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1869 Sunshine and Shadow in New York by Matthew Hale Smith. Antique FIRST EDITION vintage book lithographed Civil War era social class guide

1869 Sunshine and Shadow in New York by Matthew Hale Smith. Antique FIRST EDITION vintage book lithographed Civil War era social class guide

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"Through eye-catching visuals and dramatic descriptions, periodical and guidebook authors and illustrators mapped the city into symbolic zones of the rich and the poor. In the frontispiece of Matthew Hale Smith’s Sunshine and Shadow in New York. . . .the extremes of sunlight and shadow represent the richest and poorest neighborhoods in New York. The “bright and cheerful scene” in the upper image of Smith’s illustration closely echoes McCabe’s text, in which he describes the city as follows:

You may stand in the open space at . . . the true Five Points, in the midst of a wide sea of sin and suffering, and gaze right into Broadway with its marble palaces of trade, its busy, well-dressed throng, and its roar and bustle so indicative of wealth and prosperity. It is almost within pistol shot, but what a wide gulf lies between the two thoroughfares, a gulf that the wretched, shabby, dirty creatures who go slouching by you may never cross. There everything is bright and cheerful. Here every surrounding is dark and wretched. The streets are narrow and dirty, the dwellings are foul and gloomy. . . . This is the realm of Poverty.

The building in the upper half of Smith’s illustration closely resembles drawings of A. T. Stewart’s marble-faced mansion on Fifth Avenue and Thirty-fourth Street, completed the same year that the guidebook was published. This positive depiction of the mansion signifies the height of opulence and the morality of the rich who lived on Fifth Avenue and visited the “marble-palaces of trade” on Broadway.

The corresponding “dark and wretched scene” of the lower image, showing the Old Brewery and the Five Points Ladies’ Mission, represented all that the Five Points symbolized in the New York imagination: the misery and vice of the poor and criminals. . . The Old Brewery with its dilapidated exterior appears “foul and gloomy,” and the surrounding streets appear dirty with trash and other debris.11 The artist depicts the “creatures” in the lower image in a “wretched, shabby, dirty” manner: the carriage driver is shown whipping his horse violently, and a man and woman on the street appear to be having a physical dispute.12 The children clad in their rags run about the streets and are fighting as well. Illustration and text in New York City guidebooks worked together to present to the public an image of the Five Points neighborhood that was mired in poverty and vice." Virginia Fister

CONDITION: VG- *Please see pictures* Whenever possible we handpick our books for very good condition & quality; we also carefully examine each book we receive to ensure that each one meets our strict quality criteria. An extraordinary amount of care is taken for shipping and handling of the books and we provide a tracking number with all of our orders. Our books ship well-packaged, protected with bubble wrap. We promise quick shipping and delivery. We strive to provide excellent service!

ABOUT: Sunshine and Shadow in New York
Matthew Hale Smith
Please see all pictures and noted condition. Grading scale:
- Fine: Unused, like new, without any flaws.
- VG+ (Very Good +): May have been opened & read, but no defects to the book, jacket or pages. Shows some small signs of wear but no tears on binding or paper. ⭐️
- VG (Very Good): More obvious signs of use with no significant creasing or defects.
- VG- (Very Good): Worn. Defects are noted.
- Poor / Fair / Former Library Book: Worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, have loose binding.

To preserve the condition of your book, place your book upright on a shelf with the spine facing outward. Books should be firmly pressed together but not wedged in tightly, which causes stress on the bindings. Shelves should not be exposed to direct sunlight and should be in a dry, insect-free location.



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