Exhibitions

How the world saw Portland was shaped in large measure by the pictorial press, a popular new medium in the 1850s. While earlier publications provided few timely illustrations, these magazines featured illustrations as a means of weekly communication with a mass audience. The Illustrated London News was the first of this type in 1842, followed in quick succession by Gleason's in Boston in 1851 (later Ballou's Pictorial); then Frank Leslie's in 1854; and, Harper's Weekly in New York in 1857. Wood engravings, carved on the end grain for greater detail, were converted to metal through the new electrotype process. As a result, pictures could be printed rapidly alongside text on fast rotary presses, which was not possible with earlier reproduction methods. These technical advancements encouraged more topical and timely content, with illustration of current events available in as little as eight to ten days, a significant improvement over earlier methods.

View of Portland, Maine

Travel guides, textbooks and magazines presented city views as well. This selection includes a small wood engraving [101] published in Boston in 1835 in Family Magazine with Ft. Preble on the left and the peninsula in the background. Once a view was published, other publishers saw fit to reuse it. For example, this small 1850 steel engraving [102] appears to be taken from the large Whitefield view [see #13]. This small view appeared in an 1870 school geography [104].

View of Portland, Maine
From: Family Magazine, 1837
Wood engraving, 15.5 x 22 cm
Courtesy of Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Wellstood and Peters Portland, ME (After Whitefield View)

Wellstood and Peters
Portland, ME (After Whitefield View)
From: Views of American Cities, Published by Smith, Brothers & Co., 1850
Printed by Middleton, Wallace and Co., Cincinnati, Ohio
Steel engraving, 14 x 20.5 cm
Courtesy of Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

View of Portland

View of Portland [1883]
Engraving, 8.5 x 21 cm
Courtesy of Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Portland From Peaks Island

Portland From Peaks Island
From: Picturesque America, William Cullen Bryant, editor
New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1872
Engraving by Harley. 26 x 17 cm
Courtesy of Peter F. Morelli

Gleason’s Views of Portland (Five views on two pages)

Gleason’s Views of Portland
(Five views on two pages)
From: Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion
(September 24, 1853: 200-201)
Wood engraving, 38.5 x 57 cm
Courtesy of Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Ballou’s Views of Portland (four views on two pages)

Ballou’s Views of Portland (four views on two pages)
From: Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion
(July 25, 1857: 56-57)
Wood engraving, 38.5 x 57 cm
Courtesy of Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Ballou’s Views of Portland (five views on two pages)

Ballou’s Views of Portland (five views on two pages)
From: Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion
(December 1857)
Wood engraving, 38 x 56 cm
Courtesy of Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.

Ballou’s Views of Portland (four views on two pages)

Ballou’s Views of Portland
(four views on two pages)
From: Ballou’s Pictorial Drawing
Room Companion
Wood engraving, 38.5 x 56.5
Courtesy of Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.