Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Audubon: Birds, and Mammals Too

A color illustration of two flying squirrels on a branch.As today is the 226th birthday of John James Audubon, it seemed fitting to write an entry about him. Since we've posted previously about the double elephant folio edition of Birds of America and why our set has special meaning here at Dartmouth, we turn to a lesser known, but equally impressive work, Quadrupeds of North America.

After the success of Birds of America, Audubon set out to produce a companion book focusing on American mammals. Drawing the mammals from life was more challenging than it had been with the birds, as many of the animals were nocturnal. In addition, Audubon was becoming increasingly frail and was unable to travel to the extent that the work necessitated. His health failing, Audubon could not complete all of the drawings; his son, John Woodhouse Audubon, did many of them. His son Victor Gilford created the backgrounds and most of the text was written by Rev. John Bachman, a naturalist and clergyman. The last of the three volumes appeared in 1848; Audubon died three years later.

A color illustration of a lynx crouched on a log.
Canada Lynx

Ask for Rauner Rare QL715 .A92 (3 vols.) to see our edition of the Quadrupeds.

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