JOHN CASSIN (1813-1869)
Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America. Intended to contain descriptions and figures of all North American Birds not given by former authors, and a general synopsis of North American Ornithology. Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott & Co., 1862. 8 (265 x 180mm). 50 hand-coloured lithographic plates by William E. Hitchcock, some after George G. White, all printed and hand-coloured by J.T. Bowen of Philadelphia. Original brown morocco-grained cloth, covers blocked in blind, expertly rebacked to style, the flat spine lettered in gilt and blocked in blind.
A fine copy of the second issue of this important work, a supplement to Audubon, one of the cornerstones of American ornithological literature. Cassin's work, first published in parts between July 1853 and June 1855 (with a title-page issued in 1856), was intended to complement the octavo edition of Audubon's work. The annexation of Texas and the addition of California and New Mexico to the United States had led to increased exploration and research in the South West. "Since the time of the publication of the works of our predecessors in American Ornithology, the additions of species and of information... have been very large, and being for much the greater part within our reach, we have been induced to undertake the present work" (Preface). The wish for uniformity with the octavo Audubon carries through to the plates: this is unsurprising as both Hitchcock, who drew the images on the lithographic stones, and Bowen, who printed and coloured them, had been involved in the earlier work. A third issue was published in 1865. Cf. Anker 92; cf. Bennett p.21; cf. Fine Bird Books (1990) p.85; cf. Nissen IVB 173; Ripley p.54; Wood p.281; cf. Zimmer p.124.