CHICAGO ILLUSTRATED. 1830. 1866. LITERARY DESCRIPTION BY JAMES W. SHEAHAN ESQ. ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE CHICAGO LITHOGRAPHING Co
by Sheahan, James W.
Chicago: Published by Jevne & Almini, 1867. Fifty-two tinted lithographic plates (four of them colored), each with a leaf of letterpress description. One of the colored plates (Custom House) with some slightly later hand-coloring. Original wrapper for Part 4 (April, 1866) bound in at front, followed by original printed prospectus. Oblong folio. Contemporary three quarter black morocco and pebbled cloth, spine gilt, neatly rebacked, original spine laid down. A very good copy. A marvellous collection of views of Chicago - drawn, described, and published by Chicagoans - providing the best visual description of Chicago before the destruction wreaked by the Great Fire of 1871. The scarce prospectus for the work (present here) asserts that CHICAGO ILLUSTRATED would provide views giving "striking evidences of the City's improvement and enterprise." It was promised that there would be twenty-five total parts, "with each to contain at least four tinted Lithographic Views" for a total of 100 or more views, giving "a comprehensive picture of this marvelous city." Ultimately, only thirteen parts were issued, each with four plates, for a total of fifty-two views. The publishers, Otto Jevne and Peter Almini, had been best known as decorators specializing in ornamental paintings and frescos. They teamed with the talented lithographer, Austrian-born Louis Kurz, to form the Chicago Lithographing Company, under whose imprint this work was issued. Kurz and two other lithographers, Otto Knirsch and Edward Carqueville, created the lovely views, which show a wide variety of buildings and places in Chicago. Included are views of the Chamber of Commerce, the Great Central Depot Grounds, Tremont House, the Customs House, Michigan Avenue, LaSalle Street, Chicago University, the Union Stock Yards, and the Water Works. A great variety of structures, parks, and commercial enterprises are shown, including churches, banks, busy docks and rivers, parks, theatres, the opera house, hotels, railroads, entertainments, etc., showing a bustling city that had become a great center of commerce and culture. One of the colored illustrations dramatically shows a building being engulfed by the "Great Fire on Lake Street" of 1866. The text was written by James W. Sheahan, a journalist from the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. CHICAGO ILLUSTRATED was originally issued in monthly parts (costing $1.50 per part) from January, 1866 to January, 1867, when the project was ended. This set is notable for containing the original front wrapper for Part 4 (April, 1866) and for also containing the original printed prospectus. The wrapper shows views of Chicago past (an Indian family by the lake) and present (an elegantly dressed man and woman walking along the river), and also shows a view of Jevne and Almini's Chicago Lithographic Company offices, a four-story building on South Clark Street. Their office was located in the district destroyed by the 1871 fire which, along with the limited number of sets of CHICAGO ILLUSTRATED that were created, contributes to its rarity. A beautiful and rare visual tour of Chicago a few years before the Great Fire. HOWES J108, "d." SABIN 12623. CHICAGO ANTE-FIRE IMPRINTS 1047.
(Inventory #: WRCAM46507)
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