Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Notable books of 2012: mid-year roundup

The editors of BirdWatching magazine describe Steve N.G. Howell's guide to petrels, albatrosses, and storm-petrels, Julie Zickefoose's new collection of essays, John Marzluff's latest book about crows, Derek Lovitch's guide to becoming a better birder, David Sibley's backyard birding flashcards, and 10 other new books about birds and birdwatching.
Published: April 20, 2012

America's Other Audubon by Joy M. Kiser, Princeton Architectural Press, 2012, 144 pages, $45, hardcover.

A treasure trove of nest art

Before she died of typhoid fever at age 32 in 1879, naturalist and artist Genevieve “Gennie” Jones had been hard at work on her book Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio. From childhood, Jones had collected nests and eggs with her father, and they often discussed the need for a book that would identify each bird’s nests and eggs. Years later, after seeing handcolored engravings from Audubon’s The Birds of America, Jones decided, with the support of her parents, brother, and best friend, to create her book.

After her death, her family labored for seven years to finish the project in her memory. In 1886, 90 copies were published. Today, fewer than 25 copies remain in institutions and private collections. Fortunately, Joy M. Kiser, a former librarian with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, recognized the importance of telling the story of Gennie Jones, her family, and their remarkable book. In America’s Other Audubon, Kiser features reproductions of their original art, as well as archival photographs of the family and Gennie’s field notes about the birds she knew so well. A treasure.