Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Material World of Early Springfield


Elopement of Bianca Capello

J. R. Herbert (1810-1890)
Engraved by E.G. Dunnel for Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1843
Collection of the Springfield Art Association

Improvements in printing technology, increased literacy, better transportation networks, and a growing middle class gave rise to several illustrated monthly magazines in the 1840s and 1850s. These magazines, which had circulations that numbered in the tens of thousands, helped to democratize art in America by placing engraved copies of original artwork into the hands of ordinary citizens.

These prints were engraved for mass distribution in the January, 1843 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book. Printed on special paper and tipped in to the magazine, they were designed to allow readers the option of removing and framing them for display within the home. Several Springfield ladies subscribed to Godey’s. This copy belonged to Helen Edwards.