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1872 Harper's Weekly View of Boston After Great Fire


Bird's-Eye View of Boston, Showing the Burned District.
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Title:    Bird's-Eye View of Boston, Showing the Burned District.

Description:    A dramatic journalistic view of Boston, Massachusetts prepared to illustrate the devastation following the Great Boston Fire of 1872. Issued just three weeks after the tragic fire (November 7-8, 1872), this is one of the first publications to illustrate the full extent of the fire. Eager to provide their readers with a graphic representation of the fire, the publishers of Harper's Weekly turned to Currier and Ives, who had contracted illustrator Charles R. Parsons to collect material to produce a grand view of the city. Parson's was in a unique position as he worked for both Harper's Weekly, as head of their art department, and Currier and Ives, and was thus able to consolidate the resources of both firms to produce this urgent view. Hence the present view, published by Harper's Weekly, thus actually predates the famous grand format Currier and Ives view issued one year later in 1873. Moreover, it is considerably advanced over the Currier and Ives View as it illustrates the results of the Great Fire, which the later view disregards.

Date:    1872 (dated)

Source:    Harper's Weekly, November 30, 1872, p 396-97.    

References:    Boston Public Library, Leventhal Collection, G3764.B6A3 1872 .P3.

Cartographer:    Harper's Weekly (1825 - 1916), subtitled "A Journal of Civilization" was a weekly political magazine and news journal published out of New York City. The Harper brothers, James, John, Joseph and Fletcher, began publishing in 1825. Inspired by the London Illustrated News, they created Harper's Weekly in 1857. The important weekly journal witnessed some of the most important moments in history from the American Civil War, to the serialized publishing of Dickens novels, to the inventions of the modern Santa Clause by illustrator Thomas Nast. Harpers continued to publish until 1916. The Harper name is still alive in the magazine business to this day. Click here for a list of rare maps from Harper's Weekly.

Size:   Printed area measures 21 x 14.5 inches (53.34 x 36.83 centimeters)

Condition:    Good. Some centerfold wear and overall toning. Backed on archival tissue.

Code:   BostonFire-harpersweekly-1872 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)

Tags:    Boston , Great Boston Fire , Great Boston Fire , View , Charles R Parsons , Currier and Ives , Harper's Weekly

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