Home for the Holidays


“Home for the Holidays.”  From Harper’s Weekly.  New York: January 2, 1869.  9 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. Of particular note are the genre images of daily life or, as in this case, how Americans celebrated the holidays.  This scene, issued the day after New Year’s Day in 1869, shows people returning ‘home for the holidays’ via train.