University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Illustrations for The Fishes of Illinois: painting, 1892-1913

Watercolor illustrations of Illinois Fishes representing species. The paintings were created over two decades by multiple artists, and most were used as illustrations in Forbes, S.A. and R.E. Richardson The Fishes of Illinois Urbana: Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History, 1908, and the 2nd edition of the same work which was published in 1919. In the Biennial Report of the Director for 1899-1900 (p. 7-8) Stephen A. Forbes included an account of Lydia Moore Hart beginning work on illustrations for the book in the summer of 1900, drawing from live specimens in an aquarium set up for that purpose at the State Laboratory’s field station in Meredosia, Illinois.

Of the 100 paintings, 73 were published in at least one of the two editions of The Fishes of Illinois. Lydia M. (Hart) Green and Charlotte M. Pinkerton alone are credited for the illustrations in the introduction written by Forbes. Of the 100 paintings in the collection, 46 are attributed to Lydia Moore (Hart) Green, 29 to Charlotte M. Pinkerton, 5 to Max Bihn, 1 to A. H. Baldwin, 1 to Wallace Craig. The artist is not known for the remaining paintings. Of the fish illustrations that were published in The Fishes of Illinois, 38 are identified as Green’s in the INHS editor’s image database, 24 as Pinkerton’s, and 1 as Bihn’s. Note that there is not always corroborating evidence on the originals for the artist or creation date recorded in the INHS editor’s image database, which had been transcribed from an index card file still in the possession of INHS in the 1980s-1990s.

Notations on the paintings consistently include the the ID number from the INHS editor’s image collection database. Other notations vary, but may include whether and where the image was published, artist name (usually on the back in pencil when present), the reference number of the species in Jordan, D.S. et al (1896-1900) The fishes of North and Middle America. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum no. 47.

Forbes, S. A. and R. E. Richardson. The Fishes of Illinois. Urbana: Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History, 1908. and online in the Biodiversity Heritage library

Forbes, S. A. and R. E. Richardson. The Fishes of Illinois, 2nd edition. Urbana, IL: Illinois Natural History Survey, 1919. and online in the Biodiversity Heritage Library
Items were donated to the University Library from the Illinois Natural History Survey’s Editors image collection.

A printed finding aid with species name, ID numbers and additional documentation is housed with the physical items