tv American History TV CSPAN March 12, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm EST
of the most sought-after likenesses was that of the george washington, the commander-in-chief of the continental army. how is it that american i am pleased to invite wendy to discuss the pictures of washington that circulated. wendy reeves was curator of america of the print and drawings at the smithsonian national portrait gallery. during the 40 years of her tenure, she developed collections that include drawings, fine art, and popular prints, rare books, caricatures, and posters. miss reeves has curated numerous exhibitions and has lectured widely. her publications include books on 20th-century portraiture, prints, drawings, posters,
characters, as well as many articles. directord as interim at the portrait gallery from may 2012 to march 2013. she received a masters degree in early american culture, and she is a former board member of the print council of america. reaves? [applause] ms. reaves: thank you so much, kendall, and good evening. comealways a pleasure to to this lovely place and a particular honor to be asked to help celebrate george .ashington's birthday i am very happy to share with you perhaps a slightly different picture of george washington then is typical -- than is typical. thank you all for coming out on such a miserable evening.
the exulted lyrics of a federal song in the exalted camp bothled "washington" -- snow longer with pride and dignity, your matchless strength at sea, since we, your braver sons, incensed, have soared on. huzzah, huzzah, huzzah! for war and washington! the rebels, the next verse complains, laugh at all of your pomp. cheeky lyrics are printed on a broadsided, adorned at the top with a pair of relief cut profile portraits, assumedly washington on the left, and on the right, major general artemis ward, who one writer discussed as heavyset and pious-looking.
george washington's patient willingness to pose for artists produced for future generations multiple portraits made from life to help us understand the man who anchors so much of the nation's founding history. i'm sure you are familiar with those paintings and sculptures. my goal is to take you beyond yesse artists' discerning e to suggest another view of washington that is circulated broadly through all levels of society during his own day. what these images lack in refinement they make up for in which hasfervor, interesting implications for the nature of washington's leadership and the dissemination of his fame way before the posthumous mythmaking began. at the beginning of the revolutionary war, pictures of emerging heroes were eagerly sought, even for inexpensive
publications, but likenesses were dubious or very roughly insinuated. wased, this broadside probably preceded by the appearance of the same profile bickerstaff's boston almanac for 1778 or the caption leads us to believe they depicted the glorious washington and gates. the road profile could indeed have been made to represent not artemis ford but major general who was also, round-faced and double-shinned -- double-chinned. gates firstnd arrived in boston to take command of the continental army. of likenessability identities, the struggling columnists desperately needed heroes, and more than anything,
they needed to believe in the commander-in-chief. let's examine this fascinating pennsylvania german almanac. published in lancaster in 1778 for the following year. remember,dle, let's of a discouraging war where the news from the battlefield was rarely good. what can we discover about george washington in the iconographic jumble of the pictorial cover? some of the imagery pertains to almanac-making. zodiac, an astronomer upfront, a rider on horseback carrying a calendar, a multi-masted ship of commerce metaphorically connects the old world, conveyed by a vaguely medieval town in ruins, with the new world represented in the left background by a bow and
arrow-toting brave in front of indian longhouses. i don't know if you can see that. sorry. it's right there. in the right foreground, a bear-breasted indian princess. hovering prominently above this iconographical melee is the allegorical figure of fame with her attribute, a trumpet, holding a portrait labeled washington. remarkably, from the mouth of ,er trumpet emerged the words "the father of his country." is it perhaps the first usage of that particular honorific? the profile can't be said to represent a likeness, and washington is quite tiny here, but he wears a laurel reef -- e
reath and bears that title of "founder" and "substitute for a king." in the pictorial imagery, fame has a good grip on washington, literally and figuratively. from an early point in the war, even before he had proved himself as a commander. curiosity about the emerging american hero existed in england and on the continent, as well, where wildly fictitious likenesses were easy to perpetrate on an unknowing public. one egregious example was a set of english portraits of washington and his generals published around 1775 by c. shepherd and thomas hart. general thomas lee serves as one example. with some variation in pose, the
