Charles Magnus. “The Presidents of Our Great Republic.” New York: Charles Magnus, 1853. Engraving. 6 1/2 x 9 1/2. Very good condition.
This intricate engraving celebrates the latest president of the United States along with his predecessors. The assemblage is surmounted by an eagle with the crest of the U.S. on his chest and holding the arrows of war and the olive branch of peace. Massed flags drape top and sides, and olive branches are entwined among the presidential portraits and stars which represent the states. The motto “E Pluribus Unum” appeals for an end of sectionalism which was currently dividing the states in conflicts that would lead to Civil War in a mere seven years. This beautiful engraving could have served as a separately issued commemorative, inspirational print or even as a letterhead for stationery. Magnus issued many prints and maps in New York from 1850 through the 1870s, and this is a fine example of his work.