Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy - Newspapers in Camp.

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Image of Newspapers in Camp.

Edwin Forbes , (1839–Mar 6, 1895)

Newspapers in Camp.

11 in. x 15 15/16 in. (27.94 cm x 40.48 cm)

Medium and Support: copper plate etching on paper
Credit Line: transfer from Phillips Academy
Accession Number: 1990.156.28


“The newsman is sitting on horseback, surrounded by men who are
buying and reading the latest ‘news from the front,’ as it comes from
the rear.”

In the 1860s, journalism brought the Civil War into the homes of its
readers. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper and Harper’s Weekly
published weekly newspapers with wood engravings of peoples,
places, and battles. Newspapers hired artists, commonly called
“Special Artists” or “Specials,” to sketch the unfolding events on the
front lines. Equipped with only pencils, sketchbooks, field glasses,
and pocket-sized notebooks of memorandum sketches of uniforms,
artists created detailed drawings, sometimes with written comments,
that were mailed in for translation into printed form. Many artistreporters
never witnessed actual battles, often observing them
through binoculars at a distance and relying on soldiers’ secondhand
descriptions to exact their drawings. Throughout the course of the
war, roughly six thousand images were produced and disseminated
as the primary visual news.

In 1861 Edwin Forbes, at the age of 22, was hired as a staff artist by
the Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper to document the events of
the Army of the Potomac. When Forbes returned to New York in
1864, he refined his wartime sketches to produce a suite of forty
etchings. First published as Life Studies of the Great Army in 1876,
the portfolio illustrated soldiers engaged in everyday activities and
combat as well as escaped slaves’ journeys to freedom. Short texts
were printed on the portfolio folder and are reprinted with each
work in the exhibition.

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This object was included in the following exhibitions:

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