Civil War-Era Drawings From the Becker Collection
by Michelle Simmons
July 24, 2013
The Art of War
Harold Holzer, one of the country’s leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era, will present a lecture titled “The Art of War” at Dickinson on Friday, Aug. 30, from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Rubendall Recital Hall, Weis Center for the Arts, 240 West High Street.
The presentation precedes a reception for The Trout Gallery exhibition First Hand: Civil War-Era Drawings From the Becker Collection.
In 1900, when Joseph Becker retired from his four-decade career with Frank Leslie's Illustrated Paper, he took with him nearly 700 original drawings that he and other artist-reporters had produced since the 1860s, most notably of the American Civil War.
The war was one of the first major conflicts covered by the newly emerging medium of illustrated newspapers such as Leslie's and Harper's Weekly. Combat illustrators, known as "special artists," prepared drawings of various aspects of warfare and camp life and shipped them to their editorial offices, where the images were engraved and paired with news articles.
On June 7, The Trout Gallery, in collaboration with Archives & Special Collections, opened First Hand: Civil War-Era Drawings from the Becker Collection with 51 of those drawings and corresponding illustrations from Leslie's, illuminating the origins of what we today call embedded journalists.