Quaint Old Germantown: Sixty Views of Ancient Landmarks Drawn on
Zinc by John Richard 1863-1888 and Collated by Julius Friedrich Sachse
Introduction by Julius Sachse provides background on artist John Richard[s] whose work appears in this book and in collections at the GHS and HSP:
"...Coming down to our own day, there came to Germantown, about sixty years ago, a young Swede, John Richards, as he was known, who worked as a gardener and day laborer. At the outbreak of the Civil War, John Richards enlisted, May, 1861, in Company K, 59th Regiment, New York Volunteers. Private Richards was wounded, August, 1862, at the battle of Bull Run, also at Antietam, September, 1862. He died August 26, 1889. It was while Private Richards was convalescent at the Chestnut Hill Hospital that he began sketching some of the old landmarks and buildings of Germantown. From these crude sketches he later made drawings on zinc plates, from which an impression could be taken by the lithographic process. Richard's drawings were more or less harsh and lacking in detail, especially where he attempted to introduce figures or animals often somewhat out of perspective. At the same time, considering the fact that he never had any instruction in art, these sketches have a merit and individuality of their own. Their chief value, however, consists in the fact that they have preserved to us and generations to come the views and landmarks of historic and quaint Germantown of days gone by.
"John Richards, after his discharge from the army, remained in Germantown, and was given the position of sexton of Calvary P.E. Church on Manheim Street; and during his spare time made many of the sketches aforesaid. Some of these views were printed many years ago by a local lithographer, and sold to residents and visitors. No attempt, however, was made to uniformity, or a proper description and location of the subjects. Some fifteen years ago, a number of these original zinc plates, together with impressions of some views previously issued, came into the possession of the present writer who, realizing their great historic value, for the present as well as future generations, has issued this edition. Thirty-three of these views are printed from the identical zinc plates made by John Richards; eight are reproductions of original sketches now first published; while the remainder are from transfers made of prints from the original plates.
"The various views have been arranged and grouped according to their location: each side of the Main street has been taken separately, with a short legend, giving the present system of street numeration, so that the sites of these historic landmarks may be easily identified. This important feature was made possible by the researches and aid given to the writer by Messrs Edwin C. Jellett and Dr. Naaman H. Keyser of Germantown."
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