112 images chosen for "At the Instance of Benjamin Franklin" : A Brief History of the Library Company of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Printed for the Library Company of Philadelphia by York Graphic Services Inc., 1995).
Album containing photographs of railroad bridges and stations along the B&O Railroad's Philadelphia Division taken on a trip made by a small group of B&O Railroad employees who surveyed the line, March 1891.
George O. Bartlett and William French were in partnership circa 1867-1869. Collection of Bartlett and French stereographs depicting Philadelphia streetscapes, including Chestnut Street; public buildings, including the State House, Post Office, and Custom House; cultural institutions, including the Academy of Natural Sciences and Horticultural Hall on Broad Street; and Fairmount Waterworks. Many views are from the series, Gems of Penn’a scenery, Philadelphia and vicinity.
Bartlett & Smith was a partnership from circa 1867- 1869 between George O. Bartlett and a photographer named Smith. Over 20 stereographs depicting Philadelphia views including commercial buildings along Chestnut Street including the Jayne Building, the Continental Hotel, the United States Custom House, and First National Bank; buildings along Broad Street, including the Union League, LaPierre House, and Broad Street Presbyterian Church; the Chestnut Street Bridge over the Schuylkill River; and the Wissahickon.
Two stereographs from this collection were not digitized, [Chestnut St. west of 6th St. with Jayne Building] [(8)1322.F.23h] and View on the Wissahicken near Philla. [(8)1322.F.8].
Collection of negatives taken 1900-1910 by Philadelphia music teacher and amateur photographer Frank Berry (b. 1863). Images primarily document Berry's neighborhood in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia and the nearby Wissahickon Valley. Contains images of scenes and buildings in Manayunk including Berry's home on Righter Street; friends and family posed for informal portraits; children engaged in recreational activities including sledding, biking, boating, fishing, and swimming; bridges, trails, and landscapes in the Wissahickon Valley; the construction of Walnut Lane Bridge (1906-1908); and several beach scenes. Also includes views of the Historical Pageant in 1912; the Northeast Manual Training School; St. Stephen's Episcopal Church; altar decorations; Josephine Berry playing a piano; a man posed with a motorcycle; the family Christmas tree; a childrens' street band; a liquor store at 5226 Ridge Avenue; Berry with his camera; and children taking photographs.
Collection containing primarily engravings, watercolors, and drawings executed by English-born artist and engraver William Birch and his descendants between the 18th and later 19th century. Several of the graphic materials are by William Birch and represent engraved work he completed in Britain before 1794 and following his immigration to the United States that same year. Birch’s works in the collection take the form of watercolors, drawings, paintings, a sketchbook, and as photographic reproductions.
One of four volumes of prints and drawings issued in 1878 by prominent Philadelphia lithographer, etcher, and artist Augustus Kollner (1812-1906). The twenty-four views primarily depict landscapes of Fairmount Park. Also contains views of Philadelphia and Bucks and Montgomery counties. Several of the lithographs from this volume were based on sketches he executed in the 1840s.
Collection of 182 lantern slides photographed 1870-1916 by Philadelphia photographer and Photo-Secessionist John C. Bullock (1854-1939) predominately depicting views of colonial-era residences and landmarks on Germantown Avenue. The Germantown Avenue views, most created 1910-1915, illustrate the third edition of Charles F. Jenkins’ local history book The Guide Book to Historic Germantown. Collection also includes images of historic sites in Center City and rural landscape.
Capitalism by Gaslight was a 2012 exhibition at the Library Company of Philadelphia. Taking its title from a 19th-century literary genre that exposed the darker side of American life, Capitalism by Gaslight introduces us to many of these shadowy entrepreneurs. At its heart the exhibition attempts to neither romanticize nor condemn, but to present the commerce of extra-legal businesspeople in more nuanced yet concrete ways. Although these transactions occurred most expediently in secluded back alleys and basement hideouts, many conmen benefited from the air of legitimacy given to schemes pulled off in broad daylight. And although entrepreneurs working in gray and black markets were excoriated by prominent businessmen, reformers, and authorities, they often had intimate ties to legitimate commercial networks and enjoyed the fruits of their very critics’ patronage. Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, many underworld operators closely resembled respected businessmen. Perhaps most surprisingly, these illegal forms of commerce were integral to the success of the larger American economy and continue in varied forms today.
Collection of encased images including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes, ca. 1840-1870. Each item includes a view of the recto and verso of the case (when case is present), as well as the interior image.
