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
"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
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
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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©The Philadelphia Print Shop Last updated January 21, 2021