Friday, May 29, 2009

Ewell L. Newman Award

At the recently held American Historical Print Collectors Society (AHPCS) annual meeting in Portland, the 2009 winner of the Ewell L. Newman Award was announced and I am really pleased that the award went to Panorama of Pittsburgh, the book on 19th century printed views of the city which I authored.

The Ewell L. Newman Award has been awarded yearly since 1989 by the AHPCS in order to recognize and encourage outstanding publications enhancing appreciation of American prints before 1900. As described by the AHPCS:
Small and large works, those of narrow scope and those with broad general coverage are equally considered. Original research, fresh assessments, and the fluent synthesis of known material will all be taken into account. The emphasis is on quality and on making an outstanding contribution to the subject. Exhibition catalogues, monographs, articles, and works based on local sources are eligible.

Panorama of Pittsburgh served as the exhibition catalogue for an exhibit held at the Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh from June to October, 2008. This was the most comprehensive exhibit of printed views of Pittsburgh ever produced and it was selected as one of the best 2008 exhibitions in Pittsburgh by both major city newspapers.

The catalogue, Panorama of Pittsburgh contains color images of all the items in the exhibit, and the thematic essay begins with images of Pittsburgh before the fire of 1845 and progresses through views from books and magazines, prints documenting events, illustrated newspapers, frameable views, advertising, music sheets, and other types of prints.

This book, however, was intended not just as an exhibition catalogue, but also as a long-term reference on nineteenth-century views of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh printmakers. Thus is provides background information on the most prominent Pittsburgh-based printmakers, a list of Pittsburgh printmakers assembled from period sources and the most encyclopedic list of nineteenth-century prints of the city that has ever been assembled. The Frick produced a beautiful catalogue, the form wonderfully complementing the content. I was very pleased with how it came out and I am also, obviously, delighted that it won the Newman Award.

The past winners of the award make an impressive list, including significant books on many different topics. Among the references on historical prints are Sherry Fowble's Two Centuries of Prints in America, Gloria G. Deak's Picturing America, Bernard Reilly's American Political Prints, 1766-1876, Noble E. Cunningham's Popular Images of the Presidency , and Mark Neely and Harold Holzer's The Union Image: Popular Prints of the Civil War North.

References on American views are equally well represented, including Ron Tyler's Prints of the West , Sue Rainey's Creating Picturesque America, and John Rep's St. Louis Illustrated and John Casper Wild . These are only some of the excellent books which have won the award, providing very good company for Panorama of Pittsburgh.

Call for entries: The AHPCS is always looking for submissions for the Newman award. Publications remain eligible for a period of roughly two years after they first appear. Once a work has been passed on by the Jury it will not be considered again except in a substantially revised edition. Jurors include collectors, authors, and scholars, of American historical prints. To submit a book to the Jury for consideration, please mail to the Jury chairperson at: Cottonwood Press Books, Attn. William Huntington, P.O. Box 24337, Omaha, NE 68124.

N.B. In this blog I use this symbol [] to indicate that the Philadelphia Print Shop sells a particular reference work mentioned. Just click on the symbol to go to our listing of that book.

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