Step back 300 years into the natural history of the Carolinas
You’re invited to step back 300 years into the natural history of the Carolinas at Catesby in the Carolinas, a double-venue exhibit co-hosted by the UofSC Libraries and McKissick Museum.
Opening March 24, the two exhibits comprise what may well be the most comprehensive and interpretive exhibition of Mark Catesby’s works ever displayed.
Library and museum patrons will see original 300-year-old etchings of Catesby’s famous birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, plants and more alongside preserved specimens and examples from the natural world.
Intrigued by the opportunity to document wildlife largely unknown to Europeans, Catesby (1683 - 1749) first set sail from England to the colonies in 1712 and again in 1722.
Catesby, a self-taught naturalist with no formal education, spent years trekking through present-day Virginia, Georgia, the Carolinas, West Indies and Bahamas, making sketches and taking notes on the animals, plants and environments he discovered.
After returning to England, Catesby spent nearly 20 years publishing The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. It was the first work to document the exotic species of birds, fish, animals, insects and plants of the Southeast and tropics, and would inspire naturalists including John James Audubon, who followed in Catesby's footsteps 100 years later.
University Libraries holds several copies of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, along with other Catesby works.
This exhibition is a collaboration by the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, McKissick Museum, the A. C. Moore Herbarium, the South Caroliniana Library and the Mark Catesby Centre.