Audubon’s Sciurus Niger

Audubon’s “sciurus niger” from Haverford’s copy of his The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845)
Audubon’s “sciurus niger” from Haverford’s copy of his The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845)

This image of two playful black squirrels comes from Haverford College Library’s copy of the massive “elephant folio” of John Audubon’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845). This copy was given to the college in 1846 by Daniel B. Smith, a local pharmacist (he had in 1821 helped establish the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy). In 1834 he started teaching at Haverford College, where over the next decade or so he taught moral philosophy, English literature, and chemistry.[1]

This copy of John Audubon’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845) was given to Haverford by then administrator Daniel B. Smith.
This copy of John Audubon’s The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845) was given to Haverford by then administrator Daniel B. Smith.

Haverford has a special relationship with the sciurus niger. They are commonly seen rummaging from trashcans on campus, are affectionately called the “black squirrels of death,” and grace the college’s athletic logos.

A rather annoyed looking black squirrel hugs the H in Haverford’s athletic logos.
A rather annoyed looking black squirrel hugs the H in Haverford’s athletic logos.

  1. His teaching laughs at our paltry and tepid gestures towards an interdisciplinary curriculum, or he was a dilettante of the highest degree.  ↩