Nov 18 2011
I’m very late in posting this but if you have the time today, stop by Hillman Library where they’re celebrating Audubon Day with a one-day exhibit of more than 20 original folio prints from Audubon’s Birds of America.
- What: An Audubon Day display of 20 original Birds of America folio prints
- When: Today only (Nov 18), 9:00 a.m.-4:45 p.m.
- Where: Room 363, the Special Collections Reading Room, Hillman Library, 3960 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh.
- Plus a presentation about Pitt’s efforts to preserve and digitize the book, 1:00-2:00pm in the Amy Knapp Room by:
- • Charles Aston, curator of rare books, prints, and exhibits
• Edward Galloway, head of the Archives Service Center and
• Jeanann Hass, head of special collections and preservation.
Here’s more information, edited from Pitt’s press release:
John James Audubon’s Birds of America revolutionized bird illustration by portraying life-sized birds in their natural habitat. From 1827 to 1838 he painted 1,065 birds of 497 species. Since then, six of those species have gone extinct including the Carolina parrots shown above.
Audubon’s complete book includes 435 prints in four volumes, each print measuring 27 by 40 inches. Approximately 175 sets were printed, but over the years many of the volumes were dismantled so the prints could be sold individually to collectors. Only 120 complete sets exist.
Pitt’s University Library System acquired the complete Birds of America as part of the William McCullough Darlington Library, given to Pitt by Darlington’s two daughters. Because the rare prints are too fragile to share with the public as bound volumes, Pitt followed the Library of Congress model and unbound the volumes, conserved each print and now stores each in an archival folder.
In 2006 and 2007, Pitt digitized all 435 Birds of America plates and now displays the complete collection online at http://digital.library.pitt.edu/a/audubon.
p.s. Sorry for the late notice!
(photo of John James Audubon’s folio print of Carolina Parrots, courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh’s Library System)