The First Octavo Edition, with ALS Signed by "John J
AUDUBON, John James. Birds of America. from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories. By John James Audubon. [with] ALS. New York: Published by J.J. Audubon , 1840-1844.
First octavo edition. Seven large octavo volumes (10 3/16 x 6 3/8 inches; 258 x 161 mm). viii, [9]-246, [249-256, list of Subscribers]; viii, [9]-199, [1, blank], [201-205, lis of subscribers]; viii, [9]-233, [1, blank], [1, list of subscribers], [1, blank]; viii, [9]-321, [1, blank], [1, subscribers], [1, blank]; viii, [9]-346, [1, list of subscribers], [1, blank]; viii, [9]-457, [1, blank], [1, list of subscribers], [1, blank]; ix, [1, blank], [9]-371, [1, blank], [1, list of subscribers], [1, blank] pp. Bound with the lists of subscribers in each volume but without the half-titles. Complete with 500 hand-colored lithographed plates by J.T. Bowen after J.J. Audubon. Woodcuts in the text. With original tissue guards for all plates except one.

Publisher's half green morocco over green cloth boards bound by J. Carrs & Co., rebacked with original spines laid down. Boards double ruled in gilt. Spines ruled and lettered in gilt. All edges gilt. Original yellow coated endpapers. Volume I with mostly marginal foxing and toning to text leaves throughout, but plates all remain very clean. One large dampstain to text page 235 of volume I, minimally affecting the surrounding plates (Plates 66 & 66). Volume II with some minor foxing, mainly to pages 143-162. Some browning to margin of pages 177-183 in volume II, mildly affecting the margins of plates 136 and 137. Volume III with some minor foxing, the worst of it on pages 62-68. Plates 187 and 188 are in reverse order. Some slight browning to the margin of plate 358 in volume VI. Otherwise the volumes are quite clean and the plates are extremely clean and bright. Previous owner's bookplate on back pastedown of each volume. Each volume housed in a green cloth slipcase with green morocco tips. Overall a very nice set.

[Together with]

AUDUBON, John James. Autograph Letter Signed "John J. Audubon" to "Charles C. Little." New York: February 1, 1841.

One quarto page, lettered in ink on recto only (9 3/4 x 7 7/8 inches; 246x198 mm). Dated at the top "February 1, 1841" and addressed to Charles C. Little of Little & Brown, Boston. Light, unobtrusive glue stain on verso, slightly showing through. Sheet reinforced along left margin on verso with some show-through. Creased at folds Overall very good.

"New York, 1 February 1841. My Dear Sir, Your prompt action of Jany 29th came safely to hand with the check on the Merchants Bank of Boston for Two hundred Dollars, which we have placed to your credit. I can scarcely yet say when you will receive No. 25 as one of the stones containing 2 plates of that No. broke while printing – It will come to you however very soon and will be a lovely Number! I am truly glad to know that our friend Brown made his way through ‘thick and thin’ as far as Little Rock, and I hope that the grand business he will do may compensate him for all his travelling labours. Present my constant regards to Docr Parkman, Stattuck and Mr. Bancroft, and after all this believe me, My dear sir, Yours very sincerely, John J. Audubon Charles C. Little Esq. of Little & Brown Boston”

The subscription of John J Audubon's masterpiece The Birds of America, 1st octavo edition which was published between the years 1840-1844 is most likely what is being discussed in the present letter.

"The purely ornithological text of Audubon’s ‘Ornithological Biography,’ 1831-39, revised and rearranged by the author according to his ‘A Synopsis of the Birds of North America,’ 1839, with much additional matter but with the ‘Delineation of American Scenery and Manner’ omitted. The plates are modified copies of those of the original folio, ‘The Birds of America,’ 1827-38, reduced by camera lucida and lithographed. Some of the backgrounds are entirely changed, others greatly modified, and the original composition is altered so that but one species is represented on a plate. In the case of four species, each occupies two plates, and in one case (pl. 88), the figures of two originals (pll. XXXV and XCV) have been combined on one plate. There are 7 species of the ‘Ornithological Biography’ and ‘Synopsis’ which are figured here for the first time and 17 new forms are added in an appendix. The plates are rearranged in accordance with the text and renumbered in sequence to correspond. This edition, which is the only 8vo published by the author himself, was issued in 100 parts, 14 of which are found in each of Vols. I-VI, and 16 in Vol. VII" (Ayer/Zimmer).

Ayer/Zimmer, p. 22. McGill/Wood, p. 208.

HBS # 68156 $67,500