I visited a primitive antique show (We’ll, there were a few antiques). One booth had a few items that really excited me. The first item that caught my eye was a set of ten lithographed mourning dove decoys. Each was mounted on an early clasp clothes pin. I couldn’t afford them. She also had an original New England shaker box #3. It was natural cherry and had a fantastic patina. I couldn’t afford it. She also had a beautiful printed Berks County fraktur. I couldn’t afford it. (BTW – I didn’t need any of these things either!)
Julie, my wife, found an album of color lithographed book plates of songbirds. We bought a handful (What we could afford). The Phoebe was the most important as our youngest daughter is named Phoebe.
I hate purchasing disbound books. It’s kind of like buying elephant ivory. If there’s a market elephants will be killed. If there is a market for disbound lithographs folks will destroy beautiful books.
The dealer couldn’t (or wouldn’t) name the original book. I did a bit of detective work and discovered the source — Bird Life, by Frank Chapman and Illustrated by Ernest Seton Thompson. It turns out the E.S. Thompson was a big deal. He wrote and illustrated dozens of books on natural history and outdoor life.
Bird Life is available online through Google Books with black and white plates. The color plates first appear in the 1901 version.
The original 1901 edition has 75 beautiful plates. I’ve located and purchased a copy for much less I paid for the handful of prints. My copy will stay bound.