This afternoon, Visions of Victory: Picturing the Spanish-American War formally opened to the public in the museum’s fifth floor galleries.


Organized by Sharf Associate Librarian, Rochelle Pienn, and pulled from the extensive collection of materials donated by Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf, the exhibit looks at the Spanish-American War of 1898, and especially focuses on illustrations and book bindings dealing with the Caribbean phase of the war, and the naval and land battles in Cuba.


American newspapers and British tabloids dispatched artists to the war zones to make realistic sketches from the field. Their images would be sent back and then reworked by a second tier of artist in preparation for publication. In their eagerness to sell papers, editors like Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and his rival William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal encouraged their in-house artists to exaggerate and embellish the original sketches to produce heroic and highly sensationalized images of battles on land and at sea.

Many of these illustrations later found their way into popular books, or were reprinted as color chromolithographic posters that could be cheaply purchased by an American public hungry for patriotic and stirring images of the victorious war with Spain.

After the war, the Thomas Edison Company also tried to capitalize on the popularity of the war by producing short clips of battles restaged in New Jersey. Many of these clips are held by the Library of Congress and can be viewed online at the following web address:


~ by "The Chief" on April 19, 2012.

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