Friday, August 22, 2014

birds in print ---bruce bradley

American Flamingo, John James Audubon

 The program at Linda Hall Library was spectacular. Bruce Bradley provided historical perspective into the printing processes used in the books we viewed. For me, as an avid bird watcher and naturalist, seeing the works was a dream come true. I had read about Mark Catesby's "The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands" (published in 1754) my entire life - not only did I get to SEE this book, I got to TURN the pages!! Works by Alexander Wilson and John Gould were also highlights. I think the big "take away" from the event is not how wonderful the works were, but the fact that they are ACCESSIBLE. It is possible for me to go back to the Library and see them again - I can go back as many times as I want to study them. To have such historically significant works accessible in Kansas City is PHENOMENAL. There were many on the tour (myself included) - who walked around the Library saying, "I had no idea such a gem could be found right here in Kansas City." John Mallery

See John and Elizabeth Gould bird images, click HERE 
Birds of America, click HERE
More on Prideaux John Selby, click HERE
Bird Prints, click HERE and HERE
More on Edward Lear birds, click HERE
More on Mark Catesby birds, click HERE
Collections at Linda Hall Library, click HERE
Bewick woodcut 
Karl, I had Bruce send me some info since I did not take notes this time. I have changed his wording a bit and added a touch more. The entire book list is attached and I took a cell phone photo of one of the Bewick woodcuts. Paula Winchester

 For John James Audubon birds, click 

   Ornithology, as much as any other scientific discipline, depends on illustrations to convey information about its subject. John James Audubon knew that, and his 19th-century studies for his Birds of America were 
attempts to break from traditional methods of bird illustration to show as much information as possible in a new and lifelike manner. The Birds in Print program examined the art of ornithological prints, as found in the 
Linda Hall Library’s collection of rare books. Print Society members and visitors looked at the work of Audubon and some of his contemporaries, such as John and Elisabeth Gould, Alexander Wilson, Edward Lear, 
and Prideaux Selby. Earlier work by Thomas Bewick and Mark Catesby were discussed and available to view, along with examples of several 16th and 17th century books with printed illustrations of birds.

    Bruce Bradley, Librarian for History of Science at Linda Hall Library talked for approximately an hour. Afterwards, members and guests went to the rare book area where Mr. Bradley had 25 books out for viewing and 
touching. The oldest was the Pierre Belon's L'Histoire de la Nature des Oyseaux, 1555, and the most recent being Axel Amuchastegui's Some Birds and Mammals of North 
America, 1971. Sixteen of the 25 books were published or created in the 1800s.

    The Linda Hall Library collects in all areas of science, engineering, and technology. Its holdings in ornithology include rare books in the History of Science Collection, along with modern books and journals that cover the 
entire spectrum of historical and modern studies of the subject. Mr. Bradley welcomed any member to come visit again, and to request any book that is in the rare book collection for examination.

Thanks to John Mallery and Paula Winchester for their contributions.
Layout by Karl Marxhauen 
(Links courtesy of; Birds of America,; Jonathan Selby,;  Bird Prints,;; Edward Lear birds,; Mark Catesby birds,,
accessed Aug 8, 2014. Collections at Linda Hall Library. About Linda Hall collection,, accessed Aug 23, 2014)