America’s Other Audubon chronicles the story of Genevieve Jones, her family, and the making of an extraordinary nineteenth-century book, Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio.
At the age of twenty-nine, Genevieve Jones, an amateur naturalist/artist and daughter of a country doctor, visited the 1876 Centennial World's Fair in Philadelphia, where she saw Audubon's paintings in Birds of America on display. His artwork inspired her to undertake the production of a book illustrating the birds’ nests and eggs that Audubon neglected to include in his work. Her parents were reluctant to support the undertaking of such an ambitious and expensive project until Genevieve became despondent over a broken engagement. Concerned over her fragile mental state, they encouraged her to begin the book as a distraction. Her brother collected the nests and eggs, her father paid for the publishing costs, and Genevieve and her girlhood friend learned lithography and began illustrating the specimens. The book was sold by subscription in twenty-three parts. When part one of Genevieve’s work was issued, leading ornithologists praised the illustrations, and Rutherford B. Hayes and Theodore Roosevelt added their names to the subscription list. One reviewer wrote: “It is one of the most beautiful and desirable works that has ever appeared in the United States upon any branch of natural history and ranks with Audubon’s celebrated work on birds.”
When Genevieve died suddenly of typhoid fever, her family labored for seven years to finish the project in her memory. For the first time, America’s Other Audubon chronicles the story behind the making of this extraordinary nineteenth-century book.