Audubon: Early Drawings - John James Audubon

John James Audubon, citizen and family man, was also an entrepreneur and naturalist; his masterwork was Birds of America. Audubon had long been interested in nature, and he had made drawings of birds and mammals in Europe and in America. He destroyed many of these first pictures, so this collection of 116 pieces, Audubon Early Drawings (Harvard Univ., $125) is important. The drawings, purchased for $100 by a Pennsylvania farmer, fellow naturalist and friend, Edward Harris, Jr., are now part of the collection of the Houghton Library at Harvard University. The essays by Richard Rhodes and Scott V. Edwards provide insight into Audubon’s life and his role as a scientist. Leslie A. Morris’s Foreward looks at the Harris collection and how it came to be. The plates show the care that Audubon gave to depicting each species, and captions reproduce his notes on the flora and fauna and where they were found. This is a wonderful companion to Birds of America.