"John James Audubon: The Birds of America"

August 2 – October 26, 2014

Study Gallery and Print Study Center

John James Audubon (1785-1851) was a French-American painter, ornithologist, and naturalist. His major work, The Birds of America, is considered one of the finest ornithological books ever published; in it, he identified 25 new species of birds. Organized by Director John Olbrantz, the exhibition features 30 prints from Audubon’s Royal Octavo Edition on loan from the Western Oregon University Archives in Monmouth.

During Audubon’s lifetime, two different editions were produced of The Birds of America: the Double Elephant Folio and the Royal Octavo Editions.

The Royal Octavo Edition was published in 1841 and was a smaller but more affordable version of the original Double Elephant Folio that was created in England between 1827 and 1839. Like the Double Elephant Folio, the Royal Octavo Edition was sold by subscription, and issued five prints at a time. The first edition of approximately 1,200 sets was completed in four years, between 1840 and 1844. The second edition, comprised of approximately 1,000 sets, was finished in 1856. A third edition was completed in 1859, and subsequent editions were published by Roe Lockwood and Son until 1871.

Special Related Events


John James Audubon and The Birds of America
William Souder

Friday, September 12 from 5 to 6 p.m.
Paulus Lecture Hall in the Willamette University College of Law [map]
Free and open to the public

In conjunction with the exhibition, William Souder will present an illustrated lecture on Audubon. Souder is the author of the Audubon biography Under a Wild Sky, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2004.

A selection of books, including Under a Wild Sky, will be available for sale at the event and Souder will be available to autograph books following the lecture.


Film Showing
Drawn from Nature

Tuesday, September 23, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 21, 7:30 p.m.
Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Roger Hull Lecture Hall
Free and open to the public

This PBS documentary chronicles the life and times of John James Audubon.

Financial support for the exhibition has been provided by grants from the City of Salem’s Transient Occupancy Tax funds, and the Oregon Arts Commission.


John James Audubon, [italics]Wood Duck - Summer Duck [/italics] (detail), 1841-1871, Royal Octavo Edition, Lithograph.

John James Audubon, Wood Duck - Summer Duck (detail), 1841-1871, Royal Octavo Edition, Lithograph.

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