American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Reason

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American Ornithology

Scarlet Tanager from American Ornithology
Alexander Wilson (1766-1813)
"Scarlet Tananger,"
American Ornithology or Natural History of the United States. Vol. 1.
Page 2 - Page 3
Philadelphia: Bradsford & Inskeep, 1811
Rare Book & Special Collections Division (113A.1)

Scottish ornithologist Alexander Wilson made a comprehensive study of the birds of North America by studying the specimens skillfully mounted and displayed by artist Charles Willson Peale and his sons in the Philadelphia Peale Museum. The museum became the repository for a wide array of natural history specimens from commercial and government-sponsored expeditions. Wilson's masterwork, American Ornithology, would eventually grow to nine volumes and was the first comprehensive survey published on the birds of North America.

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