Thursday, April 30, 2009

Analectic Magazine, Lithography, Naval History and The Star Spangled Banner

The most interesting and important American magazine of the second decade of the 19th century was The Analectic.(as was Joseph Dennie's Portfolio of the first decade) for many reasons- great literature, great history and great illustration.

Begun as an extension of an obscure journal, Select Reviews, it took on a life of its own in January 1813 under its new editor, the reknowned Washington Irving and articles by his brother-in-law, James Kirk Paulding. Irving's interest in the navy was reflected in his reviews and biographical works of such esteemed sailors as Commodore Perry. Irving lost interest in Magazine editorship in 1814 but the magazine continued to thrive, publishing, for the first time nationally, an anonymous military poem set to the music of an old english drinking song (Anacreon in Heaven) "Defense of Fort McHenry" later to be revered as "The Star Spangled Banner" as well as reviews of Lewis and Clark's expedition and an eclectic mix of great topical articles.

The July 1819 issue featured the first American lithogaph, by Bass Otis, here reproduced

The rear wrapper of the issue advertised a number of works by the prior editor and a later series featured early hand-colored engravings and this early view of the capitol in 1820.

Here is a random front wrapper with typically great engraving. I hope you have a better idea now about why wrappers are so important.

While were on landmark buildings, here's the first ever published image of the White House, in a British magazine gloating about their pyrrhic victory in burning it. What goes around, comes around as Uncle Sam said to John Bull!

Enjoy the spring, see you again soon.

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