The 2013-2014 John H. Ostrom Program Series

Alexander Wilson: The Scot Who Founded American Ornithology

With Edward H. Burtt - Thursday, March 20 at 5:30 pm

Free Admission

Book signing to follow


In 1794 Alexander Wilson, poet, labor activist and weaver, arrived in Philadelphia, a refugee from his native Scotland. His first letter home extols the bright colors and abundance of the birds he found in the fields and forests of America. In 1803 he met William Bartram and conceived the idea of describing all the birds of the United States. With Bartram’s guidance, Wilson taught himself to identify, draw and paint. In 1808 the first volume of his American Ornithology was published. In all he wrote, edited, illustrated and researched nine volumes, with the last published in 1814, the year after his death. A monumental achievement in science, art and literature, the importance of this work to the development of American science and culture are the topic of this abundantly illustrated program. Edward H. Burtt, Jr. is Cincinnati Conference Professor of Zoology at Ohio Wesleyan University.