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The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Historical Prints

Historical Prints


A Selection of Historical PrintsCharts of World HistoryHistorical Cartoons
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Currier & IvesKurz & AllisonMarine Prints
Quakers & Society of Friends
Historic Figures
George WashingtonAbraham LincolnOther Presidents
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of Lincoln and Contemporaries
Napoleon Bonaparte and French History
Portraits of the RevolutionPortraits of the Civil WarMiscellaneous historical portraits
Events in American History
French & Indian WarAmerican RevolutionWar of 1812
Mexican-American WarCivil WarSpanish American War
American Philippine WarWorld Wars I & II
American Political Prints
European History
English historyRevolt of the NetherlandsFrench Cavalry Prints


A Selection of Interesting Prints:

Schenk: Yamasee War
Anon. [The gruesome attack of the Indians on the English, in Carolina . . .]. [South Carolina]. Title in Dutch and Latin. Amsterdam: Peter Schenk, ca. 1720. 5 1/4 x 7 1/8 (image). Engraving. Narrow but sufficient margins. Very good condition. Very rare.

This small engraving is the earliest image of the Pocotaligo massacre of April 15, 1715 in South Carolina. This massacre was the catalyst of the Yamasee War (1715-16) when Yamasee Indians killed 90 white traders and families due to conflicts over land encroachment and fur trading. Neighboring Indian tribes with the exception of the Cherokee and Creek tribes joined the rebellion and continued to raid trading posts and farms. The Indian revolt was eventually put down with additional military help and supplies from neighboring colonies. The surviving Yamasee fled to Florida along with other tribes which eventually form the Seminole tribe.

The engraver of this print was Peter Schenk the Younger (1693-1775) who is best known for engraving maps and city views. This print is one of nine scenes issued on one sheet depicting important current events of that time. $1,200

Harris: Cortes and Montezuma
James Mynde. "The Interview of Cortes and Montezuma in the City of Mexico." From John Harris' A Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels . . ." London: publisher unknown, ca. 1750. 8 1/4 x 13 (image). Engraving. Very narrow top margin. Else, very good condition. $175

This publication was first issued in 1705 and later revised for the 1744-48 edition, and again in 1764. This important collection includes the voyages of Magellan, Drake and other explorers and contained numerous maps and prints of natives, animals, plants, views, and portraits.

Harris: California Natives
"The Inhabitants of California in their respective Dresses." From John Harris' A Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels . . ." London: publisher unknown, ca. 1750. 12 x 7 1/2 (image). Engraving. Very good condition.

This publication was first issued in 1705 and later revised for the 1744-48 edition, and again in 1764. This important collection includes the voyages of Magellan, Drake and other explorers and contained numerous maps and prints of natives, animals, plants, views, and portraits. $175

Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers
Charles Lucy. "The Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, in America A.D. 1620." New York: H. Peters, ca. 1850. Steel engraving. 21 1/4 x 29 3/4. Several repaired tears into image. Scuffing in sky. Fine condition.

A very handsome and strong print showing the Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock. Their clothing is simple but rich due to the intensity of the engraving process. This study of the variety of personalities among the American pioneers also features the ship Mayflower in the background. $600

Penn's Treaty with the Indians
After Benjamin West. "William Penn's Treaty with the Indians." Philadelphia: Illman & Sons, 1857. With engraved facsimile of William Penn's signature. Line engraving. 14 1/2 x 11 (plate marks) plus margins. Steel engraving. Overall excellent condition. Not in Snyder, Mirror.

An intriguing 19th-century broadside illustrating Penn's legendary treaty of friendship with the Lenni Lenape Indians. The theatrical rendering of the figures after Benjamin West's painting, along with the exuberant poem (appropriately enough, in 18th-century heroic couplets) perpetuate nicely the happy legend. A charming piece of Philadelphia history that was prepared for distribution by newspaper carriers who sold them as a memento or gift at the beginning of the new year. This is one of the most attractive and accomplished of these carriers' broadsides that is a recognized genre produced in American cities in the nineteenth century. $450

An American Interpretation of John Singleton Copley's "The Death of Major Peirson"

Defending the Flag
Anonymous engraving after a painting by John Singleton Copley. "Defending the Flag." No place or date given, but style and printing technique suggests American done between 1855 and 1875. Etching. 19 x 23 (plate marks) 26 1/4 x 32 (full sheet). Excellent condition.

This unusual print is a direct copy from John Singleton Copley's famous painting "The Death of Major Peirson" executed 1782-84. The original oil painting, now in the Tate Gallery, London, celebrated an incident in the town square of St. Helier on the Channel Isle of Jersey. French forces had almost taken the town and island when a young Major Francis Peirson rallied the British forces, counterattacked, and drove the invaders off. At the moment of victory, the youthful officer was killed, and this picture showed him being carried from the field amid the excitement and terror of battle.

