Carlisle gift expands Auburn University Libraries’ natural history holdings

AUBURN – Helen and Dwight Carlisle of Tallassee recently donated a limited edition facsimile set of 67 illustrations by American-born naturalist and explorer William Bartram to the Auburn University Libraries.

Bartram produced the illustrations in the early 1770s to depict the plants and animals of the southeastern United States. The original illustrations are in the Natural History Museum, London. The set donated to the Auburn Libraries by the Carlisles is one of only 50 numbered sets produced for this edition.

“This generous gift from Helen and Dwight Carlisle distinguishes Auburn’s Libraries as the custodians of rare materials and a center for research on William Bartram,” said Dean of Libraries Bonnie MacEwan. “It is requested frequently and will be well used by Auburn students, faculty and scholars.”

Helen Carlisle owns the Carlisle Gallery in Auburn and Dwight serves on the Board of Trustees of Auburn University.

Dwayne Cox, head of Special Collections and Archives at Auburn University’s Ralph Brown Draughon Library, said the Carlisle gift complements the library’s first edition of “Bartram’s Travels,” as well as his department’s other holdings on natural history. Those holdings include “Audubon’s Birds of America”; a collection of “Curtis’s Botanical Magazine,” a rare scientific publication founded in 1788 by William Curtis; and color transparencies of Alabama insects drawn by the British naturalist Philip Henry Gosse during the 1830s.

Bartram began the drawings to persuade John Fothergill of London to sponsor his exploration of what he called “the Floridas” and “the western parts of Carolina and Georgia.” Beginning in 1773, Bartram spent more than three years traveling through this region, which includes present-day Alabama. During that time, he completed drawings and gathered notes for the book, “Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the extensive territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek confederacy, and the country of the Chactaws,” first published in 1791.

For more information, contact Dwayne Cox at coxdway@auburn.edu or at (334) 844-1707.

Contact: Donna Walker, (334) 844-1714 (walked1@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)