Levi Fisher Ames (1843-1923), a Wisconsin folk artist. A Civil War soldier, musician, carpenter, maker of musical instruments, prolific woodcarver, and animated storyteller, Ames hand carved a menagerie of over 600 domestic, wild, and mythical animals. Carefully encasing each in a glass-fronted folding box and branding his initials into the top of each box. Hinged in the center, they open like a book to reveal the creatures inside.
In addition to the animals, he also carved beautiful walking sticks, small tools and experimental items such as wooden chains.
Levi Fisher Ames firmly believed that his body of work needed to be seen as a comprehensive group in order to be understood and fully appreciated. For this reason, he kept the carvings together, never selling any of them. Ames' work was kept as a collection by his family and was gifted to the permanent collection at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan Wisconsin.