americans all represent each other with their hats, wide lapels, sashes, and pudgy faces. mezzotints spun off copies and illustrations, such as this depicting washington from an .the warl history of in america published in 1780 printmakers in america struggled demand, but they also added a proud patriotic loss and frequently looked for an authentic likeness. charles peele was a crucial purveyor of washington's face. fromde several paintings life, but his reach was enormously extended through print. ew washington. he painted him in 1772. again,, he painted him
both a three-quarter-length porcher -- portrait and this miniature. peele also thought he would try a print. he had learned engraving while in london from 1767 to 1769. there his maiden efforts were guarded by -- guided by expert printmakers and supported by a thriving industry, which included technicians, skilled printers, and a consumer market. mezzotint process was technically demanding. the metal plate was first a sharpd all over by tool. the engraver then worked in reverse from black to white, burnishing down the sharp points of metal on the prepared plate to create lighter tones and highlights. everyone admired the english
mezzotint, prizing its range of tone from dark, velvety black to whites.ys and bright the technique was sufficient for thought he, so peele would give it a try, noting in his diary in 1778, began a drawing in order to make a of general washington. many generations of collectors searched for peele's first effort, the long-lost mezzotint. of 1778. the national portrait gallery's have been collecting prints for years and was thrilled to finally identify one of his small portraits in the early 1990's. by the way, the majority of the pieces i am showing you come from the portrait gallery;s collection. we were especially delighted that a second copy recently
emerged and was acquired by the society of cincinnati. here is one of only two known examples of this print. it's modest size and lack of pretension disguise its import. making a mezzotint in america was especially challenging. peele complained about the andity of available ink paper and the difficulty of obtaining copper plates. he wrote to friends abroad, seeking help securing supplies. there were no technicians to do the tedious rocking of the plate or skilled printers to produce the engraving, and peele's prints reveal a coarser grained than you would find in an english mezzotint. although he didn't achieve the had therichness, peele skill to translate his personal knowledge of washington from his paintings into his prints,
retaining all the animation of a life portrait. we have a sense of a direct and personal experience between the fitter that the term implies. the lifelike expression feels completely authentic. i like to think that this modest image does reveal something of washington's character as peele had assessed him. most washington portraits date from after the war. this is a rare insight into the based on aington, beforertrait by peele washington took command. to me, this face exudes an almost youthful confidence, as well as a calm, mature demeanor that helps us understand the man stepping forward to assume the heavy burden of commander-in-chief. hearty congratulations
to the society of cincinnati for acquiring what i feel is a very important visual documentation of washington, the character. papers reveal he struck over 100 impressions, presenting them to friends and advertising them in the newspapers, but the charming print was facing some competition and didn't sell well. a pair of engravings attributed , after aller senior peele painting, depicted martha washington and a three-quarter length image of the commander-in-chief in full uniform. peele himself was going to have to up his game, and he did. own780, he produced his three-quarter length military based on a new painting
of washington from life produced for the supreme executive council of pennsylvania the previous year. with a flag, canon, and a view of princeton in the background in reference to his victory there, the painting was a popular and inspiring image of a military leader and an impressive second effort for peele's mezzotint portrait. again, peele has produced a life portrait of remarkable authenticity and insight, depicting his subject with grace and confidence. peele wouldn 1787, produce his third mezzotint portrait of washington in an optimistic final attempt to market a series of engravings after his own portraits,
including prince of lafayette, franklin, and the reverend joseph elmore. s andnished four mezzotint sent a set of them to washington, but he still had to prepare his own plates and do his own printing, and the sales were disappointing. he ultimately abandon his plan as too much work for too little haven't quite finished the remarkable story of --t smaller -- here it is more modest mezzotint of 1778. one admirer of the print was the english-born engraver john norman who arrived from -- in london from philadelphia in 1774. the enterprising mr. norman with various partners advertised frequently in newspapers, billing himself as an engraver of watch casing, maps,
architectural illustrations, and numerous other pictures and documents. he also taught engraving, printed copper plates, and sold almanacs, children's books, and frames. he advertised779, for sale and elegant head of general washington, undoubtedly peele's mezzotint. norman himself was not a particularly skilled artist, but he was an ardent copyist and became an enthusiastic purveyor of peele's washington likeness. he advertised one of his first attempts in 1779, a prim or a door and with a beautiful head of washington. for whichtous primer piece. his frontest
