A Milestone in American Ornithological LiteratureHoward Jones [text] and Mrs. N. E. (Virginia) Jones [illustrator]. Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio With Text. Circleville, Ohio, 1886. Text printed by Robert Clarke & Company, Cincinnati; plates printed by The Krebs Lithographing Company, Cincinnati.
First edition. One of the original subscribers' copies whose name is listed in a table at the back of Volume II. Two folio volumes. xxxviii, a-d, 41-138, plates I-XXXIX; 139-329, plates XL-LXVIII pages. With all 68 hand-colored lithographic plates, including two used as frontispieces, by and after Genevieve Jones, Eliza J. Shulze, and Virginia E. Jones, colored by Genevieve Jones, Eliza J. Shulze, Virginia E. Jones, Nellie D. Jacob, Kate Gephart, and Josephine Klippart, paper guards, plates LV and LVI incorrectly numbered but corrected by hand.
Half brown morocco over buckram boards by The Ruggles-Gale Company, Columbus, Ohio. Gilt-stamped spine bands with titles in gilt within compartments. Edges dyed red. Floral endpapers. Moderate edge wear, especially at the spine and corners and light scuffing to boards. Reinforced hinges in both volumes. Volume I, plates XXII and XXIII slightly cockled; Volume II, plates XLIX, L, LI, LII, LIX, LX, and LXI cockled. An illustration of a bird's nest from another publication is inserted opposite plate LII. Otherwise plates remain bright, and the set is in generally very good condition.
This extraordinarily rare work is one of the finest, if not the finest, ornithological works produced in America, and is certainly the most important and impressive examination of the nests and eggs of American birds ever produced. It was the idea of Miss Genevieve E. Jones and her friend, Eliza J. Shulze and was conceived as an artistic study of the familiar birds' nests found in the Circleville, Ohio area. A prospectus consisting of the first five plates with text by Dr. Howard Jones, was issued in July, 1879, but Genevieve Jones died of typhoid fever a month later and the project was shelved. Her family, however, decided to continue with the work and issue it as a memorial to their daughter. Mrs. N.E. (Virginia) Jones, her mother, assumed the task of coloring the plates that Miss Shulze continued to draw, and after the latter's departure from the project in 1880, undertook the entire responsibility for completing the illustrations. She was assisted by Miss Nellie E. Jacobs and Miss Kate Gephart, both of Circleville, and Miss Josephine Klippert of Columbus. The text was finished by Dr. Jones, and the entire project was financed by Mr. N.E. Jones, the girl's father. The completed work was originally issued in 23 parts between 1879 and 1886. The "Names of Subscribers" at the end of the second volume lists 39 copies then being reserved, four of which were to be uncolored, and included the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress (uncolored), ex-President Rutherford B. Hayes, and the distinguished ornithologists Elliot Coues and W. W. Dawson. It is known that only 90 sets of the completed work were finally published. From the beginning it received the highest praise: "There has been nothing since Audubon in the way of pictorial illustrations of American ornithology to compare with the present work - nothing to claim an equal degree of artistic skill or scientific accuracy..." (Coues). Complete sets of this marvelous work are rarely sold at auction. This is an excellent opportunity to own an original set of this superior work, complete and in nice condition.
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