Hill Collection Early- to Mid-19th
French artists & authors
Charles Bonaparte [1803-1857], mentioned earlier in connection with his four-volume
supplement to Wilson's American ornithology, was also caught up in studies of
nomenclature and in trying to organize a catalog of all known bird species and genera.
Beginning in 1850 and ceasing uncompleted on the author's death in 1857, Bonaparte's
Conspectus generum avium represented a major accomplishment toward arranging
and comparing some seven thousand recorded species of birds.
The Hill Collection contains several additional works by Bonaparte: Observations
on the nomenclature of Wilson's Ornithology (1826); The
genera of North American birds (1828); and A
geographical and comparative list of the birds of Europe and North America (1838).
Bonaparte's handsome Monographie
des Loxiens was published in 1850. This study of the crossbills, grosbeaks, and
allied species was illustrated with fifty-four excellent hand-colored lithographs by
An interesting volume in the Hill Collection is the beautifully illustrated Esquisses
ornithologiques, by Bernard Du Bus de Gisignies [1808-1874]. Issued in five parts
from 1845 to 1850, this work depicted new species discovered in New Zealand, South and
Central America, and West Africa in the mid-19th century.
A well-illustrated report of early-19th century French exploration in the New World is
dans I'Amérique méridionale by Alcide Dessalines d'Orbigny [1802-1857]. Volume
four, Oiseaux (1835), is part of the Hill Collection.
Another French ornithologist of the 19th century, Alf. Malherbe [d. 1866] produced a
major study of the woodpecker family. The four-volume
Monographie des picidées (1861-1862) describes every known species of
woodpecker, with hand-colored lithographs to accompany the detailed review.
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.