RAE'S PHILADELPHIA PICTORIAL DIRECTORY & PANORAMIC ADVERTISER
by Rae, Julio H., publisher
[Philadelphia]: Julio H. Rae, 1851.  text leaves and sixteen lithographed plates (several folding). Oblong quarto. Original gold-printed black wrappers bound into contemporary cloth, neatly rebacked, gilt label on front cover. Very good. In a half morocco and cloth box. Provenance: John McAllister (book label). A remarkable city directory and business promotional, illustrating eight blocks of Chestnut Street in downtown Philadelphia in sixteen beautifully executed lithographs. Following in the long tradition of the city directory but taking it to new heights, publisher Julio H. Rae produced "the first truly visual directory" (Miles & Reese) of an American city. Each plate depicts a block or a portion of a block of Philadelphia's main commercial thoroughfare, between 2nd and 10th streets. Both sides of the block are pictured, and each plate is keyed to an accompanying text leaf carrying advertisements from the merchants depicted. Taller buildings are shown in their complete elevation on folding plates, with the grandest plate folding out vertically and horizontally and showing the State House. A note on the facade of the building reads: "Declaration of Independence signed in this room." While not every merchant on Chestnut Street subscribed to the work, leaving some buildings unadorned on the plates, Rae's work carries advertisements for all manner of businesses, from hatters, jewelers, tailors, and grocers, to hotels, druggists, daguerreotypists, and Welch's National Circus and Theatre. Rae intended to update his Chestnut Street directory each year, showing changes in the businesses, and announced a similar work covering Market Street from the Delaware River to Broad Street. Apparently he was too ambitious, and neither project came to fruition. Rae was not exaggerating, however, in his preface when he wrote that he "felt confident that he has hit upon a system not only novel and beautiful, but exceedingly useful, and one of which he believes to be entirely unique." This copy bears the ownership markings of noted Philadelphia collector John A. McAllister (1822-96), whose spectacles and mathematical instruments shop appears in the directory on the very first plate. A magnificent work, which heralded a new era in display advertising, and a nice association copy. MILES & REESE, AMERICA PICTURED TO THE LIFE 75.
(Inventory #: WRCAM32691B)
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