Picturesque America – Appleton and Company

Posted on février 15, 2015


Picturesque America documents the nineteenth century national passion for an aesthetic view of American scenery. With its nine hundred wood engravings and fifty steel engravings, it is considered to have had a lasting effect on both the growth of tourism and the historic preservation movement in the United States. After their publication in 1872 and 1874, the two volume gift set of Picturesque America quickly became a best seller and by 1880, the works were included in some 100,000 American home libraries. Picturesque America had a profound effect on its readers, who considered its contents to be uplifting, a means of self improvement, and essential to self-education.

Source :

The two volumes of « Picturesque America » describe and illustrate the scenery of America identified by State and published by D. Appleton and Company of New York in 1872 and 1874 and edited by the romantic poet and journalist William Cullen Bryant and with a similar layout of Picturesque Europe (three-volume illustrated set of books published by Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co. of London, Paris and New York in 1875). Picturesque America’s dissertations and wood and steel engravings based on the paintings of some of the best American landscape painters of the nineteenth century, such as John Frederick Kensett, A.S. Hazeltine, James D. Smillie, J.W. Casilear, Thomas Moran, and others, claimed to promote a growth of tourism and the historic preservation movement in the United States.

Source :

City of Buffalo, New York in 1872. A steel engraving from a study by A. C. Warren, engraved by W. Wellstood and published in Picturesque America, D. Appleton & Company, New York, New York 1872, 1:520. Scanned from the book.






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