Pitta Boschii
drawn from nature by D.G. Elliot, F.Z.S.
Bowen & Co. lith & col. Philada.

Pitta Boschii
from A monograph of the Pittidae or family of ant thrushes
by Daniel Giraud Elliot

Hill Collection — Scope

The Hill Ornithology Collection is part of the History of Science Collections which are housed in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in Kroch Library. Its emphasis is on North American ornithology and on works issued prior to 1900, but the scope is wide. Historical ornithological books of significance from many parts of the world, as well as some 20th century publications, are included.

The Hill Ornithology Collection is a growing entity. At its core are more than 100 volumes given to Cornell by Kenneth E. and Dorothy V. Hill. Among these are magnificent copies of works by Mark Catesby, Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, John Gould, and Daniel G. Elliot. The goals of the Hill Collection are to chronicle the pre-1900 development of ornithology as a science, and to depict the growth of bird illustration as an art form, with particular concern for comprehensiveness in North American ornithology. All additions to the Hill Collection are selected with these goals in mind.

American ornithology clearly has its roots in Europe. As early as the 15th century European explorers to the New World brought exotic bird specimens back to their own lands. In the 16th and 17th centuries, European naturalists increasingly included descriptions of American birds in their writings. As exploration and colonization of the Americas occurred rapidly in the 17th and 18th centuries, a large number of accounts and preserved specimens of birds found their way into European collections, particularly in France, Spain, and England.

Classification schemes devised by European ornithologists took into account information gleaned from American specimens and observations. Thus a comprehensive historical book collection in North American ornithology, such as the Hill Collection, logically includes a substantial amount of literature published in Europe.

 

 

Online guide developed from:

Ornithology Collections in the Libraries at Cornell University: A Descriptive Guide
Revised Edition, 1999
Ithaca, New York
1999 Cornell University Library
Webpage last revised: 6/10/99 by jfc & clsb.