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Guide to the Society of Iconophiles Print Collection
1895-1929
 PR 160

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on January 05, 2012
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

The Society of Iconophiles Print Collection spans the period from 1895 to 1929 and contains an almost complete set of the prints issued by the Society during its existence. Many duplicate prints and some explanatory material are included. The collection includes engravings (including aquatint and mezzotint), etchings, lithographs, and photogravures. The collection is divided into sixteen series after the Society's published print series: Twelve Engravings by Edwin D. French; Twelve Lithographs by C. F. W. Mielatz; Six Portraits Engraved by Francis S. King; Six Portraits, with Views, Engraved by Francis S. King; Ten Facsimiles of Early Engraved Views Reengraved by Sidney L. Smith; Two Portraits Engraved by Francis S. King; Eight Aquatints by C.F.W. Mielatz; Twelve Lithographs by Joseph Pennell; Twelve Engravings by W. M. Aikman, Frances S. King, and Sidney L. Smith; Picturesque New York: Twelve Photogravures from Monotypes by C. F. W. Mielatz; Six Etchings, from Photographs, by Sidney L. Smith; One Mezzotint by S. Arlent Edwards; Three Engravings of Statues by Francis S. King; Six Engravings by W. M. Aikman and Sidney L. Smith; Eight Engravings by W. M. Aikman and Sidney L. Smith; and Two Engravings Printed in Colors by Charles Furth.

The subjects shown in the prints follow the Society's stated purpose: all are views of New York City or portraits of New Yorkers. Early views of New York, either reengravings or prints after oil paintings, abound. These generally show important early New York landmarks or buildings, such as the Morris-Jumel House, City Hall, Fraunces Tavern, the Tontine Coffee House, St. Paul's Chapel and other churches, and the Battery. Waterfront scenes and buildings, as well as views of the cityscape from Brooklyn and New Jersey, are common. Contemporary scenes of New York show some of these same buildings, as well as those more recently built. Views of lower Manhattan prevail, although a few early twentieth century views show Union Square, Times Square, and several points in between.

Portraits include early American engravers, such as Alexander Anderson and Paul Revere; politicians and military leaders like DeWitt Clinton, George Washington, William Tecumseh Sherman, and General Lafayette; and poets Fitz-Greene Halleck and Joseph Rodman Drake.

Artists commissioned by the Society of Iconophiles were Edwin Davis French and Sidney L. Smith, bookplate artists who were favorites of the Grolier Club members; printmakers Francis Scott King, Charles Frederick William Mielatz, and Walter M. Aikman; and the celebrated lithographer and illustrator Joseph Pennell.

Series titles were taken from A List of Engravings Issued by the Society of Iconophiles, 1895-1925. This and several other catalogs can be found in the front of Box 1. Prospectus about the launch of a new series or a specific print from a series are filed at the end of each series' prints. Print titles and dates were transcribed from the letterpress-printed wrappers issued to hold each set of prints.

Some series contain prints made from cancelled plates or proofs from the series; as described above, these proofs were issued only to the ten Active Members of the Society. Almost all prints are enclosed in individual folders or are foldered together by series. Provenance information is generally listed in pencil on the verso or the bottom right corner of each print. Prints are listed individually in the box listing, with notation as to the number of copies held; no notation indicates one copy. Several prints from a few series were lacking at the time of cataloging; these prints may not have ever been held by the New-York Historical Society, but are listed in brackets in the box listing in order to show a complete series list.

Arrangement

Organized in sixteen series, after the series of prints published by the Society of Iconophiles.

  1. Series I. Twelve Engravings by Edwin D. French
  2. Series II. Twelve Lithographs by C. F. W. Mielatz
  3. Series III. Six Portraits Engraved by Francis S. King
  4. Series IV. Six Portraits, with Views, Engraved by Francis S. King
  5. Series V. Ten Facsimiles of Early Engraved Views Reengraved by Sidney L. Smith
  6. Series VI. Two Portraits Engraved by Francis S. King
  7. Series VII. Eight Aquatints by C.F.W. Mielatz
  8. Series VIII. Twelve Lithographs by Joseph Pennell
  9. Series IX. Twelve Engravings by W. M. Aikman, Frances S. King, and Sidney L. Smith
  10. Series X. Picturesque New York: Twelve Photogravures from Monotypes by C. F. W. Mielatz
  11. Series XI. Six Etchings, from Photographs, by Sidney L. Smith
  12. Series XII. One Mezzotint by S. Arlent Edwards
  13. Series XIII. Three Engravings of Statues by Francis S. King
  14. Series XIV. Six Engravings by W. M. Aikman and Sidney L. Smith
  15. Series XV. Eight Engravings by W. M. Aikman and Sidney L. Smith
  16. Series XVI. Two Engravings Printed in Colors by Charles Furth