Jan

27

 The NYPL digital collection has images of Audubon's last work the drawings are not Audubon's but those of his son, John.

Audubon's American wife Lucy deserves as much credit as her husband; without her extraordinary grit, Audubon would never have succeeded in the enterprise for which he is famous. His first venture — building and operating a steam-powered saw and grist mill on the Ohio at Henderson, Kentucky - was a "failure"; after 9 years the mill business collapsed - because demand for sawn lumber for housing and commercial construction had suddenly disappeared in what is now known as the Panic of 1819 - the first "slump" in our Republic's history.

Added to the failure was the misery of losing their daughter, Lucy, Audubon's being thrown into debtor's prison and then the loss of a second daughter - Rose.

Audubon came to America using a forged passport that his father, who was once a privateer, bought for him. The father bought the fake ID that allowed his son to leave France so that John James would not be conscripted into Napoleon's Army.


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