Most of us know Paul Revere as the midnight rider who warned that the British were coming, but before that he was an artist who used his output to sway public opinion toward independence. Of his works, the most famous is of course the above depiction of the Boston Massacre, which went down 248 years ago; it’s this gruesome, blood-soaked image that helped turn the 1770 event into a turning point toward the Revolution. The thing is, though, Revere didn’t actually draw it: It was done by Henry Pelham; Revere stole Pelham’s visual, gave it some sensational flare and sold it as his own, a decision that had fateful consequences not just for the U.S., but the world.
It seems unfair to his legacy not to offer his landmark images some more space. After all, Brooklyn-born Penfield popularized posters in the States, played a key role in establishing New Rochelle as an early arts colony and was art director for Harper’s Weekly during a seminal period in American publishing
So here, in honor of Penfield and the path he forged for future illustrators, and in no particular order, are 23 of his illustrations, all sourced from the Library of Congress, which has a ton of other ones, too.
Some things that caught my eye: similarities between his style and two other artists, contemporary JC Leyendecker and current master Alex Katz; the self-possession of his women; and the sex appeal of his men.
(And for more Found in the LOC, click HERE.)
The log cabin is more complicated than you may think. In fact, I wrote a whole book about it, one beginning with the question, “Why is the log cabin a BFD in the USA?”
You can learn the fully labyrinthine and altogether fascinating answer in said book, The Log Cabin: An Illustrated History. But as you wait for your copy to arrive, here are 14 things you never knew about log cabins, plus two tangentially related factoids, too.
1. No Log Cabins in Plymouth:
We’ve all seen school books and Thanksgiving cards depicting cheery Pilgrims building log cabins, images that cast the structure as the invention of English settlers, as America’s first true home. But that’s all bunk.
The truth of the matter is that English colonists didn’t live in log cabins. They didn’t even know how to make log cabins. Accustomed to fine brick and frame homes back home, that’s what they built when they got here. Well, not immediately.
First, they slummed it in subterranean dugouts, waiting in the mud until planks could be cut and bricks kiln-fired. It was not a good look… Luckily these ugly bits would be edited out in the centuries ahead.
2. The Swedes and Finns Did It:
So, if the English didn’t bring log cabins to American shores, then who? I guess the sub-header here sort of spoils the beans, but, yes, it was the Swedes and Finns of New Sweden who erected America’s first log cabins. They and their ancestors had been building them for generations, so whipping them together here was simple as pie. But they didn’t make a lasting impression.
New Sweden was so small in population and so short-lived — it fell to the Dutch in 1655 and the land was brought under British rule in 1664 — that it had very little pull in colonial culture at large. Their English and Dutch neighbors weren’t about to copy their homes; Swedish and Finnish log cabins were therefore anomalies in this era, and the structure probably would have faded into oblivion had it not been for the thousands of immigrants who started arriving in the 1700s.