The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon (1827-38) is one of two works—along with the  Gutenberg Bible—on permanent view at the Beinecke Library; these extraordinarily beautiful and important books have been exhibited in purpose-built cases on the Beinecke’s mezzanine level since the Library’s opening in 1963.

Though the library’s marble-panel “windows” keep the light levels low in our upstairs exhibition area, even small amounts of light can damage books and paper over time. In order to preserve these works for the ages, the pages of both The Birds of America and the Gutenberg Bible are turned several times a year, limiting the light exposure to any one page opening.

READ more about these books: Seeing ​the Gutenberg Bible & ​The Birds of America 


New page openings in The Birds of America will be on view on the following dates:

2019-2020 Exhibitions: The Lost Birds of Audubon
Featuring birds that were plentiful during Audubon’s life but that became extinct or were rendered “critically endangered” by the turn of the twentieth century.

1/3–September: Volume 1 (copy 1) Plate XXVI (26) — Carolina Parrot & Volume 1 (copy 2) Plate LXII (62) — Passenger Pigeon

2/3–January: Volume 1 (copy 1) Plate LXII (62) — Passenger Pigeon & Volume 1 (copy 2) Plate LVXI (66) — Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

3/3–April: Volume 1 (copy 1) Plate LVXI (66) — Ivory-Billed Woodpecker & Volume 1 (copy 2) Plate XXVI (26) — Carolina Parrot

Past Installations

2018-2019 Exhibtions: Audubon’s Creative Process
Featuring John James Audubon’s watercolors from the New York Historical Socity fascimile set alongside completed plates in the Double Elephant Folio

1/3–August 30: Volume II (Copy 2): Plate CLXXXI (181) Golden Eagle A Missing Self Portrait

2/3–January 17, 2019: Volume II (Copy 2) Barn Owl: Plate CLXXI (171) Audubon’s Collaborator

3/3–April 29: Volume 2 (Copy 2): Plate CII (102) Blue Jay – Image and Narrative

September 5, 2017 -January 8, 2018: Volume III (Copy 2): Plate CCXI (211) – Great Blue Heron & Volume III (Copy 1): Plate CCLI (251) – Brown Pelican

January 19: Volume III (Copy 2): Plate CCXLI (241) Greater Black Backed Gull & Volume III (Copy 1): Plate CCXLII (242) – Snowy Heron, or White Egret

May 3: Plates: Volume III (Copy 2): Plate CCVII (207) – Booby Gannet & Volume III (Copy 1): Plate CCLXXI (271) – Frigate Pelican

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