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Alexandre Benois Collection
Since 1983, the Boston Public Library has acquired in several components a distinguished and unique (to this country) scholarly resource -- the personal library and related collections of eminent painter, art historian, and Ballets Russes set and costume designer, Alexandre Benois. The... more
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911). Prints and Drawings
Alphonse Legros (1837-1911) was a French painter, etcher, sculptor, and medallist. Born in Dijon in 1851, he went to Paris to study, took up etching in 1855, and in 1857 exhibited for the first time at the annual Paris Salon. In 1863, with the encouragement of the American artist James Abbott... more
American Art Posters 1890-1920
With the invention of lithography in Germany in 1798 and its introduction into France and England during the first years of the 19th century, there was an increasing demand for images among the growing middle class. As the new technique allowed much larger editions than did the older techniques... more
American Artists
Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to Boston Public Library collections, including this one, was provided by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.
American Revolutionary War-Era Maps (Collection of Distinction)
With the first battles of the American Revolution occurring in the Boston area, one of the most important historical time periods represented in the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center's pre-20th-century holdings is the American Revolutionary War era, defined broadly as 1750 to 1800. This collection... more
Anders Zorn (1860-1920). Etchings and Other Works
Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was a Swedish painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Born in Mora, Zorn’s early drawings and wood carvings showed his artistic abilities. Between 1875 and 1880, he studied sculpture and painting at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. He then traveled extensively in England,... more
Anti-Slavery (Collection of Distinction)
In the late 1890s, the family of William Lloyd Garrison, along with others closely involved in the anti-slavery movement, presented Boston Public Library with a major gathering of correspondence, documents, and other original material relating to the abolitionist cause from 1832 until after the... more
The Antonio Cardinal Tosti Collection
Antonio Cardinal Tosti (1766-1866) was appointed as Cardinal-Priest of San Pietro in Montorio in 1839 and later served as the Librarian of the Vatican Library (1860-1866) until his death. He assembled a large collection of prints that was particularly strong in the works of Old Masters and... more
Archive of Photographic Documentation of Early Massachusetts Architecture
This collection holds late 19th century photographs as well as engravings of 17th and 18th century buildings in Eastern Massachusetts. The mounted photographs and engravings were compiled by the Liberty Tree Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D. A. R.) and consist of homes,... more
The Birds of America: From Original Drawings by John James Audubon
The first edition of John James Audubon's Birds of America was issued through a collaboration between Audubon and the London printmakers Robert Havell, Sr. and Robert Havell, Jr., with some plates engraved by William H. Lizars, of Edinburgh. The prints were originally sold by subscription and... more
Boston and New England Maps (Collection of Distinction)
The primary geographical focus of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center's pre-20th-century Boston and New England Maps Collection is the local region, encompassing Boston, Massachusetts, and New England. The collection consists of more than 600 maps of the city of Boston and approximately 1,000... more
Boston Brewery Posters
Boston, in the early 1900s, was home to 31 breweries. There were 24 breweries in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain and all were located in the vicinity of Columbus Avenue, Heath, and Armory Streets. The abundant water supply from the aquifer along the Stony Brook, artesian wells around Mission Hill, and... more
Boston Pictorial Archive (Collection of Distinction)
The Boston Pictorial Archive is one of the largest distinct collections of images related to Boston held by a public institution and the essential resource for Boston architectural, social, and neighborhood history. It includes more than 6,000 images on paper representing the visual history of... more
The Boston Printmakers Collection
The idea for establishing The Boston Printmakers came from faculty members and students at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, whose goal was to promote printmaking in Boston. At the invitation of Arthur Heintzelman, Boston Public Library’s first Keeper of Prints and an... more
Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery
Boydell's Graphic Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakspeare represents the final chapter in a three-part, decades-long commercial publication venture undertaken by John Boydell. Between 1786 and 1804, Boydell prepared a sumptuous, illustrated edition of the works of Shakespeare, along... more
British Artists
Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to Boston Public Library collections, including this one, was provided by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.
