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Guide to the Graphic Arts Collection
circa 1700-circa 1950
  PR 22

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 29, 2022
The finding aid is written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series I. American Graphic Arts

Scope and Contents note

Fraktur illuminations are Pennsylvania Dutch birth and baptismal certificates, house blessings, and general spiritual texts. The 38 examples here are usually woodcut printed, decoratively inscribed, and colored with one, two or three colors. These were originally part of the Nadelman Folk Art Collection.

John Cox's Drawing Book is an instructional drawing book, with printed pictures for the aspiring artist to copy. This particular drawing book is assembled from pages from the fifth edition of the English educational volume, The Preceptor: containing a general course of education: wherein the first principles of polite learning are laid down in a way most suitable for trying the genius, and advancing the instruction of youth. . . (Dodsley, 1769.) The pages compiled here contain pictures of animals, busts, classical figures, landscapes, and natural history specimens.

Lesson Boards are wooden tablets used for instruction in school or home. Text is printed onto the wood or onto paper pasted over the surface. Several of the examples contain alphabets and reading instruction. Others show a picture of an animal with a simple story about it printed underneath. One has a bible verse. Each have content on front and reverse. Most are noted as "Infant School Cards," published by Munroe and Francis of Boston.

Wall Charts are 14 large charts (some are as large as 61 x 56 inches), dating from 1827 to 1878 and encompassing natural history, chemistry, the alphabet, genealogy, and economic subjects. Many may have been made as educational wall charts, including "Table No. 1 Universal Elements of the Planetary System," 1842; "A General View of the Animal Kingdom" by A. M. Redfield, 1857; and a "Chart of Organic Compounds," from 1866 and lithographed by Endicott & Company. Several charts track international price fluctuations in different commodity markets. These include "Fluctuations in Cold, Fair to Good Refining And White "A" Sugar From 1861 to 1868. . .," compiled by John C. Lloyd in 1868; "Table showing Fluctuations in Price of B.A. Hides and B.A. Middle Weights leather from 1854 to 1877 inclusive" by Geo. I. Plaisted, 1878; and "Table showing the Fluctuations of the [Price] of Buenos Ayres Hides and Buenos Ayres Middle Weights Hemlock sole leather from 1850 to 1861. . .," which was lithographed for a firm of hide brokers.

One chart, entitled "Al Fonetikon: A Perfect Alphabet of the English Language, Graphic and Typic…" (lithographed in Philadelphia in 1847) was designed by Andrew Comstock, a scholar of educational technique and author of multiple books about literacy and overcoming accents through proper speech mechanisms. Other charts include a "Diagram of the Federal Government, or the Great Republic of the United States of America" by N. Mendel Shafer, 1864; a blank "Family Register;" "A Historical, Chronological and Geneological Chart," lithographed by Henry Bostwick, 1827; and a medical chart, "Physiology & Laws of Life." The "Tableau Synoptique Du Regne Vegetal. . ." was drawn by M. Charles D'Orbigny in 1835, and is inscribed to the New-York Historical Society by the author.

Games in this series are mainly commercially printed children's board or table games. These types of games first appeared in the United States in 1823; the first example here is from 1844. These include an unassembled jigsaw puzzle: a "dissected map of the United States," in its original container. The playing boards of several games including Parcheesi , the "National Game of Tourist," a horseracing game, and "The Reward of Virtue" are included here; their playing pieces are not. Two printed transformation games are included.

Prints after William Sidney Mount include a total of 5 engravings. Mount (1807-1868) is considered America's first great genre painter, and his work was quite popular in the early and middle 19th century. Engravings after his paintings "Bargaining for a Horse," "The "Herald in the Country," "The Power of Music!," and "Coming to the Point" are included here.

Souvenir Roses are seven circular sheets of paper folded in a pie wedge shape, often with a blooming rose decoration, that unfold to reveal printed vignettes on each wedge of the circle. They were primarily published as souvenirs of travels. Three roses show scenes of New York. Two of these are titled "The Empire City Rose" [1863] and include portraits of Benjamin Franklin and Washington with scenes of NY buildings. Another similar rose has no title, but pictures of buildings as well as bird's eye views of Manhattan. One rose, "Vistos de Habana," shows Cuban landscapes and buildings. Three colored roses from 1864 show Civil War themes: "The Union Forts," "History of the Soldier Lad," and "The Soldier Boy." These items are extremely fragile and access to them is restricted.

