kudos, boston public library: vintage plant prints

ALL HAIL TO THE PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM, and especially those institutions that are finding funds and making time to digitize their precious assets and share them with an ever-wider community. You’ve heard me praise the Library of Congress before; today let’s visit Boston Public Library, America’s oldest free municipal library system, whose collection of 19th-century chromolithographs by Louis Prang & Company is just one of many reasons to make the stop. A slideshow sampler of some of my favorites follows:

As the text on Boston Public’s Flickr photostream explains, Louis Prang (1824-1909) was a German immigrant whose highly successful Boston-area printing operation made high-quality prints and also, in the 1870s, began producing America’s first Christmas cards, virtually starting that tradition.

But what caught my eye when Flickr-lurking friend Pam Kueber of the Retro Renovation blog passed me the Boston Public link, were juicy heirloom tomatoes (above) and tender portraits of familiar animals and local vegetation. Some of what I loved from the giant trove of riches you simply must “go” see is in the show below.

Click on the first thumbnail to start the show, then toggle from slide to slide using the arrows beside each caption. Enjoy!

Giant thanks to Boston Public Library for its extensive online collections and its Flickr photostream.

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July 15, 2010

comments

  1. says

    Oh Margaret….These are absolutely beautiful!!! I actually thought of you this past weekend when I picked up Cynthia Westcott’s THE GARDENER’S BUG BOOK -4th ed., at a used book store. The images are striking. I’ll use them on some mixed media projects. Thanks so much for sharing these!! I will be sure to check out more on the links you provided.

  2. says

    How wonderful! I love the picture of the cat but must admit the one of the pansies freaks me out a bit. I’m not sure why, but it does. Isn’t it interesting how many of the floral arrangements feature todays’ weeds’?

  3. CJ says

    The print of Queen Ann’s Lace and Rudbeckia was exactly what I needed to add some extra inspiration to a felt project I’ve been working on. I wanted to do QA’sL, but I couldn’t quite see what to put with it.

    Thank you!

  4. says

    Those pansies are just like some I had growing until the heat got to them, only mine didn’t have legs and looks like bodies! Thanks for sharing~

    • says

      Welcome, Wendy…the idea that something I stumbled across would inspire your artistry makes me smile. I hope that you are well, and I will be digging around libraries all over the world so more to come. Hope to “see” you again soon.

  5. nora says

    So what did Jack the demon cat say about that “dandy” cat portrait? Sebastian, my cat said he is glad he lives in the modern era. Pippa Piebald my daughter’s cat was too busy catching goldfinches in the lettuce patch to comment.

    • says

      @Nora: He refuses to play dress up, my Jacko the Wacko. “No stupid outfits, Mom,” he says, snarling and with claws outstretched. “No stupid outfits; I’m a tough guy.” :)

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