RIPLEY, Sidney Dillon (1913-2001). Rails of the World: A Monograph of the Family Rallidae... and a Chapter on Fossil Species by Storrs L. Olson. Boston: David R. Godine, 1977
Folio (14 x 10 inches). Fine lithograph of of a Rail numbered 193/400 and signed by the artist J.Fenwick Lansdowne lower left, loosely inserted as issued. Illustrated with 41 colour plates after Landsdowne and regional maps. Original publisher's half red morocco, natural linen, gilt; preserved in original morocco trimmed natural linen slipcase.
Limited edition, number 193 of 400 copies signed by author and artist of a total edition of 420 copies. Ripley's interest in the birds of Southeast Asia when he joined the 1937-1938 Denison-Crocket expedition to New Guinea and the 1939 Vanderbilt Expedition to Sumatra, which resulted in a dissertation entitled "The Bird Fauna of the West Sumatra Islands: A Study in Speciation."
Aware "of the growing tensions in Southeast Asia, in 1942 Ripley moved to Washington, D.C., serving briefly as assistant curator at the Smithsonian's U.S. National Museum, before joining the Office of Strategic Services led by William Donovan. Stationed in Ceylon Ripley served as liaison to Admiral Louis Mountbatten of the Southeast Asia Command. His OSS roommate, Paul Child, introduced Ripley to his fiancée, Julia McWilliams, and her roommate, Mary Moncrieffe Livingston, whom Ripley married in 1949. They had three daughters.
"After World War II Ripley joined the faculty at Yale, serving as assistant, associate, and full professor of biology, and also as director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Ripley enlivened the staid museum with dramatic exhibits and daring events, including a King Tut exhibit opening replete with belly dancers. Ripley continued exploring Southeast Asian birds with his wife, who developed expertise in botany and entomology, and his longtime collaborator, Dr. Sálim Ali of India. Ali and Ripley were considered the world's experts on birds of the Indian subcontinent, based on their 1961 Synopsis of the Birds of India and Pakistan. Their Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan, published in twelve volumes from 1968 to 1974, was their best known systematic work. Ripley's definitive monograph, Rails of the World (1977), was noted for the beauty of its illustrations by J. Fenwick Lansdowne.
"In 1963 Ripley was recruited to become the eighth secretary (or chief operating officer) of the Smithsonian Institution. He led the Institution from 1964 to 1984, overseeing its greatest period of growth. Museums established during his tenure included the Anacostia Community Museum, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of African Art, National Portrait Gallery, National Postal Museum, Renwick Gallery, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and Cooper-Hewitt, the National Design Museum in New York" (Pamela M. Henson for ANB).