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An allegory of a kind much affected at the time, particularly in France
where the present design and engraving were executed
(From an impression in the Stauffer Collection)





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F the many collectors of American engravings with whom it has been my good fortune to have a personal acquaintance, there are two who have stood out above all others as possessing a superlative knowledge of the subject of American engravings, - David McN. Stauffer and E. B. Holden. Both of these gentlemen fortunately achieved the pleasurable tasks which they had mapped out for their leisure moments.

Mr. Holden formed a collection of Washington engravings and of New York views which, at the time of his death, was the best private collection in this country. Besides this, he owned a fine library of Americana. By good fortune the work upon which Mr. Stauffer had spent so many years of his life (American Engravers on Copper and Steel) was completed and published before his death. This is almost a pioneer work, in that it gives a practically complete list of the work of American engravers. Not only does it contain a complete list of all engravings, known at that time, by each American engraver, but, in a separate volume, there is a brief biography of the men who, whether well known or little known, have by their achievement in the art of engraving helped to make the history of that art in this country. It has been

the good fortune of The New York Public Library to receive as a gift Mr. Stauffer's collection of prints, which was of inestimable service to him in the preparation of his book.

David McNeely Stauffer was a modest man, unpretentious, of extraordinary patience and perseverance. The collection which he has left behind him is symbolical of him and his methods. It cannot be termed great, in that it includes the notable and rarer examples of the artists represented. It was evidently the ambition of this collector to obtain specimens of the different type of work in which each artist had specialized, rather than to obtain the more important or rarer examples of such work.

Tracing the history and development of the art of engraving in this country, the Stauffer Collection will be found to be of immense value to the Library. In the number of artists represented it is wonderfully complete, and Mr. Stauffer did not hesitate to acquire the most modest examples of each artist's work, and has thereby preserved some specimens of engraving, such as small private plates, bill heads, cards of various kinds, and other items of unimportance which to-day it would be almost impossible to collect. The larger and more important examples may be looked for in the Emmet Collection, or elsewhere in the Library.

In making a record of the work of any particular artist this collector did not hesitate, when engravings were lacking, to include in his collection photographs or photogravures or any process reproductions. These he included. evidently for the purpose of record only, and in this particular they serve an important and useful purpose.

Probably the most complete and important part of the collection is the set of engravings by J. B. Longacre. Mr. Stauffer took infinite pains in forming this set, and it is doubtless the most complete in this country, with the exception of one private collection. He was a great admirer of Longacre and his work, and he has included in the collection a photographic reproduction of a portrait of Longacre, which he had prepared after a daguerreotype, especially out of compliment to the artist, and as an important adjunct to the collection. A large number of prints are in proof state. A number of them are in several states, and they are almost without exception in excellent condition. These will be found of immense interest to the student.

It would be idle to mention the names of the various engravers who are represented. Many of the Edwin prints are very attractive, and there are

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An impression of this, dated 1791, is listed under No. 2988 in Mr. Stauffer's book (Stauffer Collection)

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