Tennis in North Meadows, Central Park.


W.T. Smedley. “The North Meadows, Central Park: A Proposed Site for Some of the Buildings of the World’s Fair of 1892.” From Harper’s Weekly. New York, October 5, 1889. 20 1/2 x 13 3/4. Wood engraving. Very good condition.

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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. Major artists were employed to do drawings on the spot, which were then turned into lively and detailed prints in an amazingly short period of time. While originally issued in large numbers, few have survived the ages in good condition. These are interesting, historical and very collectible prints.  The sporting prints from Harper’s are of particular interest because they are some of the only early images of many of today’s most popular sports.