[NEW YORK]. A Pictorial Description of Broadway. New York: The Mail & Express Co., 1899.

$ 12,750.00

Oblong narrow folio, (6 x 17 inches). Advertisement (a bit toned throughout). 37 chromolithographed sheets, printed on both sides. Original publisher's pictorial paper wrappers (covers detached, one or two chips).

First edition. A series of beautiful chromolithographs that chronicle the main thoroughfare of Broadway "from Steamship Row and Bowling Green to 59th Str." (Holden). Gray calls it a precursor to the photographic books that became popular after the turn of the century, commenting that it "forms a baseline, however unsatisfactory, for documentation of that street" (Gray, ed. p. iii). The Mail & Express Company was the publisher of the Evening Mail, a New York City daily newspaper. This is an important block-by-block record of what Broadway looked like at the turn of the 20th century. "Established in 17th-century Dutch New York, Broadway grew with the city, not only as a thoroughfare but as a conveyance of an expanding city, carrying progress with the tide of time, section by section, with each part reinventing itself after the older Broadway and New York moved on…It was Broadway that carried the growing city. Broadway's expansion took it to the environs of Columbus Circle as the city was preparing to unify itself in the 1890s, but anticipating the next century's growth, outlying paths known as the Boulevard and the Bloomingdale Road were rebuilt, widened, and made part of Broadway" (Gabrielan, p. 7). Randall Gabrielan, "Along Broadway." Christopher Gray, ed. "Fifth Avenue, 1911, from Start to Finish in Historic Block-by-Block Photographs." Holden 1944.