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19th Century American Trade Cards
Color lithographed Victorian-era trade cards were a key late 19th century advertising vehicle for national manufacturers and local businesses. These miniature posters, about the size of a postcard, were handed out as souvenirs at major expositions during the late Victorian period. They were... more
Along the Elevated: Photographs of the Orange Line
In the fall of 1985, four teams of photographers started a project to document the elevated Orange Line and the communities it served before its planned demolition in 1987. The project, conceived by the photographer Linda Swartz, and managed by Urbanarts, Inc. for the MBTA, paired a professional... 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 Civil War 20th Massachusetts Regiment (Collection of Distinction)
In 1892, Boston Public Library accessioned the personal collection of Francis W. Palfrey, a colonel in the American Civil War (1861–1865). These 287 books formed the cornerstone of the 20th Massachusetts Regiment Collection, a collection now totaling over 6,000 items including printed books,... more
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
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
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
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 (Mass.) Overseers of the Poor Indentures, 1734-1805
From 1630-1692, Boston's poor were the responsibility of the town Selectmen who believed that the welfare of the individual should come second to the religious and secular needs of the community and, conversely, that the community had a responsibility to the welfare of the individual. Thus,... more
Boston Matchcovers Collection
The bookmatch was patented in the 1890s by John Pusey, a Pennsylvania patent lawyer, who sold the patent outright to the Diamond Match Company in 1896. Soon after the sale, the bookmatch became hugely popular as an advertising giveaway and the first crudely printed example of its use appeared in... 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
Boston Wharf Company Collection
This collection of glass-plate negatives was given by the Boston Wharf Company to the Boston Public Library's Print Department in 1995. The negatives were taken circa 1898-1907 as a record of the buildings then owned and managed by the Boston Wharf Company in the Fort Point Channel Area of... 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
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
Cased Photographs
The term cased photograph refers specifically to two 19th century photographic media: the daguerreotype and the ambrotype, and, slightly less accurately, the tintype.The earliest and most important of these processes, the daguerreotype, consisted of a photographic image on a highly polished... more
Charles C. Perkins (1823-1886) Collection
Charles Callahan Perkins (1823-1886) spent much of his life in Boston as an author, art critic, and supporter of cultural activity, especially related to art and music. Following his studies at Harvard College, Perkins pursued additional studies in Europe. He is well known in Boston as a founder... 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