Audubon-Bakewell-Shaffer family papers
Held at: John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove [Contact Us]1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, PA, 19403
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
John James Audubon (1785-1851) was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. His The Birds of North America, written and lushly illustrated by Audubon himself, is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed.
John James Audubon was sent to the United States by his father, Captain Jean Audubon, in 1803 to escape Napoleon's draft. The younger Audubon was to oversee his father's Mill Grove estate and its working lead mine. Once there, he fell in love with and married Lucy Bakewell (1788-1874), the daughter of the adjoining estate's owner William Bakewell. Lucy had five siblings: Thomas Woodhouse, Eliza, Sarah, Ann, and William Gifford.
William Gifford Bakewell (1799-1871) married twice: Alicia A. Matthews (1809-1847) in 1828, and Maria Dillingham (b. 1831) in 1854.
Thomas Bakewell and John James Audubon briefly operated a store together in New Orleans, Louisiana, under the name "Audubon & Bakewell."
The collection contains letters, manuscripts, and other items (death certificates, funeral announcements, mourning cards, photographs, and newspaper clippings) from members of the Audubon-Bakewell-Shaffer family, circa 1828-1958. The bulk of the letters are between William Gifford Bakewell and his wife Maria (some dating from the Civil War) or his sister Lucy Bakewell Audubon. Of special interest are reminiscences of John James Audubon by family members.
The approximately 279 items are organized chronologically.
Purchased with funds from Edwin Vare Fund & Friends of Audubon's Mill Grove, 2003. Accession numbers associated with this collection: MG2003.08 and FV2003.08.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2011-2012 as part of a pilot project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) received a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove directly for more information.
- Audubon family
- Audubon, John James, 1785-1851
- Audubon, Lucy Green Bakewell, 1788-1874
- Bakewell family
- Bakewell, William Gifford, 1799-1871
- Shaffer family
- John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Michael Gubicza through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove for information about accessing this collection.