Michael Heller presented at the February 10 meeting on the topic “19th Century Boston, Illustrated.” The focus here was on illustrated advertising covers that depicted various hotels, factories and businesses in Boston, between 1850 and the 1890s.
The talk started with a blue cameo advertising cover from the American House, circa 1852, that depicted the hotel prior to its 1851 enlargement. The next two covers showed cameos (in green and red) of the enlarged hotel. The illustrations on these covers were then compared to large prints of the actual building (both before and after the renovation), and they appeared to match rather closely!
Another set of illustrated cameo covers showed the continued use of a basic picture (that of the Quincy Hall Agricultural Warehouse), even though the company (a major plow manufacturer) changed ownership several times. Other highlights included: Abram French (crockery); Chickering and Sons (piano fortes); Marlboro Hotel; Boston Daily Advertiser (two different overall illustrations); Belmont Hotel; Rogers & Co. (overall illustrations); Central House; Boston Herald; and the New England Conservatory of Music.