Audubon’s The Birds of America (1971)

Born in 1785, in what is now Haiti, to a French plantation owner and his French mistress, John James Audubon is renowned for his highly detailed and exquisite bird illustrations.  Raised in France by his step-mother, Audubon came to America when he was 18 years old and lived on the family’s estate outside of Philadelphia.  He later married Lucy Bakewell and moved to Henderson, Kentucky.   After a stint in jail for bankruptcy in 1819 when his dry-goods store failed, and with no other business ventures on the horizon, Audubon left his wife and two sons behind and pursued his lifelong interests of drawing, birds, and nature by traveling the Mississippi River capturing the beauty of America’s birds.   Later in life, Audubon moved to New York City, ultimately becoming senile and passing away in 1851 at the age of 65.  

Printed in 1971, The Birds of America is a four volume set replicated from John James Audubon’s original works which were first printed in Edinburgh and in London from 1827 - 1838.  This oversized set (39 1/3 inches by 26 1/3 inches) is number 170 in a limited edition run of 250. 
These volumes are available for use in Special Collections located on the 3rd floor of McCain Library & Archives at the University of Southern Mississippi.  For more information about this item, contact Jennifer Brannock at or 601.266.4347. To see more Items of the Month, click here.


Additional Sources:

Audubon, John James.  The Birds of America.   Volumes 1 – 4.  1971.
McCain Library QL674 .A9

John James Audubon. (2014). Retrieved from

Text by Maria Schroeter, Graduate Student, School of Library & Information Science