AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851). Autograph letter signed ("John J. Audubon") to Edinburgh bookseller Alexander Hill. London, 17 July 1830. One page, 4to (252 x 202 mm), with integral leaf addressed in holograph. Mailing folds, a few minor spots, remnants of mounting strip on integral address leaf.
AUDUBON WRITES AN EDINBURGH BOOKSELLER REGARDING PAYMENT FROM ONE OF THE FIRST AMERICAN SUBSCRIBERS TO THE BIRDS OF AMERICA.
“I have been in London a fortnight and am yet without any answer to my last letter sent to you from Liverpool about a month ago, in which I desire you to collect the money due to me by Miss Harriet Douglas of New York. I am extremely anxious to have your answer and some money from you and I again ask you to send in a regular list of my Subscribers with you and their respective residence to have the whole engraved in the sheets of my 1st Jany next plates of frontispieces. I hope you received the 19th number in good order…”
In a postscript he writes concerning a young artist, Joseph B. Kidd (1808-1889), whom Audubon employed to paint birds for display and advertisements: “Please let me know where Mr. Kidd is and if in Edinburgh, why has he not written to us?”
Harriet Douglas (1792-1833) was a New York heiress who spent time in Edinburgh. She was Audubon’s first American subscriber for The Birds of America. In his journal, Audubon mentions a visit to her at some later date and comments on the poor condition the plates had been maintained: “Called on Miss D—, the fair American. To my surprise I saw the prints she had received the evening before quite abused and tumbled. This, however, was not my concern, and I regretted it only on her account, that so little care should be taken of a book that in fifty years will be sold at immense prices because of its rarity…”