WILSON, Alexander (1766-1813). American Ornithology; or, the natural history of the birds of the United States. Edited and completed by George Ord. Philadelphia: Robert Carr (vols.I-II) or Robert & William Carr (vols.II-IX) for Bradford & Inskeep, 1808-1814.
9 volumes, large imperial 4° (343 x 264mm). 7pp. list of subscribers at end of vol.IX. 76 FINE HAND-COLOURED ENGRAVED PLATES after Wilson by Alexander Lawson, G. Murray, Benjamin Tanner and J.G. Warnicke, tissue guard to each plate. (Plates offset onto tissue guards and text, light soiling to plate 3, plate 36 creased, plate 49 shaved at upper margin just touching image area, slight spotting to plates 57 and 59, vols.II, III and V without front blanks, vol.V without final blank.) Contemporary red half roan, the flat spines divided into six compartments by single gilt fillets, lettered in the second compartment, volume number in the fourth (vols. I-VI rebacked with old spines expertly laid down, vols.I, IV and VI with inner hinges repaired, vols.II, III and V with modern endpapers). Two modern red cloth boxes, red morocco lettering-pieces to the 'spines'.
A FINE CLEAN COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION with the second state of page 33. A pioneering work by the 'father of American ornithology'. Wilson's original drawings and paintings of birds, translated into attractive plates by Lawson, and detailed observations of their habits and habitats combined to produce 'THE FIRST TRULY GREAT AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGY AND ALSO THE FIRST TRULY OUTSTANDING AMERICAN COLOR PLATE BOOK OF ANY TYPE' (Bennett), predating Audubon. The numerous figures represent 262 species of birds, 39 of which were new to science and 23 reidentified. Volume I was reissued in 1809 with the date on the title unchanged but with corrected text. In this corrected text Wilson mentions his Carolina and Georgia trip which did not take place until 1809. Anker 533; Bennett p.114 (described as royal 4°); Fine Bird Books (1990) p.155; Nissen IVB 992; Zimmer p.679.
Alexander WILSON. - Samuel F. BRADFORD. A 3pp. prospectus addressed To the lovers of natural history. A new and superb work... being the first of its kind ever published in America. Proposals for publishing by subscription, by Samuel F. Bradford, Philadelphia, in imperial quarto, American Ornithology... By Alexander Wilson... Philadelphia: S.F. Bradford, April 6th, 1807. 4° (290 x 227mm). 3pp. Modern red calf-backed paper-covered boards, titled in gilt on spine. VERY RARE. (10)