Audubon's Creations: His Texas Legacy


Much has been written about the famed naturalist, John James Audubon.  His Birds of America (1827-1838) was widely acclaimed but The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845-1848; 1851-1854) was received with much less enthusiasm, partly owing to a less interested public and his own deteriorating health and failing eyesight.

By virtue of his many collecting trips around the country, it is certain that he was beginning to think about quadrupeds--or mammals--even while he was completing the Birds of America.  As early as 1839 he commented to a friend that he already knew much about the quadrupeds and had been making notes about them.  In 1841, he had drawn 61 species of the 155 that comprised the octavo edition of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.

It is likely that John James Audubon observed, researched and collected mammalian species during this 1837 trip to the Texas coast to collect bird specimens.  His primary collecting trip for quadrupeds was in 1843 when he traveled from his home in New York to Yellowstone for approximately two months.  But, in 1845-46 Audubon’s son, John Woodhouse Audubon, returned to Texas to collect additional specimens.

This online exhibit focuses upon the Texas specimens that were included in Audubon’s creative venture.  Fully 40 specimens were sighted or reported to range in Texas and approximately 23 are believed to have been drawn from Texas specimens.  Ten of the hand-colored lithographs are shown in this exhibit.

                                                                   Shawn B. Carlson
                                                                   Curator of Collections and Exhibits
                                                                   Star of the Republic Museum