BACK IN THE U.S.A.: As THE BIRDS OF AMERICA is finally published, AUDUBON seeks to ease his son’s return to the United States
Haitian-born American ornithologist and artist (1785–1851) whose monumental pictorial studies of the birds and quadrupeds of North America take a place among the most distinguished accomplishments in the history of zoology and natural history illustration. ALS, one page slightly irregularly trimmed in size to approximately 6.25 x 8, January 1, 1839. Audubon writes from Edinburgh to William Norris in Philadelphia. In full: “Allow me the pleasure of presenting to your acquaintance, my eldest son. Victor Gifford, who will in all probability spend some time in your City. He now returns to America with the view of settling there permanently. Six or seven years have elapsed since he last trod on our shores, and returning as He now does almost as a stranger, I beg of you to present him to any such of your own friends as you may think fit. My wife joins me in best wishes to your Lady and family, and I pray you to believe me my Dear Sir, with greatest esteem….” At the time of writing, Audubon was in Scotland to oversee the publication of his magnum opus, The Birds of America, for which it had taken more than a decade to produce the engraved plates from his paintings. Audubon’s son, Victor, had supervised production of the plates, as well as related business affairs, since 1832. According to a different letter by Audubon published in the 1894 biography The Life of John James Audubon, the Naturalist, the recipient of the present letter, William Norris, had earlier provided bail for the artist when Audubon was in danger of being imprisoned for debt in Philadelphia. In very good condition, with trimming as noted, intersecting folds (vertical fold to last name), light wrinkling and handling wear, and light staining at corners from mounting remnants to reverse. The writing is clear and dark throughout. Auction LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA.