Alexander Wilson (ornithologist)
|Born||July 6, 1766|
|Died||August 23, 1813 (aged 47)|
Alexander Wilson (July 6, 1766 – August 23, 1813) was a
Wilson was born in
While working as a weaver in Paisley, Wilson became seriously interested in poetry. He was inspired by the dialect verse of
In addition to ballads and pastoral pieces, Wilson wrote satirical commentary on the conditions of weavers in the mills. His authorship of a satirical poem with severe personal statements about a mill owner resulted in Wilson's arrest. The work was publicly burned, and Wilson was sentenced to imprisonment. After his release, Wilson emigrated to America.
With a nephew, Wilson left Scotland in May 1794 at the age of 27, and settled in Pennsylvania. Opportunities were scarce for weavers in the Philadelphia area, and Wilson turned to teaching.
Wilson taught at the
Eventually, Wilson settled into a position at
Resolved to publish a collection of illustrations of all the birds of North America, Wilson traveled widely, collecting and painting. He also secured subscribers to fund his work, the nine-volume American Ornithology (1808–1814). Of the 268 species of birds illustrated in its pages, 26 had not previously been described.
His death came before the completion of the ninth volume of American Ornithology, which was finished and published by Wilson's friend and patron