John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove collection
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.
"Mill Grove is the first home of John James Audubon in America and the only true Audubon home still standing in this country. The lovely estate, located in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania was owned for 17 years by Audubon's father, Jean, a French sea captain. In 1803, Captain Audubon sent his youthful son John James to Mill Grove to supervise the estate that included a working lead mine...
"At the age of twenty, Audubon gained his father's approval to marry Lucy Bakewell, daughter of William Bakewell, an Englishman who owned Fatland Ford, an estate adjoining Mill Grove. After their marriage in 1808, the Audubons moved to Kentucky. Lucy Bakewell was a tower of strength to her husband as he struggled to find his calling. While Audubon traveled about as portrait painter, music and fencing instructor and, eventually, painter of the Birds of America, Lucy remained at home to raise their two sons, Victor Gifford and John Woodhouse, and to work intermittently as a teacher.
"After the Audubon's left Mill Grove, Samuel Wetherill of Philadelphia purchased the property in 1813. It remained in the family until Herbert J. Wetherill sold it in 1951 to Montgomery County. In April 2003 the National Audubon Society and Montgomery County signed an agreement creating the Mill Grove Audubon Center. The Center is managed by Audubon Pennsylvania, the state office of the National Audubon Society."
Quoted text from: Audubon Pennsylvania. "John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove." 2012. Accessed April 3, 2012. http://pa.audubon.org/centers_mill_grove.html
This collection contains miscellaneous photographs, pamphlets, documents, scrapbooks, and other materials relating to Mill Grove Audubon Center, the Audubon Society, the property at Mill Grove before and after Audubon occupancy, and the Audubon family.
The largest section of this collection relates to the Audubon Center at Mill Grove. There are photographs, slides, and negatives of the property, museum collection, and activities and events, especially John James Audubon's 200th birthday celebration in 1985. There are also numerous newspaper and magazine clippings about the Audubon Center at Mill Grove, circa 1970-2000.
The collection contains material relating to the National Audubon Society and its local branches. From the Audubon Club of Norristown, there are newsletters, 1941-1972, and minute books, 1911-1958. Documentation of other branches is only scattered: some miscellaneous pamphlets, newsletters, membership certificates, and the like. There is a sizeable series of photographs, negatives, and slides depicting various bird sanctuaries throughout the country, circa 1950. There are also some photographs and slides from a trip to the Beringia Interpretive Center in the Yukon made by Peter Berle, former president of the National Audubon Society, in 1991.
There are original documents in this collection pertaining to the property at Mill Grove both before and after it was occupied by the Audubon family. Deeds, mortgages, and miscellaneous manuscript documents date back to 1726. From the Wetherill family, who purchased the house from the Audubons, there are numerous photographs (mostly from the early 1900s), a diary (1889), a clippings scrapbook about John James Audubon's legacy (1901-1911), a Mill Grove farm account book (1925), and various other items.
Finally, this collection includes an assortment of various items relating to John James Audubon and his family, especially photographs. Of special interest is a daguerreotype of Audubon.
Materials collected at various times by John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove.
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.
- 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.