A.E. Mathews: Idaho Springs & Fall River, Colorado


Alfred Edward Mathews.  Two images on one sheet: “Idaho [Springs], Clear Creek County,” and “Fall River, Clear Creek County.”  From Pencil Sketches of Colorado, Its Cities, Principal Towns and Mountain Scenery.  New York: A.E. Mathews, 1866.  Tinted lithograph by J. Bien.  Each 7 1/2 x 11.  Very good condition.  Framed.

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A.E. Mathews (1831-1874) was born in England but came to the United States at an early age and ended up being raised in Ohio.  He worked as a typesetter, itinerant bookseller, and school teacher, with a predilection for landscape sketching.  During the Civil War he served in the Union Army with Ohio troops, and made a number of excellent firsthand images of scenes behind the front, which were issued by the Cincinnati firm of Ehrgott & Forbriger.  After the war, Mathews settled in Denver where he produced a number of portfolios of views of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado and Montana, including the 1866 Pencil Sketches of Colorado.  These views are among the earliest views of the burgeoning American west after the Civil War.  Mathews took pains to make the views accurate and thus they provide important historical documentation of this important phase of American expansion to the west.   The Mathews views are among the rarest western images and provide a fascinating and decorative look at Colorado just five years after it became a territory and a decade before statehood.