Dartmouth Medicine HomeCurrent IssueAbout UsContact UsSearchPodcasts

Vital Signs:
Bird-Watching at DHMC

When Laurance Rockefeller died at age 94 in July, he merited a full-page obituary in the New York Times. It described his illustrious family (including his late brother Nelson, a 1930 graduate of Dartmouth College and vice president under Gerald Ford). It noted Laurance's successful career in finance. And it detailed the philanthropic causes to which he was devoted— including conservation and ecology.

What the Times didn't mention was an especially creative gift that he made to DHMC upon the opening of its Lebanon campus in 1991: 47 framed Audubon prints of birds of North America. It wasn't the gift's size that set it apart—Rockefeller and his wife, Mary, gave large sums to any number of causes, including others at Dartmouth. It was its inventiveness. The new building's soaring spaces and wooded setting were a perfect foil for the striking images—a yellow-crowned heron, a white ibis, a barred eagle. And the gift grafted the Rockefellers' concern for nature and love for art onto their interest in the Upper Valley—where Mary Rockefeller had deep family roots on land that is now the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park.

Thousands of patients, visitors, and staff walk past DHMC's Audubon prints every day, but probably few realize that they're the real thing—the work of noted naturalist John James Audubon himself. Or that they're there to be enjoyed by all thanks to the generosity of another noted nature lover. A.S.

If you would like to offer any feedback about this article, we would welcome getting your comments at DartMed@Dartmouth.edu.

Back to Table of Contents

Dartmouth Medical SchoolDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College