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Audubon's Birds of America

The University of Pittsburgh is fortunate to own one of the rare, complete sets of John James Audubon’s Birds of America. It is considered to be the single most valuable set of volumes in the collections of the University Library System (ULS). Indeed, only 120 complete sets are known to exist.

While Audubon was creating Birds of America, he was also working on a companion publication, namely, his Ornithological Biography. Both of these sets were acquired by William M. Darlington in the mid-nineteenth century and later donated, as part of his extensive library, to the University of Pittsburgh. Recognizing that the Darlington Library includes significant historical materials, such as rare books, maps, atlases, illustrations, and manuscripts, the ULS charted an ambitious course to digitize a large portion of Mr. Darlington’s collection, including the Birds of America.

We are pleased to present our complete double elephant folio set of Audubon’s Birds of America, accompanied by his Ornithological Biography, through this Web site. Together these sets constitute an unprecedented online combination.