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Guide to the John James Audubon Print Collection
[1820]-1860, 1985
  PR 162

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on July 20, 2018
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Title: John James Audubon print collection
Dates [inclusive]: [1820]-1860, 1985 (bulk 1832-1845)
Abstract: The Audubon print collection contains hand-colored aquatints, lithographs, chromolithographs, and items of ephemera of or pertaining to the work of John James Audubon, including both original prints from his famous color-plate books of natural history, and later, derivative prints of the same.
Quantity: 1.88 Linear Feet (2 boxes, 1 drawer)
Call Phrase: PR 162

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Biographical Note

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Scope and Content Note

The John James Audubon Print Collection spans the period from ca. 1827-1860, and 1977 to 1986 and contains both original prints from Audubon's famous color-plate books of natural history, and later derivatives. The collection is divided into three series: Birds of America;  Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America ; and Miscellaneous.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into three series.

Missing Title

  1. Series I. Birds of America
  2. Series II. Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
  3. Series III. Miscellaneous

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Audubon, John James, 1785-1851. Birds of America
  • Audubon, John James, 1785-1851. Viviparous quadrupeds of North America
  • Havell, Robert, 1793-1878

Document Type

  • Visiting cards
  • Proofs
  • Lithographs
  • Ephemera
  • Chromolithographs
  • Circulars
  • Aquatints

Subject Organizations

  • Childs & Inman

Subject Topics

  • Prints -- Coloring
  • Natural history -- United States -- Pictorial works
  • Birds -- United States -- Pictorial works

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Administrative Information

Provenance

The collection is mainly comprised of gifts from a variety of donors. The proof prints were purchased in 1947.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to thirty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. See guidelines in Print Room for details.

Use Restrictions

Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings through publication must be obtained from:
Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
Two West 77th Street
New York, NY 10024Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282
Fax: (212) 579-8794

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as John James Audubon Print Collection, PR 162, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at the New-York Historical Society

Portraits of John James Audubon and his family can be found in the Portrait File (PR 052). The Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections also holds a double Elephant folio set of Audubon's Birds of America, and the N-YHS Library has an Octavo set of the same. The Manuscripts Department holds some of Audubon's correspondence. The N-YHS Museum holds Audubon's original watercolors for  Birds of America, as well as other work by Audubon, including an empty marbleized paper and leather portfolio, of double Elephant folio size, with "Birds of America" printed on the cover, which was used by Audubon himself to carry his watercolors or sample prints as samples to show to potential subscribers.

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Container List

Series I: Birds of America

Scope and Contents note

Series I. Birds of America contains material related to the original double Elephant folio publication of  Birds of America, published in numbers from 1827 to 1838. Plates for this edition were aquatinted by Robert Havell, Jr., after drawings by Audubon, and were hand-colored both by Havell's studio staff and Audubon's wife and children. This series is arranged into three subseries: Pattern Proof Prints, Loose Plates, and Facsimiles and Reproductions.

The fifteen color proof prints were used as patterns for the colorists of the aquatints. These sheets give primary and detailed evidence about the coloring process; several have penciled color notations, and one has a notation for textual change. Eleven loose plates from the double Elephant Folio edition, all marked with Havell's name, are also included. One of these, the White-headed Eagle, appears in both uncolored and colored format. Several modern reprints of Audubon's birds can also be found in this series.

Prints are arranged by plate number, where known.

Pattern Proof Prints

Container 1     Title Date
Box: 1 Common Yellow Throat [Plate 24]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Kentucky Warbler [Plate 38]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Chestnut Sided Warbler [Plate 59]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Autumnal Warbler [Plate 88]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Carolina Titmouse [Plate 160]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Orange Crowned Warbler [Plate 178]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Tree Sparrow [Plate 188]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Manx Shearwater [Plate 295]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Yellow Breasted Rail [Plate 329]
1827-1838
Box: 1 American Widgeon [Plate 345]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Rocky Mountain Plover [Plate 350]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Lapland Longspur [Plate 365]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Golden Winged Warbler [Plate 414]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Tawny Thrush/Townsend's Thrush & Canada Jay [Plate 419]
1827-1838
Box: 1 Western Duck [Plate 429]
1827-1838

Loose Plates

Scope and Contents note

These prints are housed flat in a map case.

