Wilson, Alexander

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Wilson, Alexander,

1766–1813, American ornithologist, b. Scotland. He came to the United States c.1794, taught in rural New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and became a citizen in 1804. Encouraged by William BartramBartram, William,
1739–1823, American naturalist, b. Philadelphia; son of John Bartram. He is known chiefly for his Travels (1791), in which he describes his journey (1773–77) through the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida and areas to the west.
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, he studied the birds of his adopted country, learned to portray them, and began his encyclopedic American Ornithology (9 vol., 1808–14), a work that is noted for its accuracy and sensitive draftsmanship. Wilson broke with earlier conventions, observing and describing birds in their habitats and naming birds according to the Linnaean binomial method; the beauty and accuracy of his depictions inspired Audubon and other later naturalists. The last two volumes of this series of books were completed by his friend and biographer (1829), the naturalist George Ord, after Wilson's death. In all, the books illustrated and described 264 birds, 48 of them previously unknown. Wilson is also known for his poems and essays on nature.


E. H. Burtt, Jr. and W. E. Davis, Jr., Alexander Wilson: The Scot Who Founded American Ornithology (2013).

Wilson, Alexander

(1766–1813) ornithologist; born in Paisley, Scotland. Raised in poverty, he supported himself as a weaver and peddler before emigrating to the U.S.A. in 1794. Settling in Philadelphia, he taught school and took up the study of birds. In 1808 he published the first volume of his American Ornithology, completing six more volumes over the next five years. His assistant completed the project after his death. Wilson also published two volumes of poetry, including a collection in the Scots dialect.
References in periodicals archive ?
Grosart's The Poems and Miscellaneous Prose of Alexander Wilson (1876).
The Life and letters of Alexander Wilson (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1983), p.
Alexander Wilson, The Culture of Nature: North American Landscape from Disney to the Exxon Valdez, Cambridge, Mass.
The star-studded event marks the launch of The Craig Alexander Wilson Foundation, a fund that will contribute to small charity projects in keeping with the spirit and values of our beloved Craig.
Alexander Wilson, 19, fell 40 feet into the sea as he tried to take a shortcut through a garden.
There's a Spring beauty masterclass organised by our expert Craig Alexander Wilson at Space NK in Glasgow on Thursday at 6pm, hosted by star Jean Johansson.
Drug addict Alexander Wilson admitted targetting OAPs, including an
Craig Alexander Wilson, of Virgin Spa, said: ``Our male clients have grown by 20 per cent since January, with the most popular treatment being massage.
The Sunday Mail's beauty expert Craig Alexander Wilson has been honoured at a top awards show.
12&13 Peek in your pad Celebrity make-up artist Craig Alexander Wilson shows us around his beautifully manicured Inverclyde home.
Alexander Wilson subjected Kim Meikle , 42, to a horrifying attack after she was sent to support him at his home in Quarriers Children's Village in Bridge of Weir, Renfrewshire.
Louise was joined on the judging panel by Young Scot chairman Alan Blackie; Bill Sadler, trustee of the Co-operative Foundation; young Scots Amber Dryden and Cassie McNally, Clyde 1 DJ and awards host Romeo and the Sunday Mail's Jim Wilson, Donna White and Craig Alexander Wilson.