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Views of Pittsburgh

[ Reference book on views of Pittsburgh ]


Pittsburgh Penitentiary
Karl Bodmer. "Penitentiary Near Pittsburgh." From Travels In the Interior of North America in the Years 1832 to 1834. London: Ackermann and Company, 1843. Vignette ca. 7 1/2 x 10 3/4. Aquatint. Engraved by L. Weber. Printed by de Bougeard. Excellent condition. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 5.

Karl Bodmer, (1809-1893), is considered by many authorities to be the greatest 19th-century artist to have produced prints of the American west. Bodmer and his patron, Prince Maximilian of Wied, came to America from Germany in 1832. With Bodmer in charge of the pictorial documentary, Prince Maximilian, an experienced and respected traveler and naturalist, set out to put together as complete a study as possible of the western territories of the United States. The result was the publication of Maximilian's journals in successive German, French, and English editions between 1839 and 1843, and with it, a picture atlas of eighty-one aquatint plates after paintings by Bodmer. This picture volume is now regarded as one of the most comprehensive and finest visual surveys of the western territories ever made. Soon after Prince Maximilian and Bodmer's arrival in the United States, the party toured the Eastern United States. As the prince collected biological specimens, Bodmer would illustrate the countryside and occasionally, the specimens themselves. This is Bodmer's image of the penitentiary at Pittsburgh. $925
GoGo to page with listing of other Bodmer prints

Pittsburg, From the Northwest
Sherman Day. "Pittsburg, From The Northwest." From Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: George W. Gorton 1843. 3 1/4 x 6 5/8. Wood engraving. Very good condition. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 11.

During the middle of the nineteenth century, Pennsylvania's economy experienced new, state-wide growth, sparking new interest in previously lesser-known areas of the state. Prompting travel to new communities, this economic growth also sparked publication of new books to satisfy curiosity about all parts of Pennsylvania. One of the most important such works, Sherman Day's Historical Collections is noted for its individual county histories, well-illustrated with charming wood-engravings, including this wonderful scene of Pittsburgh. The scene is the first print to emphasize Pittsburgh's industry. The city is shown from a viewpoint on the south bank of the Ohio River below the Point. Good detail of the terrain, bridges, and buildings is included, but the most noticeable features are the dark columns of smoke spewing forth from Pittsburgh's many smokestacks. This emphasis was quite intentional, for Day was purposely promoting Pennsylvania's industry. He gave these instructions to the engraver, "Please give to the smoke [of Pittsburgh] a graceful easy appearance. The buildings in the foreground are very dark being constantly exposed to smoke." $60

Burning of St. Paul's
"Burning of St. Paul's Cathedral, Pittsburgh." From Gleason's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion. Boston, June 14, 1851. Wood engraving by Worcester & Pierce. Ca. 8 x 10. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 39.

An early view of Pittsburgh, the first to appear in a national illustrated newspaper. St. Paul's was built in 1829 and was the city's only cathedral. When it caught fire in 1851, attempts to control the blaze failed due to the primitive firefighting equipment and also, according to Gleason's Pictorial, "a brisk breeze which was blowing at the time, and the extreme height of the structure, it being situated on an eminence of twenty feet above the level of the street." This latter, curious fact, was the result of the cathedral being built at Grant Street and Fifth Avenue on one of the small hills scattered about the downtown area. This height increased as the streets around Grant's Hill were graded in 1836 and 1847, leaving the cathedral perched high above street level. $50

After J.W. Kerr. "Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh." Frontispiece issued in Western Pennsylvania Hospital Annual Report of the Managers…For the Years 1852 and 1853-4. Pittsburgh, 1854. Lithograph by William Schuchman. 4 1/4 x 7 5/8. i: 50.

The Western Pennsylvania Hospital was founded in 1848 as Pittsburgh's first chartered, public hospital. This image was based on the architectural plans for the building by J.W. Kerr, showing the building which opened 1853. This print was first issued by Schuchman and Haunlein in 1851 and reused here for the hospital's first annual report. With complete report. $60

"Beaver Heights. (Near Pittsburgh on the Ohio River.)" From The Ladies' Repository: A Monthly Periodical, Devoted To Literature and Religion. Cincinnati: May 1854. Octavo. Steel engraving. Very good condition.

Another view of western Pennsylvania from Ladies' Repository. This one was issued a year after the Pittsburgh print (cf. above) and it shows the Beaver River near to where it runs into the Ohio River. $110

After J.W. Kerr. "Western Pennsylvania Hospital For The Insane." Frontispiece for Western Pennsylvania Hospital. Annual Report of the Managers ... for 1859. Pittsburgh: W.S. Hayes, 1860. Lithograph by A. Krebs & Bro. 3 5/8 x 7 3/8. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 85.

An image of the new "Dixmont" building of the Western Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, designed by J.W. Kerr. Construction on this building began in 1859 and was completed in 1862. Also included in this annual report is a "Ground Plan" for the hospital, though the plan does not contain text identifying the building or the lithographer. $55

Charles Stanley Reinhart. "Views about Pittsburg, Pennsylvania." From Harper's Weekly. New York, February 18, 1871. Wood engraving. Double page; 11 1/2 x 20 1/4. Very good condition. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 126.

Harper's Weekly remains one of the best sources for lively, informative images of 19th-century America. Each issue was filled with popular genre and detailed historical prints through which much of the country got its visual information about their world. Views of American cities were amongst the most popular of prints of the period, and this is a particularly nice example of that genre. It is a collage of images of Pittsburgh at a time great industrial growth and prosperity. The central image shows Pittsburgh from across the Allegheny River while the surrounding vignettes focus primarily on various industries, such as "Blowing Glass," "Melting Steel" and a "Coal flotilla on the Ohio River." $125

Theo. R. Davis. "The Pittsburg Flood." From Harper's Weekly. New York: August 14, 1874. Wood engraving. Double page; 12 3/4 x 20 1/2. Very good condition. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 149.

A three part image showing the great 1874 flood. Top third shows "The Upper Portion of Alleghany City, Showing Butcher's Run and Spring Garden Run." The bottom third includes two images: "The Flood in O'Hara Street," and "The Search For the Dead." $125

Birdseye View of Pittsburgh
"Birdseye View of Pittsburgh." 1877. Wood engraving. 4 x 6 1/2. Panorama of Pittsburgh: 269a.


Bear: Church
S. Lee Bear. (c. 1900-1971) "Trinity Cathedral." [Pittsburgh] 1951. 10 7/8 x 8 7/8. Etching. Signed in pencil. Signed and dated in plate. $350


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