norman was probably the first to substitute the new american hero. his engraving was a close copy , imitating thet long oval face turned slightly to one side. almond-shaped eyes looking forward. a curl of hair on each side of the head. a truncated oval frame. even the highlight on the long nose. just a few months later, norman thisted the peele face, time using it as an ornamental heading for a single sheet broadside almanac. there it is. advertised in "the pennsylvania cket, the almanac
featured the face of washington. norman included the portrait with an allman or -- ornamental surround complete with cannons, two trumpetingd, bear-breasted figures of fame, the seal of pennsylvania, and the shield of all rattlesnake, a well-known symbol of the rebellious colonies. john norman does intrigue me. he makes up for his lack of skill with a notable lack of restraint. [laughter] in his work and his life, apparently, right about the time , norman moved to boston. almanack"ve got "the back up here. encouraged in his departure no doubt by a public spat with a
former partner, norman appears frequently in philadelphia newspapers, and this dispute also plays out in public press. he was the sort of fellow who nowadays would get into a whole lot of trouble on twitter. at any rate, his presence in boston and his sale of his "philadelphia almanack" encourages a profusion of copies. the first printmaker so inspired appears to be none other than paul revere who probably produced this relief cut image .in 1781. the pamphlet almanacs were frequent lee illustrated with crude images -- frequently illustrated with crude images. revere's portrait of washington is more elaborate than most, and while it doesn't have the detail of normans engraving with its
elaborate setting, it does face withe the peele two tufts of hair, the almond eyes, and oval face. over the next two decades, the revere cut passed from one publisher to another, used repeatedly for almanacs or various editions of the new england primer. it, ist time i researched located the same cut in 17 different imprints, but there were undoubtedly many more. furthermore, the relief cut spawned its own imitation. at least four copies of this one are known that illustrated other numerous almanacs and primers. here we have the federal almanac for 7092. seems to have had less of an understanding of the principles of light and shadow,
but the hair, the face, the banners, and flags remain. and herext version, appearing in the citizen and farmer's almanac, there is still less artistry, but it is better -head version in the columbia almanac for 1798. the cartouche is look like jelly, but the cannons and banners still convey the military swagger. column at its
the time of washington's death. you will note there are vestigial remains of the uniform, oval surround, flags, and banners. no doubt, it wasn't hard to guess the identity of this by now unrecognizable portrait. those embellishments around a long oval face must have been ingrained in the public consciousness. meanwhile, our friend john norman continued to produce his engravings, spreading his enthusiasm for washington. this print of the commander-in-chief paired with an accompanying image of martha washington was published in 1782. the inscription underneath credits the source, a drawing by benjamin blithe, a salem, massachusetts artist, which was based on a painting in the possession of governor hancock. that would have been the portrait painted for governor hancock in 1776 by charles
wilson peelwe. norman is sticking with his -inspired face. unfortunately for his reputation, norman didn' stop with this print. in 1783, the continental congress voted unanimously that "an equestrian statue of general washington be erected at the place where the residents of congress shall be established." be depicted not only on horseback but in roman dress, wearing a laurel wreath. i guess it seemed like a good idea at the time. fores and roman costume norman, however, who could barely depict cannons and banners, were way beyond his skill set, but he was an enthusiastic copyist, so to approximate ancient dress, he
does an engraving from john andam's display of heraldry 1711 and came up with this. you can't win every time. [laughter] let's give norman credit for being one of the young republic's most enthusiastic purveyors of the image of the commander-in-chief. you will note he has used the very familiar long oval peele-inspired face ocf his hero. the visual culture of wartime america was limited, which is how in an energetic and entered -- and imaginative engraver with modest skills found opportunities. he was one of the publishers of the new boston magazine for which he engraved the plates and produced for the april 17, 1984 these april 1784 addition
this image. here he chose to copy his magazine illustration from an engraving of montesquieu published in a french volume from 1772. on the inside cover of the boston magazine, norman explains his allegorical inception. "nature stands ready to strike the liar while the genius of liberty presents the metal of the illustrious man who has defended her standard in the new world." we can also recognize here fame with her trumpet and the lower be blindfolded justice with her scales in the lower right. while those familiar allegorical figures -- while those are familiar allegorical figures, the multi-breasted nude female called nature is less so.
