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Texas Lithographs

Texas Lithographs
A Century of History in Images

A stunning and comprehensive collection of lithographs from 1818 to 1900 Texas.

Series: Charles N. Prothro Texana Endowment

February 2023
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640 pages | 8.5 x 11 | 461 color photos |

Westward expansion in the United States was deeply intertwined with the technological revolutions of the nineteenth century, from telegraphy to railroads. Among the most important of these, if often forgotten, was the lithograph. Before photography became a dominant medium, lithography—and later, chromolithography—enabled inexpensive reproduction of color illustrations, transforming journalism and marketing and nurturing, for the first time, a global visual culture. One of the great subjects of the lithography boom was an emerging Euro-American colony in the Americas: Texas.

The most complete collection of its kind—and quite possibly the most complete visual record of nineteenth-century Texas, period—Texas Lithographs is a gateway to the history of the Lone Star State in its most formative period. Ron Tyler assembles works from 1818 to 1900, many created by outsiders and newcomers promoting investment and settlement in Texas. Whether they depict the early French colony of Champ d’Asile, the Republic of Texas, and the war with Mexico; or urban growth, frontier exploration, and the key figures of a nascent Euro-American empire; the images collected here envision an Eden of opportunity—a fairy-tale dream that remains foundational to Texans’ sense of self and to the world’s sense of Texas.

  • Introduction: “We Can Read the Pictures”
  • 1. “Really a Kind of Paradise”: Hispanic and Mexican Texas
  • 2. “A More Perfect Fac-simile of Things”: The Republic of Texas
  • 3. “Illustrations of a Cheap Character”: Annexation and War with Mexico
  • 4. “A Perfect Terra Incognita”: Surveys of Texas
  • 5. “Pretty Pictures . . . ‘Candy’ for the Immigrants”: Illustrating the State
  • 6. “The Dark Corner of the Confederacy”: Civil War and Reconstruction in Texas
  • 7. “The Enterprise Was Not Properly Appreciated”: The Growth of Lithography in Texas
  • 8. “The ‘Image Breakers’”: Mending the Reputation
  • 9. “The truth is Texas is what her railroads have made her”
  • Epilogue: “Mistaken . . . for Lithograph Work”
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index

The author or coauthor of numerous works of visual history, Ron Tyler is the retired director of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. He formerly served as director of the Texas State Historical Association, Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin, and editor of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and The New Handbook of Texas.