Carte de Visite Collection
The carte de visite, also known as a CDV, was a photographic format first produced in the 1850s, which became wildly popular in the 1860s. It consisted of a small photographic print (typically an albumen print) mounted on card stock measuring approximately 2 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches. The cards were... more
Charles H. Woodbury (1864-1940). Prints, Drawings, Watercolors, Oil Paintings, and Copper Plates
Charles Herbert Woodbury (1864-1940) was an American painter and printmaker. Born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1886, Woodbury received a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT and then established a studio in Boston. Although known as a painter and a printmaker, Woodbury also was interested in... more
Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Prints and Drawings
Frederick Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935) was a painter, printmaker, draftsman, and illustrator. Born in Boston, Hassam began his artistic career by studying wood engraving and producing designs for letterheads, newspapers, and other commercial publications. In 1882, he established... more
Circus Posters
Advertising a circus was difficult before radio, television, and the Internet. To be successful and stay ahead of the competition, a circus owner had to market his show and create a brand that would be recognizable and generate repeat patrons. He had to advertise the features of his show to set... more
Colonial and Revolutionary America
Boston Public Library holds thousands of American manuscripts, printed books, and documents from the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods. The materials document American intellectual and political life before, during, and shortly after the Revolution. Highlights include: over 1,300 individual... more
Colonial and Revolutionary Boston (Collection of Distinction)
Boston Public Library holds thousands of manuscripts, correspondence, documents, and printed records from the Colonial and Revolutionary War periods. This collection is unparalleled in the extent of its administrative and judicial records of Massachusetts Bay Colony and early Boston. The... more
Costume & Set Designs
These images include original costume and set designs for a variety of operas and other stage productions such as Renato Virgilio's "Jana," Giuseppe Cicognani's "Il figlio del mare," Richard Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos," Ubaldo Pacchierotti and Alberto Colantuoni's "Eidelberga mia!," Ettore... more
Eadweard Muybridge's Animal Locomotion
Eadweard Muybridge's "Animal locomotion : An electro-photographic investigation of consecutive phases of animal movements, 1872-1885" was published by the University of Pennsylvania in 1887. The eleven volume set consisted of 781 plates printed by the Photogravure Company of New York. The... more
Early English Printers
The Boston Public Library holds a significant collection of books from the earliest years of English printing, including works from the presses of William Caxton, Richard Pynson, Wynkyn De Worde, and others. Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to... more
Early, Rare, and Exceptional Items from Special Collections, Rare Books
A curated selection of highlights from across the many collections held by the Boston Public Library's Rare Books and Manuscripts Department. Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to Boston Public Library collections, including this one, was provided... more
Edmund Blampied (1886-1966). Prints and Drawings
Edmund Blampied (English, 1886-1966) was a painter, printmaker, draftsman, illustrator, cartoonist, sculptor, and graphic designer.   Born in the Parish of Saint Martin, Jersey, Channel Islands, Blampied was inspired to draw by the people, animals, and landscape that he observed. After... more
English Caricature and Political Satire, 18th and 19th Centuries
Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to Boston Public Library collections, including this one, was provided by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.
Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910). Prints and Drawings
Sir Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910) was an English physician and printmaker. Born in London, Haden was trained as a physician and was admitted to membership in the College of Surgeons in 1842. He received no formal training as an artist. However, he made his first sketches from nature... more
Frank W. Benson (1862-1951). Prints and Drawings
Frank Weston Benson (American, 1862-1951) was a painter, printmaker, and educator. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Benson received his training as an artist at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Académie Julien in Paris. He subsequently became an instructor in painting and... more
French Artists
Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to Boston Public Library collections, including this one, was provided by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.
