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Item #33319 American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX. fl., Engraver, Alexander WILSON, George ORD, Alexander LAWSON, John, WARNICKE, Benjamin, TANNER, George., MURRAY, Engraver d.1818.
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX

American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings Taken from Nature. Volumes I-IX

Philadelphia: Vols. I-VI by Bradford and Inskeep, printed by Robert and William Carr; Vols. VII-IX by Samuel F. Bradford, printed by Thomas H. Palmer, 1808-1825 [but 1824-1825]. 9 Volumes. Folio. (13 5/8 x 10 1/2 inches). Vol. I: vi, 157 pp. Vol. II: xii, 167 pp. Vol. III: xvi, 120 pp. Vol. IV: xii, 100 pp. Vol. V: xx, 102 pp. Vol. VI: xii, 122 pp. Vol. VII: xii, 138 pp. Vol. VIII: xi, 162 pp. Vol. IX: ccxxiii, 224-298 pp. 76 hand-colored copper engravings, all after Wilson, heightened with gum arabic, 9 in each of the first eight volumes, 4 in the final volume, accompanied by an expanded version of Ord's "Life of Wilson" biography.

Uniform contemporary red half morocco with jade marbled boards, five raised bands ruled gilt forming six compartments on spine with gilt-lettered titling in second compartment, volume number in fourth, and gilt foliate printer's device in rest, Volume IX expertly rebacked with the original spine laid down

A complete copy of the most important work on American ornithology published before Audubon with 76 beautifully hand-colored plates of over 320 birds. With the extended, superior "Life of Wilson" in volume nine.

Alexander Wilson's American Ornithology was the most comprehensive illustrated work on the subject published to its date. In all, its 76 plates depict 320 birds from 278 different species, of which 56 had never before been illustrated. All of the illustrations are after drawings made by Wilson, who traveled across America in search of specimens, covering some ten thousand miles through rugged terrain over a seven-year period. Wilson hand-colored many of the sets himself. In fact, during the work's long publication period, it was his only source of income: "The correct execution of the plates will be rendered more secure, by the constant superintendence of the Author; and by the whole of the coloring being performed in his own room, under his immediate inspection." [Vol. IV, Preface] American Ornithology is notable for being among the earliest entirely native color-plate books; i.e. authored in America and printed in America on American paper, using type produced in America, illustrated with plates engraved in America, which were then hand-colored in America. In August 1813, during the research for his final volume and before the publication of his penultimate volume, Wilson observed a bird from a distance he believed was a specimen for which he had been searching, and he waded across a river to get a closer look at it. Wilson died ten days later from dysentery. Thus, the final two volumes were edited and seen through the press by his close friend and co-executor of his estate, George Ord, later the President of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. In the preface to the final volume, Ord writes of Wilson: "Upon the future Ornithologist will devolve the pleasing duty of completing the history of the Birds of the United States, so ably commenced and carried on by the indefatigable Wilson, with honor to himself and advantage to science and literature. With respect to our country in particular, how much gratitude do we owe that excellent naturalist, for the treasure which he afford us in his inestimable work! He has unfolded a rich scene to our view; revealed new wonders to our meditation; and taught us that there cannot be a more rational amusement, than that which springs from the study of the birds, that diversified portion of animated nature." Due to the lengthy publication period of the first edition of American Ornithology, which spanned 1808 to 1825, few sets are found complete, and those which are encountered are usually mixed. This complete set, though its volumes carry dates of 1808, 1810, 1811, 1811, 1812, 1812, 1824, 1824, and 1825, was wholly published by Ord in 1824 and 1825 as the so-called "Ord's Reprint": "For reasons best known to the publisher, Volumes I-VI retained the dates of the original edition, 1808-1812, although 1824 appears to have been the actual date of publication. Strictly speaking it is not a reprint, yet Ord made little change beyond incorporating Wilson's index corrections of nomenclature, together with a few of his own, in the body of the text." [Burns] See Burns for a detailed chart on how to determine "Ord's Reprint" from the first editions of Volumes I-VI.

Anker 533. Bennett, p.114. BM (NH), p.2332. Burns, "Alexander Wilson," in The Wilson Bulletin, Vol. XXI, No. 4, December 1909, pp.176-77. Cantwell, Alexander Wilson: Naturalist and Pioneer, passim. Lederer, The Art of the Bird, p.81. Nissen IVB 992. Sabin 104597. Sitwell, Fine Bird Books, p.155. Stone, "Wilsoniana," in Cassina: Proceedings of the Delaware Valley Ornitho-Logical Club, No. XVII (1913), pp.1-5. Wood, p.630. Zimmer, pp.679-80.

Item #33319

Price: $18,000.00