A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partidges of America (1850) by John Gould

A selection from Andersen Horticultural Library’s rare book collection is a folio titled A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of America (1850) by John Gould. Written and published by Gould, the volume is dedicated to a fellow ornithologist and friend, Prince Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino and Musignano, and nephew of Napolean Bonaparte. Offered by subscription, the monograph was originally published in three parts (1844, 1846, 1850).

Gould begins the book with “Were it necessary to assign a reason for the publication of the present Monograph, I might state that it is due to the interest excited in my mind by the sight of several living examples of the beautiful Callipepla Californica, brought home and presented to the Zoological Society of London by Captain Beechey in 1830. The graceful actions and elegant deportment of these birds inspired me with a desire to become thoroughly acquainted with the entire group…”

Gould explains the significance of this work in the preface, “In the course of my researches I have several times visited most of the public and many of the private collections of Europe, and have besides corresponded with various persons in America: the result is that I have had the pleasure of extending our knowledge of the group from eleven to no less than thirty-five species.”

Within the monograph are 32 full-page beautiful hand-colored lithographic plates done by Gould and Henry Constantine Richter depicting mating game bird pairs in their natural settings.

Andersen Horticultural Library’s copy has a bookplate denoting that our copy was at one time owned by John Arthur Brooke, a gentleman from Fenay Hall, Huddersfield, West Riding, Yorkshire, England, who lived from 1844-1920 and owned an extensive and valuable library.

A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of America by John Gould is available for viewing at Andersen Horticultural Library by appointment.


Past Features