George Bellows (1882-1925). Prints and Drawings
George Bellows (1882-1925) was an American painter and printmaker. Born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1904 Bellows moved to New York, where he studied with Robert Henri. Although he continued to paint, in 1916 Bellows took up lithography and, working first with George C. Miller and later with Bolton... more
George Cruikshank (1792-1878). Prints and Drawings
George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was an English caricaturist and book illustrator. Born in London to Isaac Cruikshank, one of the leading English caricaturists of the 1790s, George received his early training as his father’s apprentice and assistant. Coming of age during a major period in the... more
Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778). Etchings
Born in Mogliano Veneto, near Venice, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) was one of the most important Italian printmakers of the period and his views of Rome continue to define modern ideas of the ancient city. He began an apprenticeship in architecture and engineering with his uncle, who... more
Grove Hall Memory Project
The Grove Hall Memory Project was an effort by the Grove Hall Branch of the Boston Public Library to capture stories and images from the lives of Roxbury residents and to explore the role of Roxbury in twentieth-century Boston. The goal of the project was to provide audio/visual "snapshots" of... more
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901). Prints and Drawings
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) was a French painter, draftsman, and printmaker. Although he regularly exhibited paintings and drawings throughout his career, Lautrec is best known for his lithographs and especially his posters, which celebrate the cabarets and the performers active in the... more
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904). Lithographs and Other Prints
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) was a French painter and printmaker. Born in Grenoble, he moved with his family to Paris in 1841. There, Fantin-Latour received his first drawing lessons from his father, Jean-Théodore Fantin-Latour, who was a portrait painter. In 1850, he began more formal... more
Honoré Daumier (1808-1879). Lithographs, Woodcuts, and Other Prints
The career of Honoré Daumier (French, 1808-1879) spanned one of the most turbulent periods in French history, including the Revolution of 1830, the Revolution of 1848, the rise of Napoleon III, and the Franco-Prussian War. Daumier established a reputation as a painter and a sculptor, as well as... more
Hugo Münsterberg Collection, 1890-1916
Hugo Münsterberg (June 1, 1863-December 16, 1916) was born in Danzing, Germany. He received his Ph.D. in psychology in 1885 and his medical degree in 1887. Münsterberg met William James in 1891 and, in 1892, James invited him to a three-year term in the psychological laboratory at Harvard.... more
Incunabula (Collection of Distinction)
Incunabula or incunables are defined as books printed from the time that Johann Gutenberg perfected moveable types sometime between 1440–1445 until January 1, 1501. The term comes from the Latin for “things from the cradle,” i.e., the cradle of printing. While learning and knowledge in the... more
James Gillray (1756-1815). Prints and Drawings
James Gillray (1756-1815), English caricaturist and printmaker, became one of the leading chroniclers of his country’s social habits and political struggles at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. Born in London, Gillray was apprenticed to an engraver for whom he... more
James McBey (1883-1959). Prints and Drawings
James McBey (1883-1959) was a Scottish painter and etcher. Born in Newburgh, Aberdeenshire, he left school at age 15 to work as a bank clerk while attending evening classes at Gray’s School of Art and teaching himself how to etch. In 1910, McBey decided to pursue a full-time career as an... more
James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). Lithographs, Etchings, and Drawings
James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was an American painter and printmaker born in Lowell, Massachusetts. Whistler received his first training as an artist in St. Petersburg, Russia, while his father was working there as a railroad engineer. Whistler’s early interest in art was... more
John Copley (1875-1950). Lithographs
Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to Boston Public Library collections, including this one, was provided by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.
John D. Merriam Collection
The John D. Merriam Collection is a collection devoted to illustration. The particular focus of the collection is original prints, drawings, and paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries that were created as illustrations for children's books and for children's magazines. However, in later... more
Joseph Pennell (1857-1926). Prints and Drawings
Joseph Pennell (American, 1857-1926) was an illustrator, printmaker, author, and lecturer. Born in Philadelphia, Pennell attended classes at the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art and at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. However, he was largely self-taught. Using his natural... more
Louis Prang & Company Chromolithographs
Louis Prang (1824-1909), a German immigrant, ran a highly successful printing firm in Boston during the late nineteenth century. His company produced high quality reproductions of major art work and greeting cards using the complex technique of chromolithography. Prang is often referred to as... more
M. C. Escher (1898-1972). Prints and Drawings
Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972), better known as M. C. Escher, was a Dutch draftsman and printmaker born in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. Escher created his first prints in 1916 while a secondary school student in Arnhem. From 1919 to 1922, he attended the School for Architecture and... more
Magic Posters
The world of magic has entertained and mystified humans since the first known performance of conjuring by the magician Dedi in ancient Egypt. The first book of magic tricks appeared in 1584. During the 1600s, many similar books were published that described magic tricks. Until the 18th century,... more
Margaret Fuller Papers, 1837-1884
This collection contains approximately 154 letters, poems, fragments, and journal extracts written by Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) from 1837 to 1850, including letters to William Henry Channing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Lewis Cass. This material provides insights into Fuller's thoughts about... more