History Archive > Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California (1852)

Illustrated notes of an expedition through Mexico and California


Date: 1852



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Audubon, John Woodhouse. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California. New York : J.W. Audubon. 1852.


Audubon, John Woodhouse (1852) Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California. New York : J.W. Audubon.


Audubon, John Woodhouse, Illustrated Notes of an Expedition through Mexico and California. New York : J.W. Audubon. 1852.


In 1849 J.W. Audubon joined the gold rush, traveling to California across Texas and northern Mexico. On his return, he planned an ambitious plate book of forty plates in ten parts, illustrating scenes from his trip and in the mines. Despite the tremendous national interest in the gold rush, he was unable to generate enough subscriptions to justify the publication, and so packaged the whole letterpress text, with the plates of the projected first part, as a complete book. Even the Audubon family's ability to market could not overcome the reluctance of American audiences to pay the cost of large view books" (Reese).

The Illustrated Notes covers the first half of J.W. Audubon's journey to California, from New York to Parral and the village of Jesus Maria in Chihuahua. The text was edited from Audubon's notebooks by his daughter. The four views in the work are: "Fourth of July Camp"; "Night Watch"; "Cañon of Jesus Maria"; and "Jesus Maria." The complete journal was published by the Arthur H. Clark Company in 1906 under the title Western Journal.

Bryant's long walks through the Berkshire countryside and his reading of William Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads greatly influenced the naturalism of his poetry. His poems of American scenery have often been compared to the work of the Hudson River School of painters.

Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirits depicts Bryant and the painter Thomas Cole standing on a promontory in the Catskills while they survey the wild scenery about them. At the time of the publication of Audubon's Illustrated Notes, Bryant was living on Long Island at Roslyn, where he was pursuing his botanical interests, planting and nurturing specimens of trees and shrubs from around the world (see ANB).

2o (448 x 338 mm). Title, preface and 48 pages text. Four hand-colored lithographed plates after J.W. Audubon by C. Gildemeister, printed by Nagel & Weingaertner.

The original printed wrapper includes reference to a cost of $1.00 plain and $1.50 colored.


Cowan I, pp.8-9; Cowan II, p.23; Eberstadt 115:1044; Graff 111; Howes A-390 ("dd": superlatively rare, "the four plates, in colored state, are of outstanding beauty"); Kurutz Gold Rush 21; Reese Nineteenth Century American Color Plate Books 41; Streeter sale V:3166-67 (two tinted plates only); Wagner-Camp-Becker 208.

Publication Information

Publisher: New York : J.W. Audubon




Newberry Library

ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-05-04

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