Philadelphia. 1787. Disbound. Page of January, 1787 meteorological observations is present but detached from the balance of the Magazine. Contents age-toned with occasional minor stains or foxing. Plate with Washington portrait has limited light foxing, but is generally clean and crisp. Item #3531
This issue of the Columbian Magazine -- one of the first successful magazines in the United States -- has several notable features. Most importantly, this issue includes the second magazine portrait of George Washington (the first having appeared in the April, 1784 issue of The Boston Magazine). Engraved by James Trenchard, one of the Magazine's publishers, this portrait was not one of his more successful works. Among the possible sources for the engraving, according to Wicks, are an early Charles Willson Peale painting, a portrait by Robert Edge Pine and a bust by Jean Antoine Houdon. In addition to the Washington portrait and a defense of Washington's actions in the Captain Asgill affair, the Magazine contains the first appearance of Benjamin Rush's "Paradise of Negro Slaves -- A Dream." Rush, an eminent Philadelphia physician, educator, social reformer and writer, was also a strong anti-slavery voice during the Nation's formative years. This piece, "after picturing the grossest cruelties, contains an elaborate compliment of the work of Anthony Benezet, who had circulated a petition for the abolition of slavery." (Richardson, p. 286.) Other content includes a (corrected) description of Fitch's steam boat, a description and architectural drawing of a bridge "proposed to be erected across the Schuylkill," and a detailed account of the medical cases attended to by the Physicians of the Philadelphia Dispensary during its first year (Benjamin Rush founded this institution for the medical relief of the poor). Mott, A History of American Magazines 1741-1850: pp. 94-99. Richardson, A History of Early American Magazines, 1741-1789: pp. 276-293. For the Washington portrait: Lewis: A Guide to Engravings in American Magazines, 1741-1810: pp. 4, 47. Wick, George Washington, An American Icon: 20. Baker, The Engraved Portraits of Washington: 37.