The LSU Libraries will host a viewing of the famed double elephant folio edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America (London, 1827-1838) on Saturday, May 18, 2019 from 10:00am - 2:00pm. This annual event will be held in the McIlhenny Room of Hill Memorial Library on the LSU campus.
This year's reservations for the Birds of America viewings are full.
A renowned masterpiece of natural history art, the Birds of America records the rich bird and plant life Audubon saw and drew first-hand when he lived in Louisiana in the 1820s. The edition is known as the “elephant” folio because of its large size, with each of its 435 pages measuring 39 by 27 inches. Publication took eleven years, from 1827 to 1838. LSU's copy of the Birds of America was purchased with a grant from the Crown Zellerbach Foundation in 1964, and it has been shown in various venues over the years. These books are part of the E.A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection at Hill Memorial Library, one of the most prestigious collections of its kind, with particular strengths in New World botanical and ornithological illustration.
The Birds of America double elephant folio was restored in 2008 through a generous donation by the Coypu Foundation to enable conservation of this important work. Over the course of more than a year, the work was painstakingly completed. LSU Libraries’ copy belonged to one of the original subscribers, the Duke of Northumberland (1785-1847).
It is with pleasure that LSU Libraries Special Collections shares these remarkable volumes with the community. Members of the staff turn pages of the books and share anecdotes and information about the books, the collections, and of course, about these wonderful birds. Audubon Day events are free and the public is welcome, but only 40 people will be admitted for each one hour viewing. Parking is readily accessible in the Indian Mounds lot, directly behind Hill Memorial Library and in the Peabody lot adjacent to Hill Memorial Library.
In addition to the viewings, there will be lagniappe, including exhibitions, a kids coloring table, representatives from BREC, and birds from the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital's rehabilitated resident raptors program. LSU Press will also be onsite selling copies of Marybeth Lima's book Adventures of a Louisiana Birder and other titles. This is a unique, fun, and memorable event for all ages.
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Special Collections, LSU Libraries
Louisiana State University