John James Audubon – American naturalist
John James Audubon was an America’s greatest naturalist, ornithologist and animal artist, author of Birds of America (1827-1838). The first environmental organization in the world National Audubon Society was named in his honor.
John James Audubon was born on April 26, 1785 in Les Cayes, Haiti. He was the illegitimate son of a French adventurer. His mother died soon after her son’s birth. John and his father came to France in 1794.
In 1803, John came to America to become the manager of his father’s lead mines in Pennsylvania. However, he was interested in drawing and decided to become an artist.
In 1808 Audubon married Lucy Bakewell, neighbor’s eldest daughter.
In 1822 he taught French, drawing and dancing, drew portraits, painted river vessels and even painted road signs.
In 1827, he published the first of four volumes of Birds of America in the form of huge size luxurious album. It took 11 years in all for its serial publication and subsequent reprintings. He was acclaimed the foremost naturalist of his country.
The first of five volumes Ornithological Biography was published in 1831.
Audubon was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Linnean Society. Cuvier called his drawings a monument to ornithology.
John James Audubon died on January 27, 1851 in New York. He was buried in the cemetery of the Holy Trinity Cathedral on Broadway (Manhattan).
Audubon left behind a remarkable collection of artwork that depicted the natural world he loved so much.
Some places were named in honor of John Audubon: Audubon Nature Institute, National Audubon Society, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, The Audubon House & Tropical Gardens in Florida, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center in New Orleans, Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans, The Audubon Museum and The John James Audubon State Park in Kentucky, Audubon Park in New Orleans and Kentucky, John James Audubon Bridge over the Mississippi, Audubon Memorial Bridge over the Ohio River, and some others.