Fuertes, Louis Agassiz, 1874-1927

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Artist, naturalist.

From the description of Louis Agassiz Fuertes exhibit items, 1982-1983. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 74897982

From the description of Louis Agassiz Fuertes pencil drawing, [ca.1900]. (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 77010685

Louis Agassiz Fuertes was an ornithologist and a painter of birds. He was a resident lecturer at Cornell University for several years.

From the description of Louis Agassiz Fuertes papers, 1892-1954, 1892-1927 (bulk). (Cornell University Library). WorldCat record id: 64071663

FUERTES, LOUIS AGASSIZ (Feb. 7, 1874-Aug. 22, 1927), artist-naturalist, was born at Ithaca, N.Y. His father, Estevan Antonio Fuertes, was a descendant of a prominent Spanish family. His mother, Mary Stone Perry Fuertes, of Dutch and English ancestry, was born in Troy, N.Y. His talent in drawing and his love of birds began to show at an early age and developed without particular encouragement from parents or friends. By the time he was eight or nine years old he had definitely focused his attention upon painting birds, and when he was fourteen, according to an autobiographical sketch, his career was definitely settled. He received his education in the public schools of Ithaca, N.Y., then in 1892 accompanied his parents to Europe and spent the year in a preparatory school in Zurich, Switzerland. On his return he entered Cornell University and was graduated with the class of 1897. In 1894, while on a glee club trip to Washington, D.C., he met Elliott Coues and showed him some of his paintings. The encouragement which he received from the ornithologist was apparently a deciding factor in his career. Following his graduation from Cornell he spent a year studying with Abbott H. Thayer, which improved his technique very materially, and with him and his son, Gerald Thayer, he went to Florida in the spring of 1898 . This was the first of a series of expeditions which widened his knowledge of the birds of North America. In 1899 he went to Alaska with the famed Harriman expedition, and two years later be visited western Texas and New Mexico with a party from the United States Biological Survey. With Dr. F.M. Chapman, curator of birds at the American Museum in New York City, between 1902 and 1913 he visited the Bahamas, the Pacific Coast, the prairies of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Rockies, the Cuthbert Rookery in Florida, Yucatan and eastern Mexico, and Colombia, South America. In addition to these expeditions Fuertes visited Jamaica on his wedding journey in 1904; the Magdalen Islands and Bird Rock in 1909 with Leonard Cutler Sanford; and after a dozen years spent mostly in his studio at Ithaca, in 1926-27 he made an expedition to little-known parts of Abyssinia with Dr. Wilfred H. Osgood for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. From 1923 to 1927 he was lecturer in ornithology at Cornell University.

Fuertes was a tireless worker in the field and never lost an opportunity to add to his collection of birds or sketches. At the time of his death he left a collection of some 3,500 beautifully prepared bird skins and over a thousand field and studio sketches of more than 400 different kinds of birds. His greatest collection, however, was the series of mental images of each bird which seemed to be indelibly impressed upon his mind with all the accuracy of a photographic plate. When examining a bird, his concentration was supreme; he was oblivious to everything about him; and during these moments, apparently, details of pose and expression were so fixed in his mind that years afterwards he could reproduce them with his pencil and brush without the slightest hesitation. His paintings, which illustrate most of the leading bird books published between 1896 and 1927, are characterized by a beauty of draftsmanship and a devotion to truth which are manifested not only in the accuracy of every detail of plumage and form, but in the perfection attained in reproducing the characteristic attitudes and expressions of each species. On June 2, 1904, Fuertes was married to Margaret F. Sumner of Ithaca, by whom he had two children. He was killed in a grade-crossing accident in 1927.

[Biographical Note written by Arthur A. Allen and taken from The Dictionary of American Biography, vol. VII (Charles Scribner's Sons: New York, 1931), p.53.]

