Harold Jones, of Manlius, stands near some prints on display for the Audubon collection at the Manlius Library. A celebration signifying the completion of the 135-print collection will be held on Saturday, Oct. 14. (Hayleigh Gowans)
By Hayleigh Gowans
On Oct. 14 at the Manlius Library, patrons are invited to view an extensive collection of John James Audubon prints and related works that have been curated and donated to be on display by a fellow patron.
The 135-piece collection, which includes some unique and rare pieces, was donated by Manlius residents Harold and Barbara Jones. Since the first picture was placed in the library, Jones has carefully curated and searched for pieces to add to the collection, and on Oct. 14 it will finally come to fruition with an all-day celebration at the library.
When Harold Jones retired as a professor of Spanish at Syracuse University seven years ago, he said felt he wanted to take on projects that will help him give back his community. Making the tie to Manlius and the importance placed on the mute-swans Manny and Faye at the swan pond, Jones said he reached out to the Manlius Library to see if they would be interested in a donation of an Audubon swan print.
The director and trustees approved the gallery and in 2015 when the library celebrated their centennial, an 18-piece collection donated by the Jones’ was unveiled. The gallery has been added to since then, and on Oct. 14 it will include 135 pieces.
John James Audubon is a 19th century ornithologist and artist who is famously known for producing the art in “Birds of America,” a color-plate collection of 435 birds throughout the United States depicted in their natural habitat. Other associated artists and naturalists with work on display in the collection at the Manlius Library include Robert Havell, John and Elizabeth Gould, Priscilla Susan Bury and Salvador Dali.
Jones said he wanted there to be a local focus to the collection, so the Audubon prints on display are of birds that are native to the Central New York area. The prints are hung on the wall and pillars throughout the adult section of the library, and there is also a display case that shows different editions of books of art produced based on Audubon works.
“What my goal is, is to educate through beauty,” said Jones. “It’s extremely satisfying to see something grow from a kernel of an idea to where it is now … I hope that the public becomes aware of this resource and is able to use it.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14, the Manlius Library will celebrate the completion of the gallery with an Audubon Day, which will have programs for all ages, including story times, nut-free bird feeder crafts, bird-themed games and puzzles, presentations about birding, representative from the Onondaga Audubon Society and a wild bird program with Kindred Kingdoms of Pennellville in the village auditorium.
“We are humbled by Harold’s generosity, inspired by his infectious enthusiasm, and grateful for his friendship to the Manlius Library,” said Jennifer Milligan, library director. “This world-class gallery has turned our library into a regional attraction that we hope will be enjoyed by members of the local community for many years.”
A catalogue for the collection is being produced at the library, and the collection is free for public viewing during library hours.
For more information go to manliuslibrary.org.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.