Western Paper Hangings Establishment, 501 Market Street, Philadelphia


William H. Rease, born in Pennsylvania circa 1818, was the most prolific lithographer of advertising prints in Philadelphia during the 1840s and 1850s. This advertisement shows the four-story storefront of John Ward’s Western Paper Hangings, covered in signage on the 1300 block of Market Street near the corner of Oak Street. Signs advertise "Paper Hanging Wholesale & Retail" and "Cash Paid for Rags," a reminder that cotton rags from used clothing were the raw material of the best paper. Two male patrons enter the store as a lady departs with a scroll in her hand. Two other women, one with a girl, admire the displays of paper hangings in the showcase windows, including pictures of the Capitol building, a romantic genre scene, and still lifes. A man and a boy walk past the Oak Street side of the business. Ward tenanted the site in about 1847−49. Rease became active in his trade around 1844, and through the 1850s he mainly worked with printers Frederick Kuhl and Wagner & McGuigan in the production of advertising prints known for their portrayals of human details. Although Rease often collaborated with other lithographers, by 1850 he promoted in O'Brien's Business Directory his own establishment at 17 South Fifth Street, above Chestnut Street. In 1855 he relocated his establishment to the northeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets (after a circa 1853−55 partnership with Francis Schell), where in addition to advertising prints he produced certificates, views, maps, and maritime prints.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Bryson & Cooper, Philadelphia


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph ; 52 x 35 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 831


  1. Holt, Sharon Ann, Occupation and Use of the 500 Block of Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1680-1850: An Historic Resource Study Conducted for Independence National Historical Park, http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/inhp/intro.html
  2. Rease, William H., Philadelphia on Stone Biographical Dictionary, Library Company of Philadelphia, http://www.lcpdigital.org

Last updated: September 2, 2015