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Audubon, John James (1785-1851)

  • About 166 volumes catalogued and are found for the most part in the General Rare Books Collection. Library has many books and manuscripts relating to Audubon. For particulars refer to: Howard C. Rice, "The World of John James Audubon; Catalogue of an Exhibition at the Princeton University Library. 15 May-30 September 1959" published in thePrinceton University Library Chronicle XXI, 1&2 (Autumn, 1959 & Winter, 1959) pp. 9-88. [full text] There is also an earlier version of this text available as a typescript exhibition catalogue. See "An Audubon Anthology" [(ExB) 0639.739 no. 6] [full text].

    Library has also a copy of the double elephant folio Birds of America [(Ex) Oversize 8880.134.1860e]. It was received as a gift from Alexander van Rensselaer, Class of 1871, during the academic year 1928-29. The Library also has a group of books from the library of Audubon or his family. See 1954 Princeton University Library Chronicle index for several entries for Audubon. [ full text] See also: Henry Lyttleton Savage, "John James Audubon: A Backwoodsman in the Salon" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle V, 4 (June, 1944) pp. 129-136. [full text]

  • The Manuscripts Division holds the John James Audubon Collection, 1788-1969 (C006). The collection consists of original manuscripts, photostats and transcripts of additional manuscripts, and printed material relating to Audubon, his life and work. In addition, there are original letters by Mrs. Lucy Audubon, his sons, John and Julia Bachman, members of the Bakewell family, and Francis Herrick.

  • Original plates and several artworks.

    Thanks to the generous donation of John S. Williams, the Princeton University Library holds a rifle once owned by John James Audubon (1785-1851). A recent inquiry about the marking on the gun led Gabriel Swift to photograph and document various elements of the rifle, which stands at 157 x 13.5 x 5.5 cm. Images can be found on the Graphic Arts Blog: Audubon's Rifle.  In addition, there is an entry on the rifle in the 1959 Howard Rice exhibition catalogue, found full-text here.  

    Item no. 146 “This is presumably the gun shown in the portrait by John Woodhouse Audubon (previous item). It is a muzzle-loading percussion-cap shotgun, made by Conway, of Manchester, England. An engraved inscription on the barrel reads: John James Audubon, Citizen of the United States. F.L.S.L. [Fellow of the Linnean Society of London].

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