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Victor Gifford Audubon collection

Call Number: GEN MSS 343

Scope and Contents

The Victor Gifford Audubon Collection contains correspondence, lithographed plates, and drawings. The collection has been arranged into two series.

Series I, Correspondence (1845-1859), consists of letters from Victor Gifford Audubon to Daniel Rice, a book subscription agent and co-publisher of History of the Indian Tribes of North America by Thomas L. M'Kenney and James Hall, which is referred to in several letters. The letters concern the business relationship between Rice and Audubon regarding the printing, binding, distribution and sale of the octavo-format editions of The Birds of America and The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America by John James Audubon. Issues discussed include the ongoing business agreement between Audubon and Rice, sales trips taken by Rice, Audubon's efforts to convince Rice to buy a share of the volumes being produced, the supply of letterpress text, and difficulties in collecting payments from subscribers. Included is a signed agreement (Box 1, folder 1) between Audubon and Rice regarding Rice's seeking subscribers for the two books, and his commission for their sale. Also included are letters from Audubon to an H. J. Hall, A. M. Hart (Rice's partner), and one letter from Harper Brothers to Rice regarding a claim against a Mr. Mygatt, who is mentioned in several of Audubon's letters to Rice.

Series II, Illustrations (n.d.), contains lithographed plates used in the octavo version of The Birds of America, some hand-colored, and a group of pencil and pencil and watercolor sketches by an unidentified artist.


  • 1845-1859


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Victor Gifford Audubon Collection is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased in 1993 from the William Reese Company on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Collection includes correspondence between Victor Gifford Audubon and Daniel Rice, a book subscription agent, regarding the production and sale of the works of John James Audubon. Also included are 22 uncolored, 8 partially tinted and 2 hand-colored lithographed plates for the octavo edition of "The Birds of North America," all by John T. Bowen after Audubon; 3 additional hand-colored plates, also by Bowen after Audubon, which may have served as colorist's proofs or models; and a group of 19 pencil and watercolor portraits and drawings by an unidentified artist.


Victor Gifford Audubon, son of the illustrator and naturalist John James Audubon, was born on June 12, 1809. As an adult he assisted his father, along with his brother John Woodhouse Audubon, in the creation of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. While he did contribute some artistic work to the project, his main function was to handle the business of producing and selling the work, along with the earlier The Birds of America. After his father's death, Victor continued to manage the business aspects in promoting his father's work. He died in 1862.

Guide to the Victor Gifford Audubon Collection
Under Revision
by Kathryn Rawdon
March 1998
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.