Drawings by Dick Smith

Dick Smith is a major figure in the history of the relationship between California condors and humans. Among his contributions are some excellent drawings, 8 of which are presented here.

The 6 drawings below tell of the history of the California condor. These drawings are from California Condor: Vanishing American, written by Smith and Robert Easton, and published in 1964 by McNally and Loftin.

01 Smith 1964

02 Smith 1964

03 Smith 1964

04 Smith 1964

05 Smith 1964

06 Smith 1964

The image above of the balance scale shows how the quills of California condor feathers were used by miners to store gold dust. The image of the condor and the rocket refers to the launch site within the condor’s habitat.

I have not found an explicit statement in California Condor: Vanishing American that Smith was responsible for the drawings above. However, the drawings are all signed “Dick” and an advertisement for the book in the New York Times (4 December 1964) notes that “illustrations by Dick Smith complement the text”.

The last 2 drawings are from Smith’s Condor Journal: The History, Mythology, and Reality of the California Condor, published in 1978 by Capra.

07 Smith 1978

08 Smith 1978

The text of Condor Journal also lacks an explicit statement that Smith drew the artwork and these are both unsigned. But as this book is presented as a revised and updated version of his 1964 book, I expect these drawings are also by Smith.

For more of Dick Smith’s artwork, see the previous posts Black & white illustrations from books: 1958-1988, Feathers, and Pictorial maps. For more books about the California condor, see the post Essential books.