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Morristown in Photogravure

Morristown in Photogravure
The North Jersey History and Genealogy Center has recently added images from the Morristown in Photogravure viewbook to its online collections. Viewbooks were a popular and inexpensive memento and gift item for tourists. Many views in this book are of special interest today as they show 19th century Morristown buildings and landscapes that no longer exist. It was published in 1895 by William K. Muchmore, a Morristown stationer and bicycle dealer, and printed by the Albertype Company in Brooklyn, NY.

The Albertype Company in Brooklyn was formed in 1890, and was well known for printing postcards and viewbooks of locations throughout the United States. This scenic viewbook is an interesting pictorial record of 19th century Morristown, and includes images of businesses, churches, schools, homes, and tourist attractions.

Some images of special interest:

This House on South Street stood next to the South Street Presbyterian Church.

The Miss Dana’s School for Young Ladies was located at the corner of South Street and Headley Road.

Miss Hilda's SchoolMiss Hilda’s School stood at the corner of Western Avenue and Washington Street.  It  was torn down and replaced by the YMCA building.  This structure is still standing  but is now an office building.

This Landscape view from is Washington’s Headquarters looking towards Morristown.

Morristown was a popular tourist destination in the late 19th century. Hotels, inns and other services throughout Morristown catered to out of town visitors who flocked here in great numbers. As it still is today, Morristown's association with George Washington and the Revolutionary War was a powerful draw for 19th century tourists. Its surrounding countryside and towns were popular for day trips. Morristown's economic and social power were exemplified by its impressive public buildings, magnificent gilded age mansions and estates and elaborate social events. Morristown was also easily accessible by train, especially for New Yorkers.

A photogravure is not technically a photograph, but is created by a photomechanical process. Invented in 1879, the photogravure process involves photographically transferring an image to a metal plate and then printing from it. This procedure produced superior quality prints in large quantities. 19th century photogravures offered much more delicate tonal range and precision compared to other photomechanical processes of the time, such as the half-tone reproduction technique used in newspapers.



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