The first edition of The Fishes of Illinois was published in 1908 by the Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History, representing several decades’ work to document species, distributions, and ecology. The work features detailed, color paintings of fishes attributed to Lydia M. (Hart) Green and Charlotte M. Pinkerton. In the first edition were 55 images representing 53 species, with 20 images representing 18 additional species added for the 1920 second edition. Images were not credited to specific artists in either edition.
Most of the originals were kept by State Laboratory (now Illinois Natural History Survey), and are being reviewed in preparation for accession into the University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Artists have been identified for most color plates in the 2 editions: 33 by Green, 24 by Pinkerton. Three paintings bearing the name of Max Bihn (one published) were also found among the paintings long assumed to be the work of Green and Pinkerton alone. Green routinely applied a distinctive signature in ink to the front of her work.