Biography of John J. Audubon
Famous American Biographies





JOHN JAMES AUDUBON, a celebrated American naturalist, was born in Louisiana, May 4, 1780, and was the son of an opulent French naval officer who owned a piantation in the then French colony. In his childhood he became deeply interested in the study of birds and their habits. About 1794 be was sent to Paris, France, where he was partially educated, and studied designing under the famous painter, Jacques Louis David. He returned to the United States about 1798, and settled on a farm his father gave him, on the Perkiomen creek in eastern Pennsylvania. He married Lucy Bakewell in 1808, and, disposing of his property, removed to Louisville, Kentucky, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. About two years later he began to make extensive excursions through the primeval forests of the southern and southwestern states, in the exploration of which he passed many years. He made colored drawings of all the species of birds that he found. For several years he made his borne with his wife and children at Henderson, on the Ohio river. It is said that about this time he had failed in business and Was rediuced to poverty, but kept the wolf from the door by giving dancing lessons and in portrait painting. In 1824, at Philadelphia, he met Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who encouraged him to publish a work on ornithology. Two years later he went to England and commenced the publication of his great work, "The Birds of America." He obtained a large number of subscribers at one thousand dollars a copy. This work, embracing five volumes of letterpress and five volumes of beautifully colored plates, was pronounced byCuvier "the most magnificent monument that art ever raised to ornithology."

Audubon returned to America in 1829, and explored the forests, lakes and coast from Canada to Florida, collecting material for another work. This was his "Ornithological Biography; or, An Account of the Habits of the Birds of the United States, Etc." He revisited England in 1831, and returned in 1839, after which he resiaed on the Hudson, near New York City, in which place he died January 27, 1851. During his life he issued a cheaper edition of his great work, and was, in association with Dr. Bachman, preparing a work on the quadrupeds of North America.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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