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Guide to the Collection of John Bachmann Prints
1849-1885
 PR 353

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


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Marybeth Kavanagh

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on February 23, 2018 using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

 
Creator - Artist: Bachmann, John, active 1849-1885
Title: Collection of John Bachmann Prints
Dates: 1849-1885
Abstract: This collection consists of 23 bird's-eye view lithographic prints created by Swiss-born American artist John Bachmann (1814-1896). The prints date from 1849 to circa 1885.
Quantity: 3.0 Linear feet (3 folders)
Call Phrase: PR 353

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Biographical/Historical Note

John Bachmann (1814–1896) was a German-speaking Swiss printmaker and artist best known for his bird's-eye views, especially of New York City. Bachmann was a journeyman lithographer in Switzerland and Paris until 1847. His first known American print appeared in 1849; it is a view from an imagined point above Union Square in New York, looking south toward the Battery. This print is credited to "C. Bachman" as artist and "J. Bachmann" as publisher; his name appears on subsequent prints as both Bachman and Bachmann.

In 1850-1851, he published a series of bird's-eye views of American cities, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Washington, D.C. Bachmann married in about 1852, and had four children, the eldest of whom became a lithographer. Around 1860, the family moved to Hoboken NJ, and in 1864 settled in Jersey City Heights, NJ. Bachmann continued producing prints, the majority of which were views of New York and Central Park, until about 1885. Bachmann's prints were among the first major bird's eye views, as opposed to panoramic views, in the United States. Although they appear to be captured from above, bird's eye views were actually mathematically compiled on a grid using hundreds of sketches done on the ground. Bachmann's skillful use of the bird's-eye view helped popularize it as a way of portraying modern urban geography, and launched a new genre of American printmaking.

Sources: Case, Nat. "John Bachmann and the American Bird's Eye View Print", Imprint, Vol. 33, Number II, Autumn 2008, pp.19-35.

Reps, John W. Views and Viewmakers of Urban America. (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1984.)

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Scope and Contents Note

This collection consists of 23 bird's-eye view lithographic prints created by artist John Bachmann (1814-1896). The prints date from 1849 to circa 1885. Eighteen of the prints are views of New York City; the remaining five are of other cities, including Boston, Hoboken, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

Arrangement Note

The prints are arranged in two series. Thereunder they are filed chronologically.

Series I. Views of New York City

Series II. Views of Other Cities

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Aerial views
  • Bird's-eye view prints
  • Bird's-eye views
  • Lithographs

Subject Topics

  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)--Aerial views.

Subject Places

  • Boston (Mass.)--Aerial views.
  • Central Park (New York, N.Y.)--Aerial views.
  • Hoboken (N.J.)--Aerial views.
  • New Orleans (La.)--Aerial views.
  • New York (N.Y.)--Aerial views
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Aerial views
  • Washington (D.C.)--Aerial views.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at printroom@nyhistory.org. Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to:

Department of Rights and Reproductions The New-York Historical Society 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194 rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org 212-485-9228

Permission to reproduce or quote text from this collection in a publication must be requested from and granted in writing by the Library Director, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194.

Preferred Citation Note

This collection should be cited as Collection of John Bachmann Prints, PR 353, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Archival Materials Note

Additional printed views of New York City can be found in the Geographic File PR 20, the Boyd Collection PR 07, and the Printmaker File PR 58. All bound volumes of New York City and other views arecatalogued in the Library’s catalog, BOBCAT.

Immediate Source of Acquisition Note

This collection has been compiled from a variety of gifts and purchases. View of Central Park, New York City (circa 1875) was purchased January 2018. The other prints were previously part of the Geographic File PR 20.

Processing Information Note

Twenty-two of the twenty-three prints in this collection were removed from PR 20 Geographic File in Jan-Feb 2018. View of Central Park, New York City (circa 1875) was purchased January 2018.

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Container List

Series I: Views of New York, 1849-circa 1885

Scope and Contents Note

This series consists of 18 bird's-eye view lithographs of New York City, arranged chronologically.