, there you look closely are several breasts lurking awkwardly behind that liar. they symbolize natures ---condit t and by extension profundity and by extension the new nation that washington's victory made possible. i think it is fair to say that this particular allegorical figure was still considered. i am guessing it worked better in france. [laughter] besides, by the mid-1780's, competition was growing. some large, handsome friends of washington were appearing on the , many based on replicas of peele's paintings that were sent abroad. lemaireving by mr. accompanied by a print of
lafayette depicted the general in a military camp littered with treaties, dispatches, and the declaration of independence.also based on a g is a 1785 print by valentine green, one of england's best mezzotint engraver's. here the rich blacks of the heavily worked mezzotint plate showed off to great advantage. while to my eye it doesn't show the animation or depth of character we find in peele's portraits, its size and handsome military imagery would have been impressive to an american audience. the same can be send of valentine green's 1781 mezzotint after a painting by john trumbull. in contrast of these, john norman's enthusiastic attempts seem awfully crude, if not
preposterous. norman and his partners sold their interest in the boston magazine a few months after the washington engraving was published. unfortunately, the new publishers were not at all impressed by norman's ingenuity. theyhe boston gazette," announced they were discontinuing the plates, noting that a number of their customers had found great fault with the cuts at being badly executed. the snarkiness of the internet is built on a grand old tradition. [laughter] norman responded immediately in the newspapers, blaming the omission of the plates on the refusal of the new publishers to pay him. it is hard to know the accuracy of either claim, but if readers had complained, you can hardly blame them. i still have a soft spot in my heart for john norman, laboring over his copperplate, trying to squeeze one more breast in there
between the strings of the liar. norman was indefatigable in of theng the peele face commander-in-chief, and he created images that could be copied by less-skilled relief cut artists on to blocks that would be in continual use during the 1780's and 1790's. the constant appearance of the generals face throughout the war and immediately afterwards is nothing short of amazing. we can't know but can't discount the notion that those cannons and banners encouraged the ragtag revolutionary army or that the occasional cartoonish figure of fame heightened washington's dignity. the dissemination of the face alone must have had an impact. it wasn't just those who had seen peele's painting, like
members of the continental middling sorthe able to purchase a fine engraving. washington's portrait was available to children, farmers, women readers of magazines, soldiers intrigued by a new federal song, and anyone who found it useful to buy an almanac. if we can see that the face of washington had much greater and deeper penetration into that wartime society than we might have guessed, let's take a look at some of the images that dominated after the war. small profile by joseph wright made around 1790 has always fascinated me because it was stock. on card
you see it here trimmed to an oval and put in a small frame. the heavyweight paper made it ideal for sending through the mail. thomas jefferson purchased one in june of 1790, which e-mailed to his daughter, martha jefferson randolph. william bentley noted the november, a copy in gift from his friend benjamin goodhue. perhaps because of its small size and transportabili novembea gift from his friend benjamin ty, the profile became an instantly popular presidential image and was widely copied in print, medallions, relief cuts, both here and abroad. -- hereof the profile we go -- was amos doolittle's large and ambitious display of the united states of america. this celebration of the constitution and new federal
government and close the portrait in a ring of interlocking seals representing the united states and the 13 original colonies. washington, described as president of the united states, protector of his country, and supporter of the rights of mankind, is elevated here to a major role as the central figure of a newly strengthened federal government. the shift from a loosely connected federation of states split by factional differences to a nation unified under a strong central government was a crucial change in our history. doolittle celebrated the constitution and its import by presenting that strengthened dramatically and symbolically within the visually , indissoluble unity of interlocking circles. edward savage's portraits were
prominent during the presidency. savage's three-quarter length mezzotint image published in london in 1793 depicts washington seated at a table contemplating the new federal city. it had all the refinement of the british technique, softness of texture, subtlety of shading, and richness of have to, that made the mezzotint so popular. furthermore, it had the advantage of showing washington out of uniform, dressed in a presidential black velvet suit. guests describing the "tall, manly figure of washington clad in black velvet" were very impressed with his magnificent presence. this was an important symbolic addition to washington iconography. he is no longer the soldier but statesman. the peaceful succession of one elected president the next had yet to be proven, but to some, a
very military president had dictatorial potential. washington himself fully understood the importance of his clothing. so did the printmakers, and the handsome savage mezzotint spawned many copies, both separate framing prints and illustrations. at this point in the 1790's, the book arts were finally developing, particularly fast in philadelphia. engravers arriving in america found steady work illustrating bibles, books, and magazines. bookstores would have on display the latest framing prints either imported or made locally. a simple engraving was replacing the laborious mezzotint technique because it was faster and easier, and the copper plates could survive many more
printings without loss of detail . portraits of washington, copied age, andle, sav eventually gilbert stuart, proliferated in book and magazine illustrations. of as an example philadelphia addition of "the history of england." it's a modest engraving but exudes extra gravitas through the embellishments but beneath the portrait, the knights helmet, sword, and baton, asbols of military strength, well as all of and oak branches, which symbolize respectively peace and strength. implyer, these emblems that washington's leadership enabled the piece that comes through military strength. the inscription on this piece indicates the designer of the
print was john james barrel left , and eccentric irishman who arrived in america and took up the embellishment of washington's portraiture where john norman left off. , he designed ar handsome framing print of washington based on a miniature by walter robinson. the oval-framed portrait rests on the back of a handsome eagle, which also bears the baton, the scales of justice, and a ribbon. he didn't stop there. military banners, the palm branches of victory, the liberty cap on the sword, the word all him upwards towards encircling clouds and a radiating son. we might keep two points in mind when considering this handsome but seemingly heavy-handed engraving.
