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Announcing the release of American Eagle: A Visual History of Our National Emblem and the Preston Cook Collection at the National Eagle Center.

On the banks of the Mississippi River on an eagle flyway in beautiful Wabasha, Minnesota, a massive tribute to an American icon is underway. The Preston Cook Collection of twenty-five thousand eagle objects will be housed and displayed in a major expansion currently underway at the National Eagle Center. In addition, American Eagle: A Visual History of Our National Emblem has just been released, showcasing for audiences worldwide a sampling of this magnificent collection.

“Outstanding.” — Collectors Journal

“Lushly illustrated.” — Minnesota History

“Spectacular.” — Open Letters Review

“Eloquent expressions of a national symbol.” — American Spirit Magazine

“Impressive.” — Ephemera Journal

We are now posting items from the collection on Instagram! Follow us @TheAmericanEagleCollection!


A bold expression of a fledgling republic’s aspirations and bravado, the American bald eagle has been designed, drawn, illustrated, stamped, engraved, painted, sculpted, carved, photographed, and etched by thousands of artists and artisans since 1782, when it first appeared as the central figure on the Great Seal of the United States. As America’s most versatile emblem, the eagle emanates confidence during peace and prosperity, and strength during crisis and war; as a North American native species it exemplifies nature’s grandeur and the advance of conservation. In all, the bald eagle is a stirring national symbol.

For fifty years Preston Cook has devoted his time to all things American eagle. He has amassed and meticulously organized a collection of more than twenty-five thousand eagle objects — from kitsch to fine art, from the everyday to the rare — that reflect American life from the American Revolution to the present. Cook’s collection has been donated to the nonprofit National Eagle Center and its museum, currently under development, that will house the collection.

Great Seal of the United States aluminum plaque, from the Preston Cook Collection. The Great Seal of the United States, with the eagle at its center, was introduced in 1782 and became a symbol for a nation.

Great Seal of the United States aluminum plaque, from the Preston Cook Collection. The Great Seal of the United States, with the eagle at its center, was introduced in 1782 and became a symbol for a nation.

American Eagle: A Visual History of Our National Emblem will take the reader on a wide-ranging tour of American history, chronicling the bald eagle from the American Revolution to the present and highlighting the extraordinary diversity of American sentiments, tastes, and beliefs along the way. This sumptuous full-color presentation of more than thirteen hundred fascinating objects from Preston’s collection is now available.


 
 

 

Images from: Eagles Over the Water: A Preview of the National Eagle Center’s Collection of Eagles in American Culture, Minnesota Marine Art Museum, June - October 2018. Photographs by Blake Darst.