1915 Rummell Bird's-Eye View of Amherst College, Massachusetts

Amherst College. - Main View

1915 Rummell Bird's-Eye View of Amherst College, Massachusetts


Rare Rummell!


Amherst College.
  1915 (undated)     16.5 x 28.5 in (41.91 x 72.39 cm)


A most unusual and scarce c. 1915 Richard Rummell bird's-eye view of Amherst College, Massachusetts. Founded in 1821, Amherst College went through a lot of changes since this view was made. The view looks south on the college. The large avenue running through the image is Pleasant Street. The college observatory, the Octagon (1848) is evident near center. To the left of the Octagon is College Row, with the distinctive clock tower of Johnson Chapel (1827), flanked by North and South Colleges. The elaborate granite Walker Hall (1870), once called the 'Temple of Science' appears on the south side of Webster Circle, roughly where Robert Frost Library now stands.
Rummell University Views
Rummell was an American landscape artist known for his drawings of American universities. At the turn of the century, Littig and Company commissioned Rummell to prepare watercolors of some of the nation's most prestigious colleges. From these watercolors, copper-plates were engraved, and a limited number of engravings were issued. Most of Rummell's university views are strikingly similar in style, reveling the entire campus in panoramic splendor. The views are uniformly issued from an altitude of about 300 feet, suggesting the Rummell most likely worked from a balloon. Rummell views appear in full size, half size, and quarter size, both colored and uncolored. Typically, the uncolored sepia-toned images bearing Rummell's pencil signature, and the Littig imprint are considered the first editions, but not all of his college views are known thus. Some of the views were acquired from Littig and reissued by It is also possible to find proof states, lacking the name of the college below the image.
Publication History and Census
The Library of Congress owns an incomplete sepia-variant example of this view in a proof state, lacking the college name below the image, which they date (without explanation) to 1908. Theirs is the only other known example of the current view. Smaller versions of the view, measuring roughly 8.5 x 15 are more common, and also appear as reproductions. We are not aware of another example of this full-sized view. It is clear from high resolution imaging that this map is struck from the original stone-lithograph plate and may be one of the Elson strikes issued as late as the 1920s.


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. In the 1950s, the original printer's plates for many of Rummell's university views were rediscovered in a Brooklyn warehouse. 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. Learn More...


Very good.


Library of Congress, PAGA 7, no. 4173.