all, the use of symbol and allegory was a universal language. you didn't have to be an upper-class man with a classical education to understand the figure of fame, the liberty cap, the rattlesnake, or the implications of a laurel wreath. print wasthis in 1795 during washington's second term in office. internal struggles such as the along withellion, controversial foreign entanglements, created contentious debate. the president himself was viciously assaulted in the public press by political enemies. in the middle of this difficult moment with scurrilous attacks on the general's character, he introduced the radiating light and clouds of apotheosis
imagery, presenting washington as nearly godlike. within this context, the profusion of symbolism does not seem arbitrary but a serious counterweight to negative publicity. he designed several other engraved portraits of washington , repeating similar embellishments. general washington's resignation, published as an illustration in the philadelphia magazine and review in january of 1799, is one of my favorites, because it pairs the symbolic symbol of fame with the real mount vernon mansion in the right background. in an explanation of the piece, the print is called an emblem of the american -- [indiscernible] washington'slates 1783 resignation of his military commission to his 1797
retirement from the presidency after his second term. this scene, adorned with the eagle along with his signature ,elmet, sword, and baton washington surrenders his symbols of power to the figure ica who holds an indian calumet or peace pipe. he points with his other hand to mount vernon with the plow parked in front in reference to the legendary roman leader cincinnatus. what makes this print even more fascinating is its connection to another element of the visual culture of the day completely .ost to future generations public spectacles often include something called at the time a "transparency," which was a large painting on oil paper lit from behind by candles. paper made itr --
unfortunately very flammable. needless to say, these images made for parades or ceremonies didn't have much life expectancy. those that survived the evening after bursting into flame were doomed by the oil and the size of the fragile paper. today, but they have an important public presence. the explanation of the piece here actually describes the ,vent that preceded it described as a public dinner at a hotel held in march of 1797 to honor washington on the occasion of his retirement. after dinner, the guests marched to an atmosphere where there was a special entertainment featuring "a transparent full-length female figure as large as life representing
america." the explanation goes on to proudly itemize the symbolic components you see here. clearly, he was the designer of the transparency as well as the print, and we are lucky to have a lasting version of his conception of the grand celebratory spectacle. don't miss the cornucopia at the bottom with the eagle, a much more common and successful of prosperity of the new nation then norman's multi-breasted figure of fame.i won't linger long on the last visual ode to washington's virtues. washingtonsis of later retitled "commemoration of washington" the new nation then norman's multi-breasted figure of was dey after washington's death and first advertised in december of 1800. time,ition to father
raising washington from the tomb was faith, hope, and charity in the background. notice the familiar helmet, sword, and baton, as well eagle andibbon, the morning figure of america, and a grieving indian. in addition to the amalgam of classical and national personal tokens were included, drapeover the side of the tomb, the metals of the order of freemasons and the order of the cincinnati. this tour de force was reissued over the years and copied from liverpool pictures and chinese reverse paintings. that story belongs to the 19th century and the generation eulogizing washington. ideahelps reinforce the that the visual enhancements to
washington's face and reputation , like normans, were widely disseminated and understood by the president's own contemporaries. you will notice that the face in the image was recognizably one by gilbert stuart, best known by the national portrait , which in the 19th century would come to dominate all other faces of washington. again, the print enriches the stewart story, showing this portrait gned currency before washington's death. david edwin engraved the head multiple times in 1798. here are some examples. in part through edwin's efforts come it became a popular portrait that year and appeared in numerous framing prints and
