Les Cayes, Santo Domingo, and spent his boyhood in France. At the age of eighteen he came to the United States to enter business but spent an increasing amount of time pursuing his childhood interest in drawing birds. By 1820 he was already devoting his efforts to what would eventually become The Birds of America, which would illustrate all the then known birds of North America. In 1826 he left America in search of a publisher for the material he had already produced; his genius was immediately recognized in Great Britain, both by artists and scientists, and publication began. Over the next decade work continued, Audubon receiving assistance from his sons Victor and John and from William MacGillivray who collaborated with Audubon on the text which appeared in a five volume work, Ornithological Biography (1832-1839), published in Philadelphia. Columbia was one of the original subscribers to the "elephant" folio which was published in less than two hundred sets with 435 hand-colored aquatints, principally the work of Robert Havell, Jr.
Various funds

Collections and Treasures