From the guide to the Louis Agassiz Fuertes papers, 1892-1954, 1892-1927 (bulk), (Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Harriman Alaska Expedition collection, 2002. Cornell University Library
referencedIn George Sarton additional papers, 1901-1956. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Williams, Keith Shaw, 1905-1951. Keith Shaw Williams papers, 1920-1950. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Cornell University. Laboratory of Ornithology. Laboratory of Ornithology records, 1979-1985. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Fuertes, Louis Agassiz, 1874-1927. Louis Agassiz Fuertes papers, 1892-1954, 1892-1927 (bulk). Cornell University Library
creatorOf Blauvelt, Helen. Birds. Amherst College Library
referencedIn Allen, Arthur A. (Arthur Augustus), 1885-1964. Arthur A. Allen papers, 1899-1968, 1899-1964 (bulk). Cornell University Library
creatorOf Thayer, Abbott Handerson, 1849-1921. Abbott Handerson Thayer and Thayer family papers, 1851-1999, bulk 1881-1950. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
referencedIn Butcher, Gregory S. History of ornithology at Cornell University, 1995. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Levy, Benjamin, Franklin, 1875-1947. Benjamin Franklin Levy papers, 1907-1924. Cornell University Library
referencedIn A. K. Fisher Papers, 1827-1957, (bulk 1867-1948) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Davidson, Harriett Mathilda, 1911-. Harriett Mathilda Davidson ornithology notebooks, [ca. 1931]. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Fisher, A. K. (Albert Kenrick), 1856-1948. A.K. Fisher papers, 1827-1957 (bulk 1867-1948). Library of Congress
creatorOf Collection of Louis Agassiz Fuertes, Bird Paintings, 1957 United States. National Archives and Records Administration
creatorOf Palmer, Katherine V. W. (Katherine Van Winkle), 1895-1982,. Louis Agassiz Fuertes drawings, [ca.1900-1927]. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Arthur A. Allen papers, 1899-1968, 1899-1964(bulk). Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Cornell University Press. Cornell University Press and Comstock Publishing Company records, [ca. 1880-1935]. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Harriman Alaska Expedition (1899). Arctic field photographs, 1899. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Cayuga Bird Club records, 1913-1997 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Anderson, Martha Lee. [Culinary ephemera : flour products]. Box 8. University of Michigan, William Clements Library
referencedIn Wright, Albert Hazen, 1879-1970. Albert Hazen Wright papers, 1820-1960. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Fuertes, Louis Agassiz, 1874-1927. Louis Agassiz Fuertes exhibit items, 1982-1983. Cornell University Library
referencedIn New York Zoological Park. Office of the Director and General Curator. Records 1895-1940. Wildlife Conservation Society Library, Bronx Zoo Library
referencedIn Ludlow Griscom papers, 1922-1961. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Lavallard, Marie Froelich. Marie Lavallard papers, 1928-2005. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Ruth Seely Berry McDonald papers, 1850-1959, 1936-1959 (bulk) Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
creatorOf Louis Agassiz Fuertes papers, 1892-1954, 1892-1927 (bulk) Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Abbott Handerson Thayer and Thayer Family papers, 1851-1999 (bulk 1881-1950) Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
creatorOf Fuertes, Louis Agassiz, 1874-1927. Louis Agassiz Fuertes pencil drawing, [ca.1900]. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Massachusetts Audubon Society. Audubon charts, 1898, 1912. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Schorger, Margaret,. Autograph letters, 1923-1934. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Smith, Susie May. Susie May Smith oral history, 1985. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Cayuga Bird Club. Cayuga Bird Club records, 1913-1997. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Fuertes, Louis Agassiz, 1874-1927. Artist file. Brooklyn Museum Libraries & Archives
referencedIn Griscom, Ludlow, 1890-1959. Ludlow Griscom papers, 1922-1961. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Marcham, Frederick George, 1898-1992. Louis Agassiz Fuertes and the singular beauty of birds papers, 1964-1970. Cornell University Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Massachusetts. Office of the Secretary of State. Paintings from: Birds of Massachusetts and other New England states, 1921-1929 [art original]. Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Archives