illustrations. a new york physician named charles buxton, for example, designed an ambitious full-length image of washington, which was engraved by cornelius to do in 1798. like other endeavors, buxton's design was an amalgam of patriotic symbols referring to washington's military achievements and his role in forging the new nation. figure, with its gilbert stuart head, stands on a pedestal between obelisks labeled "liberty" and "independence." abounds.magery we can assume the other elements of buxton's emblematic scheme would be familiar to his audience. the background scene, however, introduced a new note, the view of bowling green, new york,
depicting an empty pedestal where a statue of george the third stood before being pulled down by a crowd of patriots. washington stands on his pedestal as a symbolic replacement for the toppled king . buxton sent proof copies of his print to george washington, including this one printed on printed on-- s -- satin. ever polite and appreciative, washington acknowledged the gift, calling it "elegantly executed." the print was published by bookseller charles smith in new york and dedicated to the congress of the united states with the optimistic notion that each of those distinguished
politicians might be potential subscribers. as we have seen, there was a tsnge of washington prin from the large sophisticated highbrow efforts to the modest endeavors available to every man, woman, and child. i would like to return us to where we began, patriotic music. another of david edwin's engravings was a very tiny version of the stewart face, also from 1798. this small print, trimmed to a circle, seems to have been made specifically to paste onto the title of a music sheet. in april 1798, joseph hopkinson of philadelphia composed a piece called "the favorite new federal friendwritten for his gilbert foxx.
at that moment, war with revolutionary france appeared almost inevitable, and tensions were mounting in philadelphia between federalists and anti-federalists. imagine that, partisan tensions in the capital city. foxx hoped a patriotic song might rise above the divisiveness they and inspire a unified american spirit -- divisive debate and inspire a unified american spirit. abigail adams attended the theater and reported the next day that her head still ached from the thunderous applause. columbia,", "hail written to a familiar tune, did become a favorite federal song, demand by audiences everywhere. two days after his performance, the first published edition appeared with a small engraving of president john adams posted into the center of the title, but in july of 1798, as the
quasi-war with french privateers threaten to explode, george washington briefly returned to public service when he was appointed once again commander-in-chief of american forces. the enterprising publisher of the sheet music benjamin carr saw an opportunity for new sale. he didn't even have to reprint the music itself since the engraving was mounted onto the sheet, glued at the top in the middle of the title. at least three different small washington engravings were used for the purpose, including this image by edwin and another cruder copy of it. apparently encouraged by the sales, benjamin carr repeated his formula of ornamenting sheet music by mounting edwin's engraving of washington on another patriotic song entitled "brother soldiers, all hail." shopand the fellow in his with the glue pot must have been especially busy in december of
1799 just after the announcement of washington's death. carr himself composed the dead march, played for washington's and 17 and told all feel -- in the philadelphia in 1799. it was advertised in the philadelphia gazette as having an elegant likeness of the late general. what can we conclude from these remains of a visual culture we still understand incompletely? we know the written record from his contemporaries that detail washington's impressive physical presence, his heroism, his steadiness, and moral strength, but to my mind, the visual depictions of washington during his own life help us see the development of his reputation in the public imagination. the effect of a single crude almanac cut is impossible to gauge.
when you assemble the pictorial material together, however, there is a cumulative effect from which we can legitimately extrapolate meaning. consider the penetration into all levels of society of an authentic likeness. consider the enhancement of those portraits with widely understood symbolic and allegorical embellishment. let's not discount the context of a washington portrait hovering over patriotic words set to a stirring, familiar tune. is it too much to suggest that washington's engraving of the stewart face of washington had a greater impact as the grieving nation consider the lyrics? "with honor crowned, mature in age, he fell, the wonder of mankind. laden with laurels, he left the ." thank you very much.