Friendship album compiled 1833-1856 by Philadelphia, middle-class, African American social activist Amy Matilda Cassey (1808-1856). Cassey was a member of the Philadelphia Female Antislavery Society, founder of the African American coeducation literary and scientific society the Gilbert Lyceum, and active in the temperance movement. Volume contains entries by men and women, most active in the anti-slavery movement, of original and transcribed poems, prose, and essays, and watercolors and pencil sketches. Topics range from abolitionism and slavery, to love and friendship, to female beauty and refinement, as well as motherhood, mortality, and death. Contributors include Frederick Douglass (1881-1895), William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), James McCune Smith (1813-1865), Lucy Stone (1818-1893), Sarah Forten Purvis (1814-1883), and Margaretta Forten (1815-1887).
Collection of bas-relief small carvings depicting the primary exhibition halls at the Centennial Exhibition of 1876. The exhibition celebrated the centennial of the United States through an international exhibition of industry, agriculture, and art.
Collection documenting the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of American Independence. The Centennial Photographic Company was granted exclusive rights to photograph the World's Fair.
The Civil War Graphics and Ephemera Collection is primarily comprised of the John A. McAllister Collection. The collection includes tens of thousands of examples of printed ephemera, most from the Civil War years, including circa 600 recruiting posters, as well as newspapers, political broadside and leaflets, tickets, trade cards, cartoons, and a complement of ribbons, buttons and other ephemeral items constituting the largest such collection documenting the Philadelphia home front. The collection of graphic items includes lithographs, engravings, cartoons, maps, textiles, drawings, photographs, and about 7,000 patriotic pictorial envelopes. Additionally, mixed media holdings within the collection document sanitary fairs, voluntary saloons and hospitals, generals and leaders, playing cards, verse, and Confederate States ephemera.
Account book for the shop Mary Langdale Coates kept from the time of her husband Samuel’s death to her own death. The shop was located on the west side of Second Street, north of Market. Her customers included Elias Boudinot, Timothy Matlack, Israel Pemberton, Sr. and Jr., Elizabeth Coates Paschall, Philip Syng, Catherine Wistar, and Benjamin Franklin.
Images from the first edition of William Maitland’s History of London that belonged to the London merchant and naturalist Peter Collinson (1694-1768). The book was heavily annotated by Collinson, detailing the changing physical fabric of the city of London and events of daily life.
In both the United States and England, the market for comic valentines rivaled that for sentimental valentines, with their sales numbers about equal in the 1840s and 1850s. Sentimental valentines were more expensive, ranging in price from twenty-five cents to thirty dollars. A single comic valentine cost about a penny, hence their other nickname "penny dreadfuls." "Dreadful" is an appropriate term, but "crude," both in content and printing, is perhaps more accurate. Many were printed from wood blocks, with the color added by hand (often with stencils). The later examples were reproduced lithographically, but imitated the look of woodcuts. Sometimes the same image was used more than once with different doggerel verse. The recipients typically threw them away, so few survive. Bibliographically, they are challenging because they rarely list the artists' or publishers' names or the date of publication. The illustration technique is not always obvious, even with magnification. Working under the NEH-funded McAllister Project, Linda Wisniewski scanned the valentines. During a 2006 internship funded by the Fels Foundation, Elizabeth Donaldson created the records for the collection. Thanks to Linda and Betsy, digital versions of these remarkable pieces of ephemera are available here for further study.
Library Company copy on deposit from the Darby Library Company, Darby, Pa. Extensively annotated by Darby Library Company librarians following publication up to about 1840; with two leaves of MS. notes laid in; inscribed: Dr. C. Ash Darby.
Seventeen photographs (1894-ca. 1945) by Philadelphia amateur photographer, teamster, and machinist Eugene Davis. Images primarily document the electrification, beginning in 1894, of Philadelphia’s first horse railway line operated by the Frankford and Southwark City Passenger Railway Company. Includes views of horse-drawn cars and electric trollies. Collection also contains images of location of Davis’s machinist shop Walker & Davis, Inc. with partner Noah Walker, and other vehicles, including an autogiro, a Ford Model T truck, delivery carts and wagons, and the beached cruise ship, Morro Castle.
Printed ephemera related to American business and commerce. Predominantly consists of over 150 pieces of printed advertising ephemera sent by suppliers of stationery and related products to the Philadelphia firm John C. Clark from 1866 to 1868.