creatorOf Fuertes, Louis Agassiz, 1874-1927. Letter, 1924 Nov. 7, Ithaca, N.Y. to H.G. Rugg. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Cornell University. Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. Louis Agassiz Fuertes Artwork Project records, 1982-1983. Cornell University Library
referencedIn McDonald, Ruth Seely Berry, 1913-. Ruth Seely Berry McDonald papers, 1850-1959, 1936-1959 (bulk). Cornell University Library
creatorOf Bickmore, Albert S. (Albert Smith), 1839-1914. Papers, 1854-1914 (bulk 1865-1903). American Museum of Natural History
referencedIn Ostman, Rae Ellen M. Journey of a totem pole from Cape Fox, Alaska to Cornell University, 1994. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Fuertes, Louis Agassiz, 1874-1927. Notes on Abyssinian trip : typescript, [1927?] / by Louis A. Fuertes. University of South Carolina, University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Arthur A. (Arthur Augustus), 1885-1964. person
associatedWith Arthur A.(Arthur Augustus), Allen 1885-1964. person
associatedWith Bickmore, Albert S. (Albert Smith), 1839-1914. person
associatedWith Bishop, Richard E person
associatedWith Bishop, Richard E. (Richard Evett), 1887-1975. person
associatedWith Boynton, Mary Fuertes person
associatedWith Boynton, Mary Fuertes, 1908-1988. person
associatedWith Brandreth, Courtenay. person
associatedWith Brandreth, Courtnay person
associatedWith Butcher, Gregory S. person
associatedWith Cayuga Bird Club. corporateBody
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Chapman, Frank M. person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Cornell university corporateBody
associatedWith Cornell University. Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. corporateBody
associatedWith Cornell University. Laboratory of Ornithology. corporateBody
associatedWith Cornell University Press. corporateBody
associatedWith Coues, Elliott, 1842-1899. person
associatedWith Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952. person
associatedWith Davidson, Harriett Mathilda, 1911- person
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Field Museum of Natural History. corporateBody
correspondedWith Fisher, A. K. (Albert Kenrick), 1856-1948. person
associatedWith Forbush, Edward Howe, 1858-1929. person
associatedWith Forbush, E. H. person
childOf Fuertes, E. A. (Estevan Antonio), 1838-1903. person
associatedWith Griscom, Ludlow, 1890-1959. person
associatedWith Harriman Alaska Expedition (1899) corporateBody
associatedWith Harriman, Edward Henry, 1848-1909. person
associatedWith Lavallard, Marie Froelich. person
associatedWith Levy, Benjamin, Franklin, 1875-1947. person
associatedWith Marcham, Frederick George, 1898-1992. person
associatedWith Massachusetts Audubon Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Massachusetts. Office of the Secretary of State. corporateBody
associatedWith McDonald, Ruth Seely Berry, 1913- person
associatedWith Merriam, C. Hart (Clinton Hart), 1855-1942. person
associatedWith New York Zoological Park. Office of the Director and General Curator. corporateBody
associatedWith Ostman, Rae Ellen M. person
associatedWith Palmer, Katherine V. W. (Katherine Van Winkle), 1895-1982, person
associatedWith Rugg, Harold Goddard, 1883-1957. person
associatedWith Ruth Seely Berry, McDonald 1913- person
correspondedWith Sarton, George, 1884-1956 person
associatedWith Savage Club (Ithaca, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Schorger, Margaret, person
associatedWith Smith, Susie May. person
associatedWith Stone, Whitmer person
associatedWith Stone, Whitmer. person
associatedWith Sutton, George Miksch, 1898-1982. person
associatedWith Thayer, Abbott Handerson, 1849-1921. person
associatedWith Van Loon, Hendrik Willem, 1882-1944. person
associatedWith Williams, Keith Shaw, 1905-1951. person
associatedWith Wright, Albert Hazen, 1879-1970. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Ethiopia
Alaska
Subject
Ornithology--Study and teaching
Ornithologists
Ornithology
Bookplates--Collectors and collecting
Birds
Birds in art
Mammals
Natural history
Artists
Occupation
Ornithologists
Artists
Function

Person

Birth 1874-02-07

Death 1927-08-22

Americans

English

Information

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