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: FF1 New-York

Scope and Contents Note

View south from Union Square. J. Bachmann, artist. Sarony & Major, lithographers. Published by John Bachmann, 5 Rector Street, New York.

1849
Folder: FF1 New York City Hall, Park and Environs

Scope and Contents Note

Copy 1. Bachmann, artist and lithographer. Published by Williams and Stevens, 353 Broadway, New York.

circa 1850
Folder: FF1 New York City Hall, Park and Environs

Scope and Contents Note

Copy 2. Bachmann, artist and lithographer. Published by Williams and Stevens, 353 Broadway, New York.

circa 1850
Folder: FF1 Birds Eye View of New York and Brooklyn

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist and printer. Published by John Bachmann, 218 William Street, NY.

1850
Folder: FF1 Birds Eye View of the New York Crystal Palace and Environs

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. Published by John Bachmann, 37 City Hall Place, NY.

1853
Folder: FF1 Brooklyn. Bird's Eye View of the City of New York. Williamsburg.

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. Published by C. Magnus & Co.

1859
Folder: FF1 New-York and Environs

Scope and Contents Note

Round shape, fisheye view. J. Bachmann, artist. Published by J. Bachmann, 115 Nassau Street, New York.

1861
Folder: FF1 Central Park

Scope and Contents Note

Bird's eye view with a series of smaller vignettes around the border. John Bachmann, artist. Printed by F. Heppenheimer. Published by John Bachmann, 76 Nassau Street, New York.

1863
Folder: FF2 Birds Eye View of the Central Park, New-York

Scope and Contents Note

Copy 1. J. Bachmann, artist. J. Bien, lithographer. Published by Bachmann.

1865
Folder: FF2 Birds Eye View of the Central Park, New York

Scope and Contents Note

Copy 2. J. Bachmann, artist. J. Bien, lithographer. Published by Bachmann.

1865
Folder: FF2 Central Park [Summer]

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. J. Bien, lithographer. Published by Edmund Foerster & Co.

1865
Folder: FF2 Central Park [Winter]

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. J. Bien, lithographer. Published by Edward Fuerster.

[1865]
Folder: FF2 Birds Eye View of New York and Environs

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. J. Bien, printer. Published by John Bachmann, 76 Nassau Street, New York.

1865
Folder: FF2 View of Central Park, New York

Scope and Contents Note

View looking southeast. John Bachmann, artist. H. Bencke, lithographer.

[1875]
Folder: FF2 View of New York

Scope and Contents Note

View of Manhattan from the southeast, with Statue of Liberty visible in NY harbor. J. Bachmann, artist. H. Bencke, lithographer.

1877
Folder: FF2 View of New York and Vicinity

Scope and Contents Note

View north from New York harbor. John Bachmann, artist. H. Bencke, lithographer.

1879
Folder: FF2 Bird's Eye View Of Coney Island. Bird's Eye View of Rockaway.

Scope and Contents Note

Two views on one sheet. Copyright by John Bachmann, 80 Bower Street Jersey City Heights

[circa 1881]
Folder: FF2 View of New York

Scope and Contents Note

View from the southwest, showing Manhattan and Brooklyn. J. Bachmann, artist. Snyder and Black, printers. Published by J. Bachmann, 80 Bower Street, Jersey City Heights.

[circa 1885]

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Series II: Views of Other Cities, 1850-1874

Scope and Contents Note

This series consists of 5 bird's-eye view lithographs of American cities outside of New York, arranged chronologically.

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: FF3 Bird's Eye View of Boston

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. Sarony & Major, lithographer. Williams and Stevens, publisher.

1850
Folder: FF3 Birds Eye View of Philadelphia

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. Sarony & Major, lithographers. Williams and Stevens, publisher.

1850
Folder: FF3 Bird's Eye View of New Orleans

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist and printer. A. Guerber & Co., publisher.

1851
Folder: FF3 Birds-Eye View of Washington, D.C. and Environs

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. Printed and published by Kimmel & Forster, 254-256 Canal Street, New York

1865
Folder: FF3 Hoboken

Scope and Contents Note

J. Bachmann, artist. Published by F. Luthin, 197 Washington Street Hoboken, New Jersey

1874

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