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1908 Richard Rummell Bird's-Eye View of the University of Michigan Campus

University of Michigan.

1908 Richard Rummell Bird's-Eye View of the University of Michigan Campus


Rare bird's-eye view of the University of Michigan campus.



University of Michigan.
  1908 (dated)    16.5 x 30 in (41.91 x 76.2 cm)


This is a rare 1908 Richard Rummell view of the campus of the University of Michigan. The view reveals the historical campus looking to the northwest from a point about 300 feet above the intersection of South State Street and South University Avenue. Although it has been remodeled somewhat today, the neoclassic building in the foreground is current University of Michigan Museum of Art, then the Alumni Memorial Hall. Beyond it Tappan Hall and the President's house, still stand much as they did then. To the left of the art museum is the Victorian Romance Languages Building, demolished in 1958. Further to the left, along State Street, is the dramatic façade of University Hall, the first major campus building, which linked the smaller buildings, which became wings, Mason Hall and South College. In the foreground to the left is Newberry Hall, now the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and West Hall, raised in 1923. Other historical buildings visible in the distance include the Detroit Observatory, the Catherine Street Hospital, the Dental Building, and North Hall.

Rummell began issuing views of American colleges around 1905. Rummell's views come in several different forms including color, and black and white, as here. Like most of Rummell's university views, it is copyrighted by his publisher, W. T. Littig and Company. An earlier version of this view, published by A. W. Elson and company, did not have a title below the view. On the present Littig edition, Elson's imprint in in the lower right has been notably scratched out.

In more recent times Arader Galleries has acquired many of the original printing plates for Rummell's college views and currently issues re-strikes, but the original early 20th century printings, as here have become extremely rare. We have encountered many of Rummell's campus views over the years, but this is the first time we have seen an original of the University of Michigan.


Richard W. Rummell (1848 – June 4, 1924) was an American artist active in Brooklyn during the late 19th and early 20th century. Rummell was born in Canada, the son of german immigrant Frank X. Rummell and his wife Eliza Rummell. He immigrated to the United States as a youth settling with his parents in Buffalo. He relocated to Brooklyn when he was in his mid-30s, setting up an illustration office at 258 Broadway in Manhattan. Rummell is best known for his series of views of American colleges completed around the turn of the century. Since Rummell's views universally appear to be drawn from an altitude of about 300 feet, it has been speculated by many art historians that he worked from a balloon. Rummell was also a bit of a futurist and among his more interesting works are a series of speculative images of the New York of tomorrow, with vast airships, trains running over the tops of skyscrapers, and elegant sky bridges throughout. In the 1950s, the original printer's plates for many of Rummell's university views were rediscovered in a Brooklyn warehouse. They were auctioned and sold Arader Galleries, which today issues 'limited edition' reprints of his more desirable university views. Rummell's Brooklyn home was located at 45 Bay 28th Street and later 73 Hanson Place. In addition to his work as a visual artist, he was an accomplished actor and an avid yachtsman. He founding member of the Bensonhurst Yacht Club, where his yacht, the Careless was usually docked. He was also a member of the Royal Arcanum fraternal order. Rummell was survived by his wife, Emmeline Rummell, daughter, Chrissie Atkinson, and two sons, John Tribel Rummell, and Richard Rummell Jr., who became a famous Florida architect.


Very good. Light toning. Some minor spotting. Minor scratches.


OCLC 706065332.
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