1856 Fisk / Russell Declaration of Independence Broadside

Declaration of Independence. The Original of this was Designed and Executed entirely with a Pen by Gilman R. Russell. - Main View

1856 Fisk / Russell Declaration of Independence Broadside


He Penned a Declaration...


Declaration of Independence. The Original of this was Designed and Executed entirely with a Pen by Gilman R. Russell.
  1856 (dated)     27 x 20.5 in (68.58 x 52.07 cm)


This is a large 1856 Gilman R. Russell commemorative broadside of the Declaration of Independence. It consists of a two-color lithograph with the text of the Declaration appearing in finely executed calligraphy around an image of George Washington. The text is surrounded by a wreath of acanthus leaves, and surmounted by a title banner and a powerful eagle. The broadside was published on the 80th anniversary of the Declaration's signing. It served both as an income-generating patriotic image for sale to the general public, and as a promotion for Russell's penmanship and calligraphy classes.
Publication History and Census
This broadside was designed by Gilman R. Russell, printed by J. H. Bufford, and published by William H. Fisk. It is scarce. We note examples at the New Hampshire Historical Society, the Boston Athenaeum, the University of Virginia, the Maharishi International University, and the the University of Cambridge. Scarce to the market.


Gilman R. Russell (June 5, 1822 - October 11, 1874) was a well-known American calligraphist. Russell was born in Woodstock, New Hampshire. He became well known as a teacher of penmanship and a calligrapher. Russell issued beautiful, penned lithograph broadsides of the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Constitution. This both brought in much needed income and promoted his teaching business. He died in Franconia, New Hampshire. More by this mapmaker...

William Henry Fisk (November 17, 1826 - August 9, 1875) was a Manchester, New Hampshire based publisher, bookseller, stationer, printer, and bookbinder. He was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Learn More...

John Henry Bufford (July 27, 1810 - October 8, 1870) was a Boston based lithographer and printer. Bufford was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He apprenticed as an artist and lithographer at Pendleton Lithography (1825 - 1836) of Boston. In 1835 he relocated to New York where he took independent commissions from George Endicott and Nathaniel Currier, among others. Returning to his hometown of Boston in 1839, he took a position of chief artist with the firm of Benjamin W. Thayer, heir to Pendleton Lithography. He probably married Thayer's sister, Anna Melora Tufts Thayer (1808-1878). Bufford has been highly criticized as an engraver, with one historian, David Tatham, stating he had 'a mediocre sort of craftsmanship at best' and 'no very special skills as an original artist.' We, however, find no justification for this harsh criticism. Instead Bufford gravitated toward business and management. By 1844 Thayer's shop was renamed J. H. Bufford and Company. The firm specialized in decorative sheet music, panoramic views, illustrations for books, retractions of paintings, and commercial printing. Bufford is credited with being one of the first employers and mentors of the important artist and engraver Winslow Homer. Bufford died in 1870, passing on the business to his sons Frank G. Bufford and John Henry Bufford Jr. These young men, operating under the imprint of 'J.H. Bufford's Sons, Manufacturing Publishers of Novelties in Fine Arts', expanded the firm with offices in New York and Chicago. A possibly related lithographic printing firm named Bufford Chandler was incorporated in Boston in 1893. It later relocated to Concord, New Hampshire but closed in 1925 when its state business charter was repealed. Learn More...


Very good. Stabilized on verso with archival tissue.


OCLC 52687159. New Hampshire Historical Society, S 1997.553.09.