People: Westward Expansion

John James Audubon was a member of the Hudson River School art movement. He was a naturalist specializing in painting the birds of America. As a young man, he travelled down the Ohio River to western Kentucky and set up a dry goods store. He was somewhat successful in business until hard times hit, and he was jailed for bankruptcy. He decided to continue his hobby of drawing birds as he floated down the Mississippi River. Through his observation of birds and nature, he became a conservationist. He illustrated a collection of 435 life size prints of America birds. Today the Audubon Society, founded by George Bird Grinnell, continues John James Audubon’s spirit of protecting birds and their habitats. John James Audubon’s illustrations and life story help to describe the spirit of young America.