Two of the Killers

This lithograph from 1848 shows two outlandishly dressed members of the Philadelphia gang known as the “Killers.” One man sits on a fire hydrant and the other leans against a lamp pole (posted with a “Sale” notice) on a street tenanted by a grocery and adorned with broadsides. The men wear patterned pants, jackets with tails, oversized neck ties, and top hats. One also wears a pin reading “K.” They each have their hands in their pockets and are smoking cigarettes. The grocery displays a barrel of brooms in addition to signs reading “Coffee Sugar Tea” and “Teas Coffee 5.” A broadside on the opposite building reads, “Auction this Evening.” A playbill, illustrated with a scene of an equestrian trick, advertises, “Circus: The Old Man of the Mountain . . . Dan Rice, Clown.” The Killers, organized circa 1846, were a band of young men who menaced the Moyamensing neighborhood and were associated with the Moyamensing Hose Company and the Democratic Keystone Club. This print was produced by John J. Childs (circa 1819–80), an artist and lithographer who was a prolific publisher of lithographic cartoons, genre scenes, and social satires in the mid-19th century. Born in England, Childs resided in New York and Boston before relocating to Philadelphia in 1847. From 1848 to 1852 he worked from the lithographic establishment of Frederick Kuhl (born circa 1812). By 1855, Childs had established his own firm, where he produced predominately cartoon prints.

Philadelphia Cemetery on the Passyunk Road

This lithograph from circa 1850 shows a view of the chapel at Philadelphia Cemetery (also referred to as New Philadelphia Cemetery), fronting on Passyunk Avenue between Twentieth and Twenty-second Streets. Pedestrians linger outside of the stone wall and carriage gate. Philadelphia Cemetery opened in 1828; the last burial there occurred in 1902. The bodies were removed to Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill circa 1915. The print was produced by Thomas S. Sinclair (circa 1805–81). Sinclair was born in the Orkney Islands of Scotland and was active in Philadelphia by 1833, where he soon had his own business and was one of the first local printmakers to experiment with color lithography. A practical lithographer throughout his career, Sinclair produced all genres of lithographs, including maps, advertisements, city and landscape views, sheet music covers, portraiture, political cartoons, certificates, and book illustrations.

John C. Farr and Company, Importers of Watches, Watchmakers Tools, Silver and Plated Ware, Musical Boxes, Et cetera. Number 112 Chestnut Street between Third and Fourth Streets, Philadelphia

This advertising print from circa 1850 shows street and pedestrian activity in front of the four-story corner storefront of the jewelry and watch store located at 112 ( i.e., 316) Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. A sign illustrated with a watch and reading, “No. 112 John C. Farr & Co. Wholesale and Retail,” adorns the side of the building. The sign is over a window with a shade that advertises watches, jewelry, and silverware. At the store entrance, a clerk greets two ladies and a girl between the display windows filled with silverware, jewelry, and watches. In front of the store, a lady and gentleman converse near the horses of an out-of-view carriage. At the corner, a man (possibly a store clerk) talks with two ladies who are accompanied by a child and dog. A partial view of the neighboring business (Eugene Roussel, perfumer) can be seen, including signage and the display window of the shop. This print also contains a Gothic-style border and pictorial elements that flank the central image. The pictorial elements are a clock sculpture, a pocket watch, and embellished text reading, “Watches” and “Jewelry.” Text at the bottom reads: “John C. Farr & Co. Importers of watches, watchmakers tools. Silver & plated ware, musical boxes, &c.” Farr started his business in the mid-1820s and changed the firm name to John C. Farr & Company in 1850. The business relocated circa 1854. This lithograph was printed by one of the most prominent lithographers and printers of the day, Peter S. Duval. Duval was born circa 1804 or 1805 in France. He emigrated from France to Philadelphia in the fall of 1831 to accept a job as a lithographer with the printing firm of Childs & Inman. By 1837 he had established his lithographic printing shop; he remained in business until his retirement in 1869.