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: FF 1 White-headed Eagle [Plate 31]
1828
Folder: FF 1 House Wren [Plate 83]
undated
Folder: FF 1 Connecticut Warbler [Plate 138]
1832
Folder: FF 1 Sooty Tern [Plate 235]
1834
Folder: FF 1 Great Marbled Godwit [Plate 238]
1835
Folder: FF 1 Red-necked Grebe [Plate 298]
1836
Folder: FF 1 Tell-tale Godwit or Snipe [Plate 308]
1836
Folder: FF 1 Redheaded Duck [Plate 322]
1836
Folder: FF 1 Trumpeter Swan [Plate 376]
1837

Facsimiles and Reproductions

Scope and Contents note

These prints are housed flat in a map case.

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: FF 2 Great Egret

General note

Printed by the National Audubon Society

1977
Folder: FF 2 Canvas Backed Duck

General note

Printed by R. R. Donnelley & Sons, courtesy of the Field Museum of Natural History

undated
Folder: FF 2 American White Pelican

General note

No. 152 of 500, printed by Princeton Audubon, Ltd

1985
Folder: FF 2 Wild Turkey

General note

No. 135 of 500, printed by Princeton Audubon, Ltd

1985
Folder: FF 2 Purple Heron
1985
Folder: FF 2 Brown Pelican

General note

No. 1136 of 1500, printed by Princeton Audubon, Ltd

1985

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Series II: Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America

Scope and Contents note

Series II. Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America was issued from 1845 to 1848. Six loose plates of small animals from that book are held here. All are hand colored lithographs by J. T. Bowen after drawings by John James Audubon.

These prints are housed flat in a map case.

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: FF 3 Common American Wildcat [Plate 1]
1842
Folder: FF 3 Cat Squirrel [Plate 17]
1843
Folder: FF 3 Red-tailed Squirrel [Plate 55]
1844
Folder: FF 3 Brindled Weasel [Plate 60]
1845
Folder: FF 3 Brewer's Shrew Mole [Plate 74]
1845
Folder: FF 3 Carolina Shrew [Plate 75]
1845

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Series III: Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents note

Series III contains nineteenth century material that does not readily fit into the above two series. A lithograph of a "Marsh Hen," by the firm Childs and Inman of Philadelphia and published in 1832, is one of a very few known copies of this print; the only one of Audubon's birds to be separately printed in this format. Little documentary evidence exists of Audubon's foray into lithography, but the print is thought to have been drawn on stone by Albert Newsam in the summer of 1832.

Included in this series are four of John James Audubon's calling cards; all but one note his distinction as a "Fellow of the Royal Linnean Societies of London." A prospectus dated June 1834 announces the forthcoming publication of the double Elephant folio of Birds of America, and seeks subscribers. The series also includes a title page from and another prospectus for the 1860 double Elephant size reissue of Birds of America, with chromolithography by J. Bien, which was published by Roe, Lockwood, and Son, of New York.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Folder: FF 4 Marsh Hen [no plate marking]

General note

Lithograph, drawn and printed by Childs and Inman, Philadelphia

1832
Folder: FF 5 Title Page from Birds of America, edition of 1860, published in New York by Roe, Lockwood & Son, New York, chromolithography by J. Bien
1860
Box: 2 Folder : 6 John James Audubon, four calling cards, three as "Fellow of the Royal Linnean Societies of London"
[1820-1839]
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Brochure advertising double Elephant Folio edition of Audubon's Birds of America
1834
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Brochure advertising double Elephant Folio and Octavo chromolithography editions of Audubon's Birds of America and  Viviparous Quadrupeds, as well as a stand on which to display the book. Published by George Lockwood, 812 Broadway, New York.
[1860]

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