Natural History Society of Maryland
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Natural History Society of Maryland

Maryland's Law Library is for the Birds! Thurgood Marshall State Law Library's Audubon Collection

  • 29 Jul 2021
  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom


(depends on selected options)

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When you enter a law library, you expect to be greeted by shelves lined with leather-backed tomes of law. The Maryland Law Library certainly has those, but it also has something not typically found in law libraries. David Ridgely, the state’s first librarian tasked with setting up a state library for the Assembly,  was no ordinary librarian. He believed that the politicians of the day, 1830’s Maryland, should be guided by a wide swath of knowledge, not only the law. Following this inner calling, he received permission to purchase a set of Audubon’s Birds of America for the State Library for $1,000 ( a complete set sold for $8.8 million).

During this presentation, you will learn about Ridgely, Audubon, the collection, the restoration efforts done in 2005-6, and of course the birds!  Ten select prints will be shown during the presentation accompanied by natural history information provided by a NHSM ornithologist.

Kildeer Plover from Birds of America (1827) by John James Audubon (1785 – 1851), etched by Robert Havell (1793 – 1878). The original Birds of America is the most expensive printed book in the world and a truly awe-inspiring classic.



The Natural History Society of Maryland is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and contributions are tax-deductible.

The mission of the Natural History Society of Maryland is to foster stewardship of Maryland’s natural heritage by conserving its natural history collections, educating its citizenry, and inspiring its youth to pursue careers in the natural sciences.

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