St. Mark's Church, Philadelphia

This lithograph from circa 1850 shows an exterior view of the Gothic-style Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church, located at 1607-1627 Locust Street in Philadelphia. Saint Mark’s Church was built between 1848 and 1851 after the designs of the Scottish-born architect and landscape designer John Notman (1810–65). Below the image is the church seal with a motto reading, “Sigillum Ecclesiae S. Marci Philada. 1848.” Saint Mark’s was founded in 1847 by a group of Philadelphians intent on following the spiritual principles of the Oxford Movement, a current within the Anglican Church that downplayed the Protestant character of the English church and emphasized the continued relevance of the Catholic tradition. Services were conducted using the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, for example, and the rectors of the parish always wore beautifully designed and decorated vestments. Notman’s neo-Gothic style was in keeping with the spiritual aspirations and traditions of the church. The maker of the print, originally part of a scrapbook and heavily damaged in the upper left hand corner, is unknown.

West Philadelphia Institute

This lithograph from 1853 shows a view of the proposed building of the West Philadelphia Institute, a mechanics’ institute. The building was erected in 1853 on Williams (i.e., North 39th) Street, north of Market Street in Philadelphia. Two men are pictured here in a bucolic setting; they walk up a path leading to the small Georgian- and Florentine-style two-story building, which has several windows. The building contained a library, a lecture hall, and classrooms intended to help young men to educate themselves and to avoid vice during their free time. The building was purchased in 1871 by the Board of the Presbyterian Hospital and the institute was relocated to 40th and Ludlow streets. The print was produced by Thomas S. Sinclair (circa 1805–81). Sinclair was born in the Orkney Islands of Scotland and was active in Philadelphia by 1833, where he soon had his own business and was one of the first local printmakers to experiment with color lithography. A practical lithographer throughout his career, Sinclair produced all genres of lithographs, including maps, advertisements, city and landscape views, sheet music covers, portraiture, political cartoons, certificates, and book illustrations.

Account of a Conspiracy Organized by the Negroes in the Island of Saint-Domingue

This short work consists of two letters relating to a planned slave uprising in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1758. The context and importance of the letter are explained in an introductory paragraph by an anonymous editor: “Two letters were delivered to us. One is from Cap-Français, Island of Saint-Domingue, and one from the person to whom this letter was addressed. As this person knows perfectly well per se the current state of this island, we will give his letter first, to serve as an introduction to the next. The content of these letters is too important, in the present circumstances, not to give them to the public. As we shall see, the Negroes are seeking to take control of the country by causing death to the masters, only Jesuits are spared, and the latter openly protect the Negroes, by prohibiting those who are tortured unto death from revealing their perpetrators and accomplices. Does one not declare oneself an accomplice by denying the only way to eradicate this dreadful conspiracy?” The document is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Domingue), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Proclamation. In the Name of the Republic. We, Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, Civil Officer of the Republic, Delegate in the Islands of the French West Indies to Re-establish Law and Public Order

In August 1791, slaves in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) staged a massive revolt, setting in train the chain of events that ultimately led to the founding of independent Haiti in 1804. In 1792, the de facto government of revolutionary France sent Etienne Polverel and Léger-Félicité Sonthonax as civil commissioners to the colony for the purpose of enforcing a decree by the National Assembly, which enfranchised free blacks and mulattoes but did not yet free the colony’s slaves. Presented here is a broadside with the text of a proclamation issued by Sonthonax on August 21, 1793, concerning the marriage rights between a free man and an enslaved woman, whose master would receive compensation paid by the Republic. Under growing pressure from the revolt and threatened by invading British forces, on August 29, 1793, Sonthonax issued a decree freeing the slaves in the northern part of the colony, for which he was responsible. Polverel followed two weeks later with a proclamation freeing all slaves in the west. The document is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Domingue), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Proclamation. In the Name of the Republic. We, Etienne Polverel and Léger-Félicité Sonthonax, Civil Officers of the Republic, Whom the French Nation Sent to this Country to Establish Law and Order

