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William Birch's
Views of Philadelphia


[ First Edition | Second Edition | Third Edition | Fourth Edition | Restrikes | Other Views by Birch ]

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William Russell Birch. From The City of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania North America. Philadelphia, 1798-1860. All ca. 11 x 13 3/8, except as noted. Engravings. Except as noted, some margins beyond platemark, and in very good condition.

When issued in 1800, William Birch's prints of Philadelphia collectively formed the first series of views of any American city, and as such they are of great historical importance. The superior quality of the work is evidenced in the scope of its conception, the artistic excellence of the prints and their fine execution. The prints provide a unique visual record of Philadelphia at a time when it was the most important and cosmopolitan city in the Western Hemisphere, and for a time was the capital of the newly formed United States. Each print illustrates a scene, focusing on the sophistication of the inhabitants and the stateliness of the homes and public buildings.

The project of producing this series was carried out entirely in Philadelphia, and while many other individuals were involved, including Birch's son Thomas who provided many of the original drawings, the prints were the work of William Birch himself. He not only conceived and planned the project, but he also drew many of the scenes and did much of the engraving and publishing.


FIRST EDITION [1800].


SECOND EDITION [1804]:


THIRD EDITION [1809]:


FOURTH EDITION [1827-28]:


RESTRIKES BY JOHN McALLISTER JR. ca. 1860:

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Other Views by Birch, not part of City of Philadelphia

None currently available.


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Birch's Views of Philadelphia Birch's Views of Philadelphia. Two Hundredth Anniversary Edition.
S. Robert Teitelman. Philadelphia, 2000. Cloth.

A reduced facsimile of William Russell Birch's The City of Philadelphia…as it appeared in the Year 1800. The twenty-seven engravings are reproduced in full color, with accompanying photographs of the sites as they appeared in 1960 and in 2000. $45.00



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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated April 10, 2014