Ornithology Manuscript Collections in the
Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections
Louis Agassiz Fuertes Collection
Perhaps the best-known collection in the division is the papers of Louis Agassiz
Fuertes, one of the great artists in bird portraiture. The collection was given to the
Archives in 1979 by Mary Fuertes Boynton, the artist's daughter. The Fuertes papers
include correspondence with ornithologists, artists, and naturalists, especially on the
subject of bird coloration, and, particularly, "concealing coloration." The
collection also includes student notes; notebooks, sketchbooks, diaries, and expedition
journals (many including sketches); photographs of Fuertes; and photographs taken by him
on expeditions to South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Most notable in the Fuertes Collection are his art works - more than 2,000 pieces -
most of which are pencil, ink, or preliminary watercolor sketches of birds, groups of
birds, and anatomical details. More than 100 items are finished watercolors and drawings.
The online Louis Agassiz Fuertes
database provides a guide to the documentary material as well as access to the art
held at Cornell in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, at the Lab of
Ornithology, and in the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. Pen-and-ink and pencil drawings
by Fuertes, collected by Katherine Palmer, are found in a separate collection, but are
also included in the database.
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.