The broadside presented here is a rare copy of the official Creole text, translated from the French, of a proclamation issued in the colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) granting freedom to enslaved women and to the children of newly emancipated slaves. The articles describe the procedures by which slaves could be married and the laws that governed the status of women and children after marriage. The document also specifies the value of women and of children of both sexes by age and thereby the amount of indemnity to be paid to their masters. The translation into Creole was a radical step, taken so that the slaves might know exactly what rights they had under the proclamation. In August 1791, slaves in Saint-Domingue staged a massive revolt, setting in train the chain of events that ultimately led to the founding of independent Haiti in 1804. In 1792, the de facto government of revolutionary France sent Etienne Polverel and Léger-Félicité Sonthonax as civil commissioners to the colony for the purpose of enforcing a decree by the National Assembly enfranchising free blacks and mulattoes, but that did not yet free the colony’s slaves. Under growing pressure from the revolt and threatened by invading British forces, on August 29, 1793, Sonthonax issued a decree freeing the slaves in the northern part of the colony, for which he was responsible. Polverel followed two weeks later with a proclamation freeing all slaves in the west. The proclamation presented here was issued by both Polverel and Sonthonax— in the name of the French Republic. The document is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Dominique), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Almanac of Saint-Domingue for the Year 1765, with the Names of the Public Officials in the Colony

This almanac of the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) for the year 1765 was published by the firm of Antoine Marie, official printers for the colony, in Cap-Français (present-day Cap-Haïtien). The book begins with a listing of the major Catholic religious holidays, predicted eclipses, and other general information, followed by entries for the twelve months of the year. The listing for each month shows the days of the month, the saint or religious feast associated with each day, and the four phases of the moon (full, last quarter, new, and first quarter) for the month. The calendar of months is followed by a list of the princes and princesses of France and their dates of birth, beginning with King Louis XV and his wife, Queen Marie. Most of the remainder of the book is taken up by a comprehensive listing of the government and religious officials in the colony, such as the members of the royal council and other governing officials, the apostolic prefect and the curés of all parishes, naval and military officers, judges and lawyers, notaries, and many others. The last pages are taken up by a schedule of the courier services on the island linking the towns and cities of Fort-Dauphin (present-day Fort-Liberté), Port-de-Paix, Port-au-Prince, Saint-Marc, Léogane, and several other locations. Almanach de Saint Domingue pour l'année 1765 is one of the earliest books printed in the colony. The book is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Domingue), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Essay on Paper, Read in the Public Meeting held by Cercle des Philadelphes, August 15, 1788

In the second half of the 18th century, the French colony of Saint-Domingue emerged as one of the wealthiest territories in the Western hemisphere. Its economy was heavily based on slave labor and the production of sugar. Cap-Français (present-day Cap-Haïten) was the cultural capital of the colony and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Americas. In August 1785 a group of white residents of the city founded the Cercle des Philadelphes, a society whose aim was to elevate the intellectual and cultural level of their colony. In its brief seven-year existence, the society became one of the most prestigious of the colonial learned societies. Its members applied themselves to the study of the physical conditions, natural history, and medicine of the colony, with the goal of promoting improvements in agriculture, manufactures, and the arts and sciences. Presented here is the published version of an essay that was read to the society on August 15, 1788, on the topic of the preservation of paper. The author, Charles Arthaud, was royal physician and head of the society. The essay contains a review of the methods used by different civilizations, including the Egyptian, Roman, Chinese, and pre-Columbian Mexican and Peruvian, to create and preserve a written documentary record, and it offers observations on the types of paper that seemed best able to resist damage and destruction by insects in the tropical climate. The essay concludes by noting the decision of the society to sponsor a competition and to offer a prize to anyone who could succeed in manufacturing in the colony an insect-resistant paper. The book is from Les imprimés à Saint-Domingue (Imprints from Saint-Domingue), a collection held by the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Pères du Saint-Esprit that includes approximately 150 texts printed in Saint-Domingue before independence in 1804. The books were produced between 1764 and 1804 at presses in Cap-Français, Port-au-Prince, and Les Cayes and were digitized in 2006 with the support of the L’Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).