American Hotel. Henry A. Charter. Chestnut Street, opposite the State House, Philadelphia


This advertising print from around 1848 shows a view of the American Hotel, located on Chestnut Street, opposite the State House (today known as Independence Hall) in Philadelphia. The five-story hotel was built by John L. Ridgway in 1844 at 181−83 (later 517−19) Chestnut Street. Male and female guests sit under an awning on the front porch, enter the building, and stroll on the second floor balcony. Other patrons are visible, through the open windows and entrance, in the saloon and at the front desk. Curtains adorn several of the upper windows. Rolled carpets are showcased in the display windows of the business of "J. & B. Orne," a tenant in the hotel building. Henry A. Charter, originally with partner C. James McClellan, served as the proprietor 1845−48. Next door is the haberdashery of J. Sill and Company. The print is by William H. Rease, the most prolific lithographer of advertising prints in Philadelphia during the 1840s and 1850s. Born in Pennsylvania circa 1818, Rease became active in his trade around 1844. 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, a listing in O'Brien's Business Directory indicates that by 1850 he had founded his own establishment at 17 South Fifth Street, north of Chestnut Street. After a partnership with Francis Schell that lasted from about 1853 to 1855, in 1855 he relocated his shop to the northeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets, where, in addition to advertising prints, he produced certificates, views, maps, and maritime prints.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Thomas Sinclair's Lithography, Philadelphia


Title in Original Language

American Hotel. Henry A. Charter. Chestnut Street, opposite the State House Philadelphia

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : lithograph ; 53 x 43 centimeters


  • Digital catalog number: POS 17

Last updated: September 2, 2015