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1921 Olsen Bird's Eye View of Washington, D.C.

Washington The Beautiful Capital of the Nation.

1921 Olsen Bird's Eye View of Washington, D.C.


Beautiful bird's-eye view of Washington, D.C.



Washington The Beautiful Capital of the Nation.
  1921 (dated)    29.25 x 45 in (74.295 x 114.3 cm)


This is an unusual and rare 1921 large-format William Olsen bird's-eye view of Washington, D.C. and environs. Oriented toward the southwest, the view depicts the city from the U.S. Capitol Building south to Virginia and Maryland. Beautifully drawn, individual buildings throughout Washington are discernable and numerous locations labeled. Some of the important government buildings illustrated in three dimensions, include the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution (comprised of the Smithsonian Castle, the Arts and Industries Building, and the National Museum of Natural History), several buildings occupied by the War Department and the Navy Department, and the Executive Mansion (White House). George Washington University, Georgetown University, and Howard University are also identified. Several different YMCA locations are situated around the city, along with an orphan asylum, hotels, and electric and telephone companies. Foreign legations and embassies are also depicted. Major streets and circles are also labeled, although not all are illustrated, as they are blocked by the buildings.

This view is unusual and appears late in the view-making tradition.  It was produced by William Olsen and printed by the A.B. Graham Company in 1921.  This view is scarce on the market and is here in its first edition.  It was reissued in 1922 by the Columbia Planograph Company and again, on a much smaller scale, in 1923.


William Olsen (fl. c. 1920 - 1925) was an American artist. He is credited with producing three different bird's eye views of Washington, D.C.

Andrew B. Graham (1845 - September 9, 1909) was an American lithographer active in Washington, D.C. in late 19th and early 20th century. Graham was born in Washington D.C., the son of a lithographer and engraver. After college, he joined the U.S. Coast Survey, where he was a draftsman until 1889. He retired from the Coast Survey to take over management of his father's lithography firm. The firm, Andrew B. Graham Company, was one of several that thrived on lucrative government publication contracts. Graham died of 'brain fever' in his Washington D. C. residence on September 9 of 1909. Some of his work was republished posthumously until about 1917, and his firm was active until at least the early 1920s.


Very good. Wear along original fold lines. Light soiling. Verso repairs to fold separations. Blank on verso.


Reps 694. OCLC 5484259. Library of Congress, G3851.A3 1921 .O4.
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