ALLAN BROOKSCanadian, 1869-1946
Allan Cyril Brooks is ranked among the world’s finest bird artists. Born in India, and educated in England, Brooks emigrated with his family to Canada in 1881. His father, W. E. Brooks, was an amateur ornithologist who gave his son bird skins to play with rather than teddy bears. Allan displayed an early talent as an artist. As a young man he also began a life-long career of hunting and trapping, collecting specimens for museums, and also using the collected skins as studio models. Brooks dedicated his life to the study and discovery of North American wildlife. His name was widely known in Canada in the 1930s for his illustrations in Taverner’s Birds of Western Canada, a series in the National Geographic magazine, calendars, cards issued by the National Association of Audubon Societies, and for his covers for the Keystone school exercise books which familiarized Canadian children and adults with North American birds and mammals. His articles and illustrations were also published in several prominent Ornithology magazines and books. Canadian Heritage proclaimed him a person of Canadian Historical Importance in 2000. Upon his death in 1946, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California in Berkeley, bought his collection of over 8,000 items representing every bird found in North America.