Walter Shirlaw. “A Rush to Death.” From Harper’s Weekly. New York, October 18, 1890. Wood engraving. 6 1/2 x 9 1/4. Very good condition.
Harper’s Weekly was a New York based newspaper in the last half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In weekly issues, Harper’s presented a mixture of news stories, gossip, poetry, and most notably, wood-engraved illustrations. These pictures remain one of the best sources for lively, informative images of nineteenth-century America. With photographs in a primitive stage, and no television, it is through these illustrations that much of the country got its visual information about the events, personalities and places of the time. These illustrations are also one of the few sources we have today for these same things. Of particular interest are the images of the American West, at a time when it was being “opened” by settlers from the United States to the east. These were almost all based on first-hand drawings, providing one of the few immediate sources of this important period in the region. This print was based on an incident in Montana with a Cheyenne chief and was based on a first-hand sketch by Walter Shirlaw.