19th Century New York, Illustrated
By: Michael Heller

Feb 11 , 2014

Michael Heller was the speaker at the February 11 meeting, on the topic of “19th Century New York City, Illustrated.”  The main focus was on illustrated advertising covers that depicted various NYC hotels and businesses throughout the borough of Manhattan during the 1800s.

The talk started with a couple of “cameo” covers from the 1850s and 1860s, including an unusual one that had cameo advertising on both front and back.  Where possible, Michael tried to give a little history regarding the business depicted on the cover.  As expected, the earlier covers reflected buildings located in the lower part of Manhattan, as that was the area that was first developed.  This included several versions of the famous Astor house.

A fair number of these covers were allover illustrations, including:  Lovejoy’s hotel; Howard hotel; Munn &Co. Scientific American; Barcelona hotel; Mallory & Butterfield; Peddie & Morrison trunk manufacturers; New York Sun; Ehrich’s millinery; Continental hotel; Sturtevant House; Harper & Brothers publishers and Earle’s hotel (3 different colors).

Amazingly, as the talk progressed, Wade Saadi was able to locate pictures of many of these buildings using his iPhone.  While most of the buildings shown on these old covers were long gone, a fair number still stood on the original ground.  The presentation closed with six covers showing different depictions of the Grand Union Hotel.  The hotel site, now replaced with a skyscraper, was located just a few blocks from the Collectors Club.