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1871 Map or Bird's Eye View of Chicago before the Great Fire

Birds's-Eye View of Chicago as it was Before the Great Fire - Drawn by Theodore R. Davis. - Main View

1871 Map or Bird's Eye View of Chicago before the Great Fire


Uncommon Bird's-Eye View of Chicago just before the Great Fire.


Birds's-Eye View of Chicago as it was Before the Great Fire - Drawn by Theodore R. Davis.
  1871 (dated)     15 x 21 in (38.1 x 53.34 cm)


An attractive example of Theodore R. Davis' 1871 view of Chicago as it appeared before the Great Chicago fire of October 10, 1871. This view was drawn about 10 days after the fire for publication in October 21, 1871 issue of Harper's Weekly. The view presents Chicago as seen from somewhere high above Lake Michigan looking westward towards the Chicago River, port, and the central business district (The Loop). Some 49 locations are identified numerically and named at the bottom of the map. Given the perspective and detail it is most likely that this view was prepped from a balloon sometime during the summer predating the fire.


Harper and Brothers (1817 – Present) is New York based American printing publishing firm founded in 1817 by James Harper and his brother John Harper as J. and J. Harper (1817-1833). Their younger brothers Joseph Wesley Harper and Fletcher Harper joined the company around 1926 prompting the 1833 imprint change to Harper and Brothers (1833 – 1962). The firm published countless books, magazines, prints, maps, and more. They began publishing a monthly magazine, Harper's Monthly in 1850. The success of Harper's Monthly led to the introduction of a popular weekly illustrated journal, Harper's Weekly published from 1857 - 1916. They later introduced Harper's Bazar (1867) and Harper's Young People (1879). From about 1899 the business went through a series of permutations selling off some assets and developing others. The company merged with Row, Peters and Company inn 1962, rebranding itself as Harper and Row (1962 – 1990), which was acquired by Marshall Pickering in 1988. It was acquired by Rupert Mordoch (News Corp) and merged with William Collins and Sons in 1990 to form HaprerCollins (1990 – Present), the imprint under which it still publishes. Their original offices were at 331 Franklin Street, roughly below today's Manhattan Bridge. Today they have many offices and are one of the world's largest publishing companies and one of the 'Big Five' English-language publishers. More by this mapmaker...

Theodore R. Davis (July 22, 1841 – November 10, 1894) was an American artist-correspondent and illustrator active in the later part of the 19th century. Much of his work was prepared for and published by Harper's Weekly. Davis is best known for his many drawings of important military and political events during the American Civil War, in which he was twice wounded. Although a northerner, throughout the war he traveled incognito throughout the Southern States in the party of the London Times correspondent, Britisher, William H. Russell. After the war Davis continued to work for Harper's covering the Reconstruction and the Westward Expansion. He was the first to document the Sioux Indians in 1865, observed General Custer during the Indian Wars in 1867-68, and traveled with Winfield Scott Hancock’s failed Indian Peace Expedition. In retirement he wrote a treatise titled, "How a Battle is Sketched." His remains are interred at Hazelwood Cemetery, Rahway, New Jersey. Learn More...


Harper's Weekly, October 21, 1871.    


Very good. Backed on archival tissue. Minor wear on original centerfold.


OCLC 51123658.