Scrapbook containing primarily engraved gift book and periodical illustrations issued between circa 1832 and 1868 from American and British publications, including "Columbian Lady’s and Gentlemen’s Magazine"; "Godey's Lady's Book"; "Ladies Companion"; "New Mirror"; and "Sartain's Magazine." Illustrations, several engraved by A. L. Dick, predominantly depict sentimental, romantic, religious, genre and allegorical views and often include children and animals. Titles include "The Draught Players"; "The Lovers"; "The Philosopher & His Kite" (showing Benjamin Franklin); "They sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites [sic] for twenty pieces of silver; "Lake See Hoo and Temple of the Thundering Winds from the Vale of Tombs"; "Schuylkill Water Works"; "Luther on Christmas Eve"; "Farmers Nooning," including an African American man farm hand (after 1843 W. S. Mount painting); "Cup-tossing" (reading of tea leaves); "The Opera Box"; and "The Village School." Portrait prints, including an image of Jenny Lind, and a few architectural design prints also encompass the illustrations., Also contains chromolithographs and the illustrated title page from Henry Harbaugh's "Birds of the Bible" (1854) and many tinted lithographs printed by Ackerman from "Reports of Explorations and surveys,...for a railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean (1855-1861); several photographic reproductions of original paintings showing genre views, landscapes, and marinescapes, including the work of J. S. Fenimore; George C. Lambdin; Edward and Thomas Moran, W. T. Richards, Samuel Sartain, Christian Schussele, N. H. Trotter, and S. B. Waugh; and photographs of a paddle boat near the Fairmount Water Works and views of the Wissahickon. Some pages also include embossed and color vignettes of birds, flower vases, and flowers. Other lithographs and chromolithographs depict sentimental and religious views, including a baby "hatching" from a flower and the T. Sinclair religious tableauxes "Pontius Pilatus" and "Manoah’s Sacrifice"., Probably compiled by Mrs. H. Godley., Title from stamp on the leather spine., Inserts: Envelope inscribed "Mrs. H. Godley, 1725 Vine St." and engraved portraits of "Robert Moffat" and "Girl in a Florentine Costume of A.D. 1500." "Girl" print includes amateur pencil alterations., Various artists, engravers, lithographers, and printers including Ackerman; W. Allan; T. Allom; W. H. Bartlett; W. Bennett; J. Burnet; J. G. Chapman; A. L. Dick; T. Doney; Durand & Co.; J. B. Forrest; A. W. Graham; Charles Heath; J. R. Herbert; J. B. Longacre; W. S. Mount; J. Neale; E. T. Parris; Nicolas Poussin: Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Smillie; Rice & Buttre; H. S. Sadd; John Sartain; Eliza Sharp; Thomas Sinclair; and Benjamin Franklin Waitt., Various publishers, including American Sunday-School Union; Henry F. Annears; L.A. Godey; and Hurst, Chance & Co., Cataloging funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (PW-506-19-10), 2010-2012., Description revised 2021., Access points revised 2021., Purchase 1986.
[ca. 1832-ca. 1868]
Library Company of Philadelphia | Print Department albums [P.9152]
Scrapbook of print specimens and proofs engraved by Philadelphia and London engraver William Humphrys. Contents include postage stamp proofs, book and periodical illustrations, tile pages, portrait prints, advertisements, and cut outs of banknote and certificate vignettes. Majority of graphics depict allegorical imagery or illustrations of genre, religious, sentimental, and literary scenes, some from the plays of Shakespeare. Illustrations include scenes of courtship; female friendship; children with animals; a ghoulish-looking woman with a torch; a European man smoking a hookah; Jesus Christ; Adam & Eve; and imagery from Edmund Spencer's "Faery Queen", John Milton's "Palemon's Story," and John Gay's "Thursday: or The Spell." Allegorical works depict the figures of Columbia, Minerva, Mercury, Neptune, Bounty, Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Hope, and Apollo, as well as scenes with the American eagle; caducei for the "Liverpool Apothecaries Company"; citizens fighting a fire; cherubs charting a globe; Native Americans; a family; sailing ships; and symbols of farming, trade, and industry. Vignettes also show a portrait of Benjamin Franklin; Pocahontas saving John Smith; and a female warrior slaying a man of royalty captioned "Sic Semper Tyranus."
Later 19th-century watercolors, many commissioned by antiquarian and jeweler Ferdinand J. Dreer (1812-1902), from a collection of over 150 views of Philadelphia streetscapes by architect and artist Benjamin R. Evans. Some of the images are based on earlier prints, drawing, and photographs of the depicted site.
Evans, B. R. (Benjamin Ridgway), fl. 1857-1891, Creator
Collection created through a Samuel S. Fels Community Fellowship Grant in 2003 of over 300 book and periodical illustrations from the 16th - to 19th -centuries depicting all aspects of African American history and life.
Images range in date from 1595 (Giralomo Benzoni, Americae Pars Quinta) to 1914 (John Wesley Cromwell, The Negro in American History) and include views from 17th through 19th centuries travel and history texts of the social life and agricultural, industrial, and craft work of African peoples; graphics from the antislavery movements in France, Great Britain, and the United States detailing the brutality of slave life and the violence of slave resistance; and a selection of racist caricatures and cartoons from the 19th century reflecting the growing denigration and dehumanizing of African Americans in the era’s American popular print culture.
Collection of 179 glass and film negatives created by Alfred Hand between 1920 and 1921. They depict historic houses, places of worship, and Revolutionary War sites in Germantown and the Philadelphia region, and are accompanied by negative sleeves with descriptive manuscript notes about each site.