ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)— You've probably heard the name Audubon as in the Audubon Society. But, Audubon is also the name of a famous man whose exploits have ties to St. Louis.
"St. Louis of course was the jumping off point for the west and anybody headed west came through here but in the 1830's and 40's there literally was a parade of different artists who came through St. Louis and headed up the Missouri river usually for the Rocky Mountains and did just gorgeous artwork in an age when there wasn't any photography." said Dr. Robert Archibald.
The best of them all was John James Audubon. he was a French-American whose career included a stint in Missouri's favorite French town.
"Saint Genevieve was basically kind of a general store business, dry goods and he kind of gave that up realizing his forte was art." said Dr. Robert Archibald.
His most critical success was his book Birds of North America. But he also created a book four footed creatures as well.
"He wasn't simply an illustrator. He was also doing his own research on birds and his depictions of birds were accurate enough that scientists could literally classify the animal based on Audubon's rendering of it." said Dr. Robert Archibald.
Audubon had no connection to the wildlife organization that bears his name. It is a name that still bears a cache. Last year, one of the few privately owned copies of Birds of North America sold at auction for 11.5 million dollars. That's the most ever paid at an auction for a single book.