LOUIS AGASSIZ FUERTES
Named for the naturalist and
Harvard University professor, Louis Agassiz, Louis Agassiz
Fuertes had an interest in nature from childhood when he was
inspired by John James Audubon's book, "Birds of America."
Reportedly he had an amazing ability to remember what he
observed, and then transfer that information to paper.
He was born in Ithaca, New York, and received his education in
the College of Architecture at Cornell University. However, he
avoided parental pressure to become an engineer, took art
instruction from Abbot Thayer and developed the artistic goal
of authentically depicting live birds.
He illustrated numerous books and articles including for
"National Geographic" and his three-volume "Birds of
Massachusetts." For years, children collected his bird cards
that were inserted in boxes of Arm & Hammer baking soda. He
traveled widely to broaden his knowledge of birds and their
habitat, and these travels took him to Mexico, Colombia,
Europe and Africa.
In 1899, he accompanied the Harriman Expedition to Alaska, a
group that traveled up the coast as far as Plover Bay in
Siberia. Sponsored by the railroad an mining magnate Edward
Harriman, the elaborately outfitted expedition included
well-know scientists such as John Burroughs and John Muir,
landscape artists Frederick Dellenbaugh and Robert Swain
Gifford, photographer Edward Curtis, and bird-painter, Louis