Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Audubon sends news from his last collecting trip for his work The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America

    John J. Audubon Autograph Letter Signed. One and one-quarter pages with integral address leaf, penned on recto and verso of first page only, 8.25" x 12.5", "Vermillion River," May 17-18, 1843. Following the great international success of his publication The Birds of North America, hunter and naturalist John Audubon returned to America to collect, study, and document The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, setting out in 1843 with his son John, and mammalogist Reverend John Bachman, up the Missouri River.

    In this letter to his family in New York, Audubon describes some of the sights and events of his excursion. In part: "We are stopped about 6 miles below the Mouth of the Vermillion River, on account of our having burnt one plate off one of our boilers... We have been 22 days getting this far and you judge of the slowness of our voyage. We are all perfectly well. We have skinned upwards of 100 of specimens of quadrupeds and birds. But the bottomlands have been so much under water the months that game is not only scarce but very difficult to be got at. We are never in counties where the elk, deer, bear, and wolves are very abundant. We have seen a number of dead buffalos floating past of us... Four of the barges of the company have arrived where we are and I have now the satisfaction to know that this letter will go safely to St. Louis and I hope will reach you... Our boiler will be repaired in a few hours and we will be underway again by or before 12 o'clock." He closes with love for his family: "Remember me most kindly to all friends far and near. Kiss our little Darlings for me X X X and God bless you."

    The expedition was a success, as was the ultimate publication; however, four years into the project, Audubon's health declined dramatically, and much of the work was finished by others. His son John completed nearly half of the final 150 color plates, and Bachman wrote much of the scientific content. As with Audubon's seminal work The Birds of North America, the beautifully detailed images of the mammals of North America are still considered some of the finest ever published in America. Letter is faintly age toned, with smoothed folds and minor marginal nicks. Red wax seal. Small area of paper loss from the address panel due to the original unsealing, though no loss of text. Bold and clear text and signature. An outstanding letter written during his last collecting trip in preparation for his Quadrupeds.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 954

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 30 days left to consign to the 2020 March 4 Rare Books Signature Auction Books Signature Auction - New York !

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 December 8 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $950,931