Auction ends Saturday, July 23rd at 3pm PST. Bids within the last hour will extend the auction time.
- Published one month before the Civil War began on April 12th, 1861. Centerfold shows interior of new Capitol building dome in D.C., back cover shows political comics of Lincoln.
About Harper's Weekly:
Harper's Weekly was a political magazine published in New York City from 1857 to 1916, and was the most widely read journal in the United States during the American Civil War. It covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from foreign and domestic news to fiction and humorous essays.
Harper's Weekly had a strong influence on history due to it's high readership, with an example being on the issue of slavery. Though the magazine initially took a moderate stance on slavery prior to the Civil War so not to offend its large Southern audience, it became staunchly pro-Union and abolition after the war began. Famously, it published an engraving showing the scarred back of Gordon, an escaped slave who joined up to fight in the Union army (a dubious claim by the magazine that may have conflated two different stories). Regardless, the images served as a first look into the true brutalities of slavery for many Northerners and encouraged free Black men in the North to enlist.
Harper's Weekly artist Alfred Waud sketching the battlefield at Gettysburg (1863). Many of the issues up for auction feature his work.
Each issue of Harper's Weekly featured around a half dozen full page illustrations, which were often firsthand accounts from artists who were present in the battlefield. Sketch artists played a crucial role in documenting the war before photography was widespread, and produced many important visual primary sources used by historians today.
Political cartoons were also a common feature of Harper's Weekly, created by the famous cartoonist Thomas Nast (often called the father of American political cartooning). These were present on the back cover of most issues, alongside advertisements for various products and services—notably featuring many ads for prosthetic limbs, a gruesome byproduct of the war.
These magazines are all in good condition. The paper is still flexible and the publications can be carefully flipped through without damaging them. Some have minor tears and a few have pages that have separated, but they are still very much readable and able to be handled.
Issues of Harper's Weekly are quite large, measuring 17 inches by 11 inches (43 cm by 28 cm).
All purchases include a Certificate of Authenticity. You will receive the exact newspaper in this photo.