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The Great American Hall of WondersArt, Science, and Invention in the Nineteenth Century

Published by GILES in association with the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Add to Cart US$65.00

Published — (UK and USA)

Dimensions — 244 pages, 292 x 241 mm (9½ x 11½ in.), portrait

Illustrations — 80 colour and 56 duotone

Format — Hardback

ISBN — 978-1-904832-97-3

News  —  How 19th-century America reimagined the future

            —  Great American Hall of Wonders opens July 15

Sales Points

"both a sociological and an artistic study of the 19th-century US" J. W. Stamper, Choice "An interesting and informative account of the American ingenuity and innovation that fired the 19th century development of the country." Michael Blackman, World Patent Information "The book is richly illustrated with high-quality images on every page, and Perry's essays address the broader issues of a young nation." Marc Vincent,

About the Book

The Great American Hall of Wonders is a vividly illustrated survey of the American vision that energized all aspects of 19th-century society, from the painting of landscapes and scenes of everyday life, to the planning of scientific expeditions and the development of new mechanical devices. Featuring rarely seen prints, survey photographs, zoological and botanical illustrations, patent models, and engineering diagrams, it focuses on six iconic objects that inspired the American imagination: the buffalo, the giant sequoia, and Niagara Falls (symbolizing vast natural bounty), and the gun, the railroad, and the clock (representing all things mechanical and the purposeful use of time). Each of these served as cultural lightning rods, sparking creativity across a wide swathe of American society. Visions of buffalo herds, railroad trestles, big trees, and Colt rifles engaged not only artists, scientists, and inventors, but also poets, educators, farmers, chaplains, and members of Congress.

About the Author(s)

Claire Perry is a guest curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and her work focuses on the art and cultural history of the United States in the nineteenth century. Before working for the Smithsonian, Perry served as curator of American art at the Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University. She is the author of Young America: Childhood in Nineteenth-century Art (2005) and Culture Pacific Arcadia: Images of California, 1600-1915 (1999).