[applause] i'd be happy to take any questions if anyone has some. yes? >> could you talk about the copyright and trademark law to the extent that it existed and whether any of these people paid attention to it when they were recirculating other people's work? ms. reaves: copyright law. our daughter has just arrived. she is in her third year of law school at gw. can you tell us anything about copyright? i think there was a lot of borrowing back and forth. certainly, the pictures, every engraver copied the english for their work. music copyrights, i don't think there was much available at that
point. they be someone else knows the answer to that question. ellen? [indiscernible] >> there was no american copyright law until the 1930's were 1920's. ms. reaves: yeah, they were pretty free to do what they wanted. they could steal what they wanted. [laughter] anyone else? yes? >> wonderful talk. how were these images generally circulated? i saw almanacs. did you have to buy an almanac to get an image? ms. reaves: the almanac would have been purchased, but almanacs were really critical. they were important for most farmers orticularly anybody and agriculture. they were widely disseminated. they would have just been purchased for the use of the
almanac, and pictures came along with it. magazine started being more widely circulated in 1790. the separate prints would have been sold at bookstores. there were print shops. there was a thriving print industry, which america didn't had tohich is why peele struggle so much. there were not print buyers until the 1790's and the first decade of the 19th century. it was a very meager visual culture compared to england, but the prints would have been imported and sold at bookstores. they would have advertised. would havevers advertised for subscriptions. a large engraving expensive to produce, they would get people to pay in advance to
subscribe to the prints to help fund it. good question. anyone else? yes? >> thank you. i am ellen clark. i'm the library director here, and i am the one who had the most extraordinary experience and honor taking this newly peelesecond copy of the mezzotint of washington to the national portrait gallery to reaves pronounce -- and the conservator, both took a look at it. it was a proud moment in my career. we noted when we compared the two copies that there was evidence that each had been folded. there was slight evidence of a spots, whichferent was reassuring to me. it meant that ours was not a good facsimile of the other.
i was just thinking about the ti and theait on the card idea that the small-scale -- when you think of the framing portraits, you think of something larger, so these small-scale were something that mailed and sent, for an audience hungry for an image of washington. they might have just been tucked away, not framed or put on a wall, but these lose prince -- loose prints were something you could put into a drawer. ms. reaves: i think it could have been mled, probably sent around to peele's friends. i think that's very likely. in aobably was used personal way, the way you would collect a book or miniature and
have it for your personal use and share it with your friends, as opposed to putting it in a frame and putting it on the wall. i think there probably was a difference between that and the much larger valentine green mezzotints from england that would have been framed. congratulations on getting that print. [laughter] else? yes, john daniels? george washington's image wasn't on the currency at the time. what image was used or varied images were used to picture him on american currency? ms. reaves: the first instance i have found of it, of george washington's face being used on were some printed bills from westerly rhode island. they were local currency.
medals before that. do you know if there was any currency? ellen: i don't think so. ms. reaves: claims. ok. i don't think it was on paper copy in theil that 1800s. i remember calling up westerly, which is a tiny town, and trying to see if there was an historical society. the person i got sai why don't you call the washington bank? i said, there is still a washington bank? they said, yeah. i got the president of the washington bank on the phone, and he said, we still have original copper plates with the engravings of george washington. for the exhibit i did, we brought the plates down and printed off a couple pieces of washington currency from the
washington bank in westerly, rhode island. i think that was probably the first instance,. 1800 1800.nstance, thank you all for coming. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> thank you all for attending tonight. our next program is thursday, march 3. we are having a concert of early american music by the historic trumpets and flutes of the united states army's fife and drum corps. thank you, and have a good evening. >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span
history. >> next come historian edward ayers looks at the end of the civil war and the dawn of reconstruction. he contends that reconstruction began as early as the summer and fall of 1864. rs points to the republican party expending to democrats, leading to abraham landslide reelection, and he talks about union victories on the battlefield, including the following of atlanta and the shenandoah valley campaign. this talk was part of a daylong symposium held at the library of virginia in richmond. >> let me introduce our first speaker. we have charged him with playing the role of keynote speaker, to offer something of a refresher course in the history of reconstruction, and to highlight some of the themes in the debates about the postwar era. i am confident he is up to the task, and not just because he is
my boss is the chairman of the museum's board. 's foundingayers chairman of the american civil war museum's board and the library of virginia. he has become the face of the history and of the civil war sesquicentennial here in richmond. while serving as a president of richmond, and at the same time, serving as the head of the future of richmond's past. he retired from the university of richmond last year and is now the professor of humanities and president emeritus at the university. before his pioneering work with the shadow project at uva, and his studies of the civil war. in augusta