Charles Lucian Bonaparte’s Wild Turkey

November 22nd, 2017

Thanksgiving this year is an apt time for us to show off a plate from volume 1 of American ornithology; or, the natural history of birds inhabiting the United States, not given by Wilson by Charles Lucian Bonaparte (Philadelphia; Carey, Lea & Carey; London: John Miller; William Brown, printer, 1825).

Wild turkey, from Charles Lucian Bonaparte, American ornithology, vol. 1 (Philadelphia and London, 1825). Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The set used to belong to Increase Allen Lapham (1811-1875), celebrated as “first scholar of Wisconsin“; it figured among a recent generous gift of natural history books to Special Collections by the Richard B. Anderson Family Foundation. Dr. Richard (Dick) Anderson was a very good friend of the Libraries and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and we are grateful to his family and to the Anderson Family Foundation for their generosity.

Initials of Increase Allen Lapham as recorded on the title page of Charles Lucian Bonaparte’s American ornithology.

Another set of Charles Lucian Bonaparte’s American ornithology has been digitized as part of the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture in the UW Digital Collections. The wild turkey in that set sports a more brightly colored head and neck, a not surprising difference between copies, given that the plates were all hand-colored.

For more about Lapham, see, for example, Rob Nurre, “Increase A. Lapham: A Legacy of Archeological Preservation”  from Wisconsin People & Ideas, 57:2 (spring 2011). Lapham’s The antiquities of Wisconsin (1855) is also available through the UW Digital Collections.