John Woodhouse Audubon

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John Woodhouse Audubon

Birthplace: Henderson, KY, USA
Death: Died in New York, NY, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of John James Audubon and Lucy Audubon
Husband of Caroline Audubon and Maria Rebecca Audubon
Father of John James Audubon; Maria Rebecca Audubon; John James Audubon; William Bakewell Audubon; Jane Audubon and 4 others
Brother of Victor Gifford Audubon; Lucy Audubon and Rose Audubon

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About John Woodhouse Audubon

AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE (1812–1862). John W. Audubon, wildlife and portrait painter, was born on November 30, 1812, at Meadow Brook farm, near Henderson, Kentucky, the second son of Lucy (Bakewell) and John James Audubon. He spent his youth in Kentucky, Ohio, and Louisiana, where he attended a school taught by his mother. He and his older brother, Victor Gifford Audubon, learned to draw from their father and assisted him in collecting wildlife specimens. Audubon traveled with his father to Labrador in 1833, and from 1834 until 1836 he resided with the family in England. He worked as a portrait painter and helped his father on the publication of The Birds of America (1827–38). In 1837 he accompanied his father on a trip to the Republic of Texas, where they visited Galveston and what was then the capital, Houston. In Charleston, South Carolina, Audubon married Maria Rebecca Bachman in May 1837; they had two daughters. After her death in 1840, he married Caroline Hall, on October 2, 1841; this second marriage produced seven children.

After 1839 Audubon resided in New York City, where he assisted his father by using the camera lucida to make one-half of the 500 small drawings required for the octavo edition of The Birds of America. (The senior Audubon made the others.) He also exhibited at the Apollo Association, the American Art-Union, and the National Academy. In 1845–46 he again traveled to Texas to collect specimens, notes, and sketches for one of his father's projects, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–51). On this second Texas trip he talked again with Sam Houston and met Texas Ranger captain John Coffee Hays. Audubon eventually furnished original drawings for half of the plates in Quadrupeds, some of which were credited to his father; he again used a camera lucida to reduce the images for the octavo edition.

After a business trip to England for his father in 1846–47, Audubon joined Col. Henry Webb's California Company expedition as commissary, in 1849. From New Orleans the expedition sailed to the mouth of the Rio Grande; it headed west overland through northern Mexico and over the Gila Trail in Arizona to San Diego, California. Cholera and outlaws caused nearly half of the men to turn back, including the leader. Audubon assumed command of the remainder, which pressed on to California, although he was forced to abandon his paints and canvases in the desert. Upon returning to New York in 1850 he completed Quadrupeds and, together with his brother, continued publishing editions of their father's works after his death in January 1851, including a full-sized, chromolithograph edition of The Birds of America, which he began with Julius Bien of New York in 1858. Audubon died at his home outside New York City on February 18 or 21, 1862. BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Alice Ford, John James Audubon (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964). George C. Groce and David H. Wallace, The New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564–1860 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957). Peggy and Harold Samuels, The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976); Ron Tyler, Audubon's Great National Work: The Royal Octavo Edition of The Birds of America (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993). Ben W. Huseman


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article. Ben W. Huseman, "AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed April 17, 2011. Published by the Texas State Historical Association. report an error

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John Woodhouse Audubon's Timeline

November 30, 1812
Henderson, KY, USA
June 30, 1838
Age 25
October 30, 1839
Age 26
August 18, 1842
Age 29
August 19, 1843
Age 30
July 18, 1845
Age 32
April 8, 1847
Age 34
February 18, 1849
Age 36