View of Central Park in September of 1860, taken from Harper's Weekly magazine. Hectic then, as now, a number of horse-drawn carriages drive through the park, along with riders on horseback and a few pedestrians. A maypole stands high at the horizon.
Harper's Weekly is one of the oldest and most prestigious literary and opinion magazines in the U.S. It was founded in 1850 by the Harper brothers' printing and publishing firm, by 1865 was the most successful periodical in the nation. Harper's published essays, stories and serialized novels by the leading British and American authors of the day. The magazine was also the first to be extensively illustrated with woodcuts.
Central Park came into being beginning with an act passed on July 21, 1853 by the New York City Common Council authorizing the construction of a public park bounded by 59th and 106th Streets, Fifth and Eighth Avenues. The park was conceived to provide recreational open space for citizens of the growing city, which then had few open squares. The site that was destined to become Central Park was then “a bleak, rubbish-strewn area littered with squatters' shacks.” (Deák) Central Park opened in 1857, and in 1858, the job of improving and expanding it, transforming the area into a pastoral oasis for the “toiling masses,” was awarded to Calvert Vaux, a young British architect, and Frederick Law Olmstead, an American farmer and magazine editor. Reconstruction began that same year and was completed in 1873.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning and light wear to edges, few small marginal tears and creases matted out. Vertical center fold as issued.
Deák, Gloria Gilda. Picturing America: 1497-1899. Vol. 1. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988. pp. 535-536.