Bank Note Engravings and Vignettes includes about 50 engravings. Most are printed by the firm of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson or by the Continental Bank Note Co. Bank notes are engraved on metal, using a copper or steel plate. Portraits were often used as images on bank notes because they were easily recognizable. Landscapes, popular vignettes, and genre scenes were also used in the 1860s. Included here is a small scrapbook album of bank note engravings as well as loose notes.

Learning Charts includes three learning charts, two of which are comprised of two plates each. These double charts, "The ABC Tree" and "The Multiplication Table Tree," are designed, drawn, and published by Mrs. A.E. Bland.

Two examples of the graphotype process, from Dewitt Clinton Hitchcock, inventor of the process, are included in the series. Graphotype is a form of engraving that embosses metal printing plates.

The eleven prints on tissue for transfer to plates were made by Charles Volkmar in 1895. They are of old New York scenes, and were printed on blue and white pottery. Included is a copy of the letter authorizing Volkmar to produce the plates for sale at Joseph P. McHugh & Co., a typescript describing the printing process by Leon Volkmar, son of the artist, and contemporary newspaper clippings about the scenes shown on the plates, and about ceramic items.

American Folk Art consists of miscellaneous printing examples, generally of animals, on different card stocks.

Needlework Patterns includes five examples of mass produced needlepoint and embroidery pattern sheets. One of these is a half-completed project.

Miscellaneous graphic arts includes random examples of commercial printing techniques, including engraving, steel engraving, wood engraving, lithography and chromolithography, and photomechanical prints. These folders include samples of wood engravings, plates from The Ariel , photogravures, and several examples of prints used as advertisements for products or companies. The group also contains prints after Winslow Homer and other popular scenes. Two prints offered to periodical subscribers are included; one was issued in 1860 to subscribers of  The Knickerbocker magazine, another from 1849 to the subscribers of the newspaper  The New York Albion. Two religious prints were printed in 1835 by John Baker and Alfred E. Baker, who formed Baker's Lithography at 8 Wall St. One remarkable print shows the words to the Lord's Prayer in 60 languages. Printed in July 1868 by Gabor Naphegyi of Staten Island, it is inscribed to the New-York Historical Society by the artist. One large color print issued by Meriden Gravure is an excellent example of high quality artistic commercial printing.

Materials are ordered based on chronology. Small materials are boxed, and larger materials are housed flat in horizontal map-case drawers and in oversize drawers.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Drawer: FF-1 Folder : 24-26 Frakturs (3 flat folders)
1780-circa 1850
Drawer: FF-1 Folder : 27 John Cox's Drawing Book (flat folder)
Box: 1 Lesson-Teaching Boards
Drawer: FF-1 Folder : 30 Lessons-Learning Charts (flat folder)
1855, undated
Drawer: FF-OS Folder : 43-44 Charts -- Natural History (2 oversize flat folders)
Box: 2 Folder : 1-2 Games
1844 and later
Box: 3 Games: "Dissected Map of the United States"
Drawer: FF-2 Folder : 28 Games. (Flat folder)
Drawer: FF-1 Folder : 29 Prints after William Sidney Mount (flat folder)
Box: 4 Folder : 3 Paper Roses

Conditions Governing Access

This box is restricted because of the fragility of the items.

Box: 5 Folder : 4 Bank Note Engravings and Vignettes. Scrapbook Album of Engravings
Box: 5 Folder : 5 Bank Note Engravings and Vignettes. Rawdon, Wright, Hatch, & Edson
Box: 5 Folder : 6 Bank Note Engravings and Vignettes. Continental Bank Note Co. & National Bank Note Co.
Box: 5 Folder : 7-10 Bank Note Engravings and Vignettes. Unknown publishers
Box: 5 Folder : 11 Graphotypes

Scope and Contents

With partial inscription by De Witt Clinton Hitchcock, the inventor. Gift of his granddaughter, De Witt Clinton Judson, 1933-34.

Box: 5 Folder : 12-14 Prints on Tissue for Transfer to Plates
Box: 5 Folder : 15 Folk Art from Nadelman Collection
Drawer: FF-1 Folder : 31 Needlework Patterns (flat folder)
Drawer: FF-1 Folder : 45 "Jacob's Well. Christ and the Woman of Samaria"

Scope and Contents

Approximately 15x18 inches. Includes Christian religious imagery and text based on John Chapter 4, Verse 7, bordering an open area within which is written a manuscript poem "The Birth of Christ." At bottom the document is signed and dated by Eliza Livingston. Published by S. King of New York. Hand colored?

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of D. Frederick Baker, June 2019. Credit line: "Gift of D. Frederick Baker from the Baker/Pisano Collection"

Drawer: FF-2 Folder : 32-36 Miscellaneous prints (5 flat folders)

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