St. Louis Mercantile Library

M-209: John James Audubon Prints

 



HISTORY: Naturalist, artist and explorer, John James Audubon (1785-1851) contributed to American art and science two monumental works: The Birds of America (1837-39) and The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845-48). Both masterpieces are held in the collections of the Mercantile Library. Audubon's The Birds of America double elephant folio was purchased by the Mercantile Library from the descendants of Audubon in 1858 for the original subscription price of $1000. lt was a signed, hand-picked copy preserved by Audubon for presentation to a dear relative and delivered to her volume by volume as issued. James Yeatman, founder of the Mercantile Library and a subscriber to Audubon's The Quadrapeds, donated the work before 1850.

SCOPE: The two collections together provide for study and enjoyment over 400 hand-colored aquatints and 150 hand-colored lithographs of Early American flora and fauna from the 1830s and 1840s.

HOLDINGS: The Birds of America: 4 double elephant folios; The Quadrupeds: 6 "imperial size" folios (3 volumes)

ACCESS: Special Collection M-209 may not be photocopied; portions, however, may be photographed, depending on condition.