General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún: The Florentine Codex. Book IV: The Art of Divination

Historia general de las cosas de nueva España (General history of the things of New Spain) is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. Commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex, the manuscript consists of 12 books devoted to different topics. Book IV deals with the art of divination, or judicial astrology as practiced by the Aztecs, and in particular with the Tonalpohualli (ritual calendar). The Mesoamericans used two calendars, one solar and the other ritual. The Xiuhpohualli (solar calendar) had a cycle of 365 days divided into 18 months of 20 days each, plus five days considered inauspicious. The ritual calendar consisted of 260 days and was formed by associating the numbers from 1 to 13 with 20 different signs. A table that was principally used by priests in divination is reproduced in striking detail on folios 329r and 329v. Among the other illustrations in Book IV is a gruesome depiction of anthropophagy, or ritual cannibalism, which often was practiced as part of the rite of human sacrifice. Sahagún describes the sacrifice in relation to the festivals of Xipe Tótec, the god of spring and regeneration, and of Huitzilopochtli, the god of war and of the sun (folio 268r). Prisoners were taken to the temple of Huitzilopochtli, killed, and their flesh consumed by the notables. By means of this practice, the strength of the enemy was consumed and assumed by their captors, in a kind of communion with the dead person and with the gods.

General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún: The Florentine Codex. Book V: Omens and Superstitions

Historia general de las cosas de nueva España (General history of the things of New Spain) is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. Commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex, the manuscript consists of 12 books devoted to different topics. Book V deals with omens, auguries, and superstitions. As in Book IV, on divination, Sahagún cites ancient native traditions gleaned from questionnaires and interactions with Nahua elders. Sahagún’s enduring interest in this subject was scholarly and ethnographic, but fundamentally religious in its motivation. He believed that many of the conversions to Christianity claimed by Catholic priests in Mexico were superficial, and masked lingering adherence to pagan beliefs. As he wrote in the prologue to his work, the “sins of idolatry and idolatrous rites, superstitions and omens, and superstitions and idolatrous ceremonies have not disappeared altogether. In order to preach against these things or even to be aware of their existence, we must be familiar with how they were practiced in pagan times, [because] through our ignorance, they [the Indians] do many idolatrous things without our understanding it.”

General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún: The Florentine Codex. Book VI: Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy

Historia general de las cosas de nueva España (General history of the things of New Spain) is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. Commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex, the manuscript consists of 12 books devoted to different topics. Book VI is concerned with rhetoric and moral philosophy. It contains texts that Sahagún collected around 1547, in the earliest stage of his research into indigenous culture, from oral recitations by Nahua elders. Known as Huehuetlahtolli (Ancient word), these texts embodied, according to Sahagún, “the rhetoric, moral philosophy, and theology of the Mexican people, in which there are many curious things exhibiting the beauties of the language and very delicate things relating to the moral virtues.” Although he was repelled by Aztec religion, Sahagún was deeply impressed by the wisdom and beauty of the ancient texts, and he quotes at length, for example, a talk delivered by a Nahua father to a daughter who has reached the age of reason. An illustration of parents exhorting their children is at folio 80r. In the original binding, Book VI was the beginning of the second volume. It thus opens with a dedication to Rodrigo de Sequera, commissary general of the Franciscan Order and a great admirer of Sahagún’s work. A similar dedication originally was placed at the beginning of Book I, but it subsequently was torn out and survives only in a later copy of the codex.

View of the Department for Colored Children of the House of Refuge

This print depicts the buildings of the Department for Colored Children of the House of Refuge in Philadelphia, including the girls’ dormitories, the girls’ dining and sewing rooms, the supervisors’ rooms and the main entrance, the boys’ dormitories, and the boys’ school rooms. A tall brick wall surrounds the rear and sides of the complex of buildings and two men and a boy are seen talking in the foreground. The lithograph is also used as one of a pair of illustrations printed on textile in 1858, as well as the frontispiece to the Thirtieth Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the House of Refuge, the other being “View of the Department for White Children of the House of Refuge.” Founded in 1828, the House of Refuge was the first institution in Pennsylvania charged with reforming and educating juveniles accused of delinquency and providing an alternative to prison. These buildings, located between Parrish and Brown Streets between 22nd and 24th Streets, opened in 1850.

Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb

This lithograph is an exterior view of the Pennsylvania Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, located at the northwest corner of Broad and Pine Streets in Philadelphia. Designed by Philadelphia architect John Haviland, the building was constructed in 1824–26, soon after the school's founding. The illustration was created by artist Albert Newsam (1809–64) and was used as the frontispiece for the annual report of the board of directors of the institution for the year 1850. Born deaf and mute in Steubenville, Ohio, Newsam showed artistic promise as a young boy. At age 11, he was taken to Philadelphia by a man who posed as a deaf-mute brother and intended to exploit the boy's artistic skills for his own gain. Newsam secured a safe haven at the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, where he received an education. In 1827, he became an apprentice at the engraving firm of Cephas G. Childs and by 1829 was supplying Childs with many of the prints he offered to the public. Most noted for his portraits, Newsam later became the principal artist at the firm of Peter S. Duval.

In Commemoration of the Great Parade of the Philadelphia Fire Department, October 16th, 1865

This tinted print commemorates the great parade of the Philadelphia Fire Department on October 16, 1865, and is dedicated to the Philadelphia firemen and their “visiting brethren.” The text at the bottom lists the fire companies participating in the parade, mainly from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, but some from as far away as Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. The print is based on an illustration by Francis H. Schell (1834–1909), an artist, illustrator, and lithographer in Philadelphia, who later worked in New York for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper as a “special artist.” The lithographer was James Queen (circa 1820–1886), a Philadelphia native who was apprenticed to the firm of Duval and Lehman in 1835 and did most of his work for the firm of P.S. Duval.

View of the Department for White Children of the House of Refuge

This print depicts the buildings of the Department for White Children of the House of Refuge in Philadelphia, including the girls’ dormitories (first and second class), the girls’ work and sitting room, the officers’ rooms and main entrance, the boys’ dormitories, and the boys’ workshop. The lithograph is one of a pair of illustrations also printed on textile in 1858, as well as was used as the frontispiece to the Thirtieth Annual Report of the Board of Managers of the House of Refuge, the other being “View of the Department for Coloured Children of the House of Refuge.” Founded in 1828, the House of Refuge was the first institution in Pennsylvania charged with reforming and educating juveniles accused of delinquency and providing an alternative to prison. These buildings, located between Parrish and Brown Streets between 22nd and 24th Streets, opened in 1850.

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia

In the 1830s, a group of influential Philadelphians wanted to establish a rural cemetery that would be naturalistic, serene, and in genteel seclusion. They settled on Laurel Hill at 3822 Ridge Avenue, the former estate of merchant Joseph Sims, which had rocky bluffs and spectacular views and was about six kilometers from the city center. The cemetery was built in 1836–39 after the designs of Scottish-born architect and landscape designer John Notman. This view shows the main gate. A man on horseback rides past the cemetery, in which the Gothic-style funerary chapel is visible in the background. Countryside and trees dominate the foreground. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced paintings and prints of Philadelphia and other American cities, including Cincinnati, Saint Louis, and Davenport, Iowa. His works are important historical records of these cities before the era of large-scale industrialization and rapid urban growth.

Manayunk near Philadelphia

This lithograph shows the textile village of Manayunk along the east bank of the Schuylkill River, northwest of Philadelphia. The townscape includes Joseph Ripka's cotton mills, which were erected in 1831 and 1835 and were part of one of the largest textile businesses in the United States at the time. In the background is Flat Rock Turnpike Bridge, a long covered bridge that stood from 1810 to 1850. Manayunk’s plentiful water supply and good transport links made it important in the nation’s industrial revolution. The village was incorporated into the city of Philadelphia in 1854. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced paintings and prints of Philadelphia and other American cities, including Cincinnati, Saint Louis, and Davenport, Iowa. His works are important historical records of these cities before the era of large-scale industrialization and rapid urban growth.

Merchants' Exchange

This lithograph shows the view looking northeast from the intersection of Dock, Third, and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia to the Merchants' Exchange. Built between 1832 and 1833 to the designs of William Strickland (1788–1854), the exchange functioned as a commercial and financial hub and post office and was the first large central building in Philadelphia for the conduct of business. Men are seen walking around and horse-drawn omnibuses arrive at and are parked in front of the building. Light pedestrian traffic is visible in the street and at the corners, including near the office of the Saturday Courier. The print also shows streetcar tracks in the foreground and another omnibus passing Girard National Bank (formerly the First Bank of the United States) in the background. The illustration is by John Caspar Wild (circa 1804–46), a Swiss-born artist and lithographer, who arrived in Philadelphia from Paris in 1832. He produced paintings and prints of Philadelphia and other American cities, including Cincinnati, Saint Louis, and Davenport, Iowa. His works are important historical records of these cities before the era of large-scale industrialization and rapid urban growth.