AUDUBON JOHN JAMES (1785-1851)

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AUDUBON JOHN JAMES (1785-1851)

 American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. Autograph MANUSCRIPT of the episode entitled The Lost Portfolio from his renowned Ornithological Biography with a few autograph revisions, [1830], 2 and a half pages, in English. Dimensions: 416 x 260 mm. cloth articulated box smooth green morocco spine, gilt lettering.
An extraordinary manuscript of a chapter of Audubon’s great work, included in his Ornithological Biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America ; accompanied by descriptions of the objects represented in the work entitled The Birds of America, and interspersed with delineations of American scenery and manners (Edinburgh, Adam & Charles Black, 1835, constituting pages 564-567 of Volume III, with some variants). When Audubon wrote the Ornithological Biography, it underwent intense competition with three other bird books being produced at the same time. The ornithologist expected his “Episodes” would make the diff erence and mark his success. In this “episode”, Audubon recounts the loss of one of his portfolios and its subsequent recovery. « Whilst at the City of Natchez on the 31s Inst[ant] of Dec[embe]r 1820, my kind friend and relative N[icholas] Berthoud Esqr. proposed to me to accompany him in his Keel Boat to New Orleans, and I gladly accepted his off er. At one o’clock the steam boat Columbus hauled off from the Landing and took our bark in tow being secured to her by two ropes attached to our bows. The steamer was soon under full head way and little else than the thought of soon reaching the Mississippi’s Emporium of Commerce fi lled our minds. Toward evening however several enquiries were made respecting particular portions of the Luggage amongst which was to have been, one of my Portfolios, which contained a number of Drawings made whilst gliding down on the Rivers Ohio and Mississippi from Cincinnati, to Natchez, and some of which were very valuable to my collection as being very raw, a
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