BONAPARTE, Charles Lucien (1803-1857).
American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of Birds Inhabiting the United States not Given by Wilson.
Philadelphia: William Brown for [vols.I-III] Carey, Lea & Carey, or [vol.IV] Carey & Lea, and [vols.I-IV] John Miller of London, 1825-1833. 4 volumes, folio. (15 5/8 x 12 inches). 27 hand-colored engraved plates by Alexander Lawson (11 after Titian R. Peale, 15 after A. Rider, and 1 after J.J. Audubon and A. Rider), uncut.
Contemporary red half morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, the flat spines divided into five compartments by pairs of double gilt fillets, lettered in gilt in the second and fourth compartments, the others with repeat tooling in gilt, small expert repairs to extremities
A very fine set of the first edition of this important American ornithological work, with a fascinating provenance: this set was originally in the library of Jared Kirtland, one of the founders of what became the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
First edition of Bonaparte's continuation of Wilson's work, treating 60 birds supposedly not in the original work. This set has the second issue of vol. 1, with the Carey, Lea & Carey imprint, and the second issue of plate 6 (see Ellis/Mengel). It is in excellent condition overall: the binding is a fine example of a superior trade binding of the period probably carried out in Philadelphia. But it is the interior that is in truly exceptional condition: this set is completely uncut with none of the browning and spotting that so disfigures normal copies. This is the finest example of this work that we have handled. The Whiting/Kirtland provenance is particularly interesting. The books were sold to Dr. Kirtland by Isaac N. Whiting, a pioneer bookseller & publisher in Ohio, was in business in Columbus by 1830. Jared Kirtland was born in Connecticut, but lived in Ohio for much of the second half of his life, firstly in Poland , Ohio, then Cincinnati, and from 1840 onwards in Lakewood. It was on his farm in 1851 that Kirtland's son-in-law shot a small bird that Kirtland could not identify. It was subsequently recorded as a new species and named Kirtland's warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii) by Spencer Fullerton Baird (of the Smithsonian). Kirtland was an active and well-respected naturalist and was the first president of the Cleveland Academy of Natural Sciences. This was renamed the Kirtland Society of Natural Sciences in 1869 and eventually merged with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in 1927. He also served on the Ohio state legislature for three terms, between 1828 and 1834. His duties as a state senator would have meant periodic visits to Columbus, it was possibly during one of these visits that he bought the present set.
Anker 47; Bennett 16; Coues 1:609; Ellis/Mengel 312b; Fine Bird Books 60; Nissen IVB 116; Sabin 6264; Wood 247; Zimmer p.64.