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M-209: John James Audubon Prints

DATE: 1838

CREATOR: Audubon, John James (1785-1851), Naturalist, artist, and explorer of North America

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.

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

HISTORY & PROVENANCE: 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.

ACCESS: Due to preservation concerns and handling considerations, access to this collection is limited. Please contact the staff in advance of your visit to coordinate access to these materials for research purposes.

When available, this collection is available for on-site use only in the Rare Book and Manuscripts Reading Room. Some of the material in Special Collection M-209 may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, subject to condition. For collections marked limited access, researchers are advised to contact the library at least three business days in advance of their visit to submit a request to view the physical material.

Researchers are advised to call ahead concerning changes in hours due to University intersessions and holidays. The St. Louis Mercantile Library is located on levels one and two of the Thomas Jefferson Library building.

In observance of security procedures, certain services may not be available shortly before the daily closing time.

Preferred Citation: When citing the material from this collection, the preferred citation is: From the Special Collections of the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.