Wilson was out to discover and document for the Western world, the birds of North America for his multi-volume book American Ornithology. He shared some of his paintings and asked Audubon to subscribe to his book. In his journals, Audubon says that he was about to subscribe when a friend pointed out that Audubon’s paintings were better. This encounter set him off on a 28 year project to document and publish his own work, which would become the double elephant folio Birds of America.
Transylvania’s copy of Audubon’s double elephant folio Birds of America was given to us in the 1980s by Clara Peck, an important rare book collector and heir to the Woolworth fortune. She lived in upstate New York, but also had a horse farm here in Lexington, Kentucky called Winganeek where she bred saddlebred horses. Because of her friendship with librarian Roemel Henry, part of her rare book collection was gifted to Transylvania.