In the nineteenth century, the people of Alabama relied on newspapers to learn about the world outside their own hometowns. Prior to the 1890s, the technology did not exist to economically publish photographs in newspapers, so some publishers employed artists to draw and engrave images of places, events, and people. Many of these engraved illustrations, which accompanied news stories, poems, and short fiction, are impressive for their detail and artistic quality.
From the 1850s to the 1890s, more than 250 engraved images of Alabama were published in national and international illustrated newspapers. This book contains nearly 50 of those illustrations from five nineteenth-century newspapers such as Harper’s Weekly. These striking black-and-white images depict city and country scenes of everything from politics and civil war to agriculture, industry, entertainment, and everyday life, providing readers passionate about history and art a unique insight into Alabama’s rich cultural past.
About the Authors:James L. Baggett is Head of the Department of Archives and Manuscripts at the Birmingham Public Library, and Archivist for the City of Birmingham. A past president of the Society of Alabama Archivists and past Chair of the Jefferson County Historical Commission, he is the editor of three previous books, including A Woman of the Town: Louise Wooster, Birmingham’s Magdalen.
Kelsey Scouten Bates is Assistant Archivist and Grants Writer at the Birmingham Public Library. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English at the University of Alabama and has an M.S. in Professional Writing from Towson University. She formerly taught English as a Second Language in Taiwan and worked as a grants writer at the Baltimore Museum of Art.