An anonymous American engraver took the same image and transformed it into a patriotic statement by changing the Union Jack to the American colonial flag and entitling the print "Defending the Flag." Other more subtle changes were wrought by inscribing "U.S." on the drum in the left foreground and removing the background statue of George III from under the tassel on the flag. Otherwise most of the details remain: significantly, the vignette at the right showing the fleeing family for which Copley used his wife and son, the gallant Negro covering the party carrying the dead hero, and other troops gallantly fighting. This print could have been created in the mid-1850s in response to attempts to generate patriotism by reminding the populace of the American Revolution during a time of regional strife building between the North and the South. Similar images were also used after the Civil War to help bind the wounds, and they continued well into the 1870s as Americans celebrated the centennial of the United States. Printing style and paper size suggest a later date rather than an earlier one, but we find no other documentation on this print, and our forefathers in the prints business constantly amaze us with their products. $650


U.S. Senate
Peter F. Rothermel. "The United States Senate, A.D. 1850." Philadelphia: John M. Butler and Alfred Long, 1855. 29 1/2 x 37 1/2 (platemarks) plus all margins. Engraving by R. Whitechurch. Minor wear on side of Clay's face and the group of men directly behind him. Small expertly repaired tears in the faces of the men just in front of Clay. Otherwise, incredibly good condition for a large separately issued print. Strong strike and even impression.

A dramatic print of Rothermel's painting featuring Henry Clay addressing the Senate. The event depicted here is Clay's argument for the "Compromise of 1850" or the "California compromise," to admit California into the Union as a free state in an attempt to prevent what became the American Civil War. Details of the Old Senate Chamber and the august members of the Senate, including Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun and Thomas Hart Benton, are sharp, down to the patterned carpet and draperies behind the president's chair, where Vice President Millard Fillmore is seated. The faces are accurate because Rothermel used daguerreotypes of the major figures in his painting. This print's crowded gallery, and the seriousness of expression in its subjects pay fitting tribute to Clay, the orator and statesman, as he made an historically important argument just two years before his death. One of the best American political prints of the nineteenth century. $3,600

Brown: Webster addressing U.S. Senate
E. Brown Jr. "Daniel Webster Addressing the U.S. Senate On The Compromise Measures, March 7th 1850." New York: R. Van Dien, 1856. 21 3/4 x 29 3/8. Lithograph. Printed by G.W. Lewis. Some chipping & repaired tears. Overall, very good condition. With printed key to the figures.

This print commemorates Daniel Webster's address to the Senate suggesting a compromise designed to lessen the tension between the North and South over the slavery issue. In 1849 there were fifteen free and fifteen slave states, giving an equal balance of representation for both sections in the Senate. The admission of California, in 1850, as a free state, upset this equilibrium and worried the South. In conjunction with California's entry to the Union, most Northerners demanded that any future states be admitted as free states. This was unacceptable to the South. The North had greater wealth, population, and political power, and the South saw its own economic and social status, based on slavery, as threatened.

Daniel Webster's speech suggested a compromise and was an attempt to mollify both sides. Webster, an ardent opponent of slavery, foresaw that if a compromise were not reached, the South might try to secede from the Union. Unfortunately, his Northern supporters were critical of his stand; the abolitionists were particularly furious. The specific crisis raised by the admission of California was patched over by the Webster inspired Compromise of 1850. California was allowed to enter as a free state, however the Compromise also required the federal government to assist slave holders in returning runaway slaves, and prosecuting those who assisted them. This print, showing Webster addressing the Senate, is a fascinating historical document that wonderfully depicts the interior of the Senate Chamber. The Senators are shown at their seats and the fact that each face is drawn so accurately--making each man easily identifiable--suggests that the portraits were taken from photographs. Above the chamber hang the patriotic symbols of an eagle clutching the Union Shield and a portrait of Washington. $1,500

A newspaper contemporary with John Brown's Raid. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. December 24, 1859. 8 leaves folded as originally issued and uncut. Eight woodblock illustrations. Some staining and minor tears. 16 3/4 x 11 (overall dimensions).

Most illustrated newspapers from the nineteenth century survived because they were bound into annual volumes and placed into libraries and museums. Here is an exception because this single issue allows the owner/researcher to feel the weight of history as two men from John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry were executed soon after their capture. The bodies of John E. Cook and Edwin Cooper hang from a gallows in Charlestown, Virginia (now West Virginia) surrounded by a large contingent of soldiers. Besides scenes in the United States there are portraits of influential men involved with the insurrection in Port Au Prince as well as the United States. $125

Small historical engravings

Engravings made on steel plates, a process developed in the first part of the nineteenth century, allowed publishers to produce finely detailed images which could be run off in large numbers. These prints became the standard means of illustrating for books, magazines and even as separate prints. All sorts of publications on history, travel, or domestic subjects included these charming images which covered every imaginable subject. Historic scenes were particularly popular and so there are many very interesting steel engravings made from scenes of American and world history.

Below is a small sampling of the prints in our inventory. All are about 5 x 8 and in very good condition, except as noted. If you have an event of particular interest, please contact us to see if we might have a print of that subject.


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©The Philadelphia Print Shop Last updated March 5, 2021