On this day we celebrate John James Audubon and his marvelous achievement, The Birds of America. Of the many treasures that can be found in the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Rare Book Room, John James Audubon’s Birds of America is one which is difficult to overlook. This famous 19th century set of 4 double elephant folio volumes features magnificent hand colored plates of American birds. What makes these volumes such a sight is the fact that each page measures two by three feet – how else could Aububon have drawn all of the birds life-sized?
Although the plates were originally issued in 87 parts, they were collected into 4 volumes, each one weighing approximately 50 pounds. This set is one of about only 150 complete sets in existence. Originally owned by Charles Howard Williams, it was presented to the Grosvenor Library by his daughter, Mrs. Frederick L. Pratt, in 1931.