Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1856. First edition. Large octavo (255 x 170 mm). Publisher's dark blue Morocco, rebacked almost invisibly, preserving original spine. Boards paneled in gilt and blind. Board edges stamped in blind. Gilt dentelles. All edges gilt. A dampstain to lower outer corner starting on the title-page through the preliminaries. Some pages uniformly toned. Collating viii, 298 and including fifty hand-colored lithographed plates after George G. White by Wm. E. Hitchcock, printed and colored by J.T. Bowen. With index. Tissue guards. Overall a very good copy with beautiful bright illustrations.
Originally issued in ten parts between 1853 and 1855, this work was intended as a supplement to the octavo edition of Audubon’s Birds of America. Hitchcock, who transferred White’s drawings to stone, and Bowen, who printed and colored them, had both worked extensively on that earlier work, as well as on the octavo edition of Audubon and Bachman's Quadrupeds of North America. Cassin was the first American ornithologist to use trinomials to designate geographical races. “The work was intended by Cassin as a general revision of the ornithology of the United States, and he expresses the hope that he may be able to issue two additional volumes or series; however, not more than this one volume ever appeared“ (Anker). According to Ayer, three species are described as new.
Ayer/Zimmer. Copenhagen/Anker 92. Fine Bird Books 64. Nissen, IVB, 173. Sabin 11369. (Item #4013)