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An Early American Engraving

Engraving A Display of the United States of America
Engraved and Published by Amos Doolittle New Haven, Connecticut, 1794

Amos Doolittle (1754-1832), the self-taught New Haven printer and engraver, capitalized on the commercial potential of George Washington's likeness in this early American presidential political print. Unusually large and ambitious for its time, it represents a significant achievement in American popular printmaking.

Originally issued in 1789 after the first presidential election, it marks Washington's passage from military command to civilian rule and is a celebration of the Constitution and the new Federal government. In his ingenious design, Doolittle has encircled the portrait of Washington in a ring of fourteen interlocking circles containing the seals of the United States and the original thirteen colonies. Within the circular borders of the state seals are population statistics and the number of senators and representatives designated for each state.

The clarity with which Doolittle displayed so much important information in such an attractive format must have appealed greatly to the citizens of our new nation. At least five times during Washington's term as President, Doolittle issued new versions of his portrait, periodically bringing the names of states and their statistics up to date.

This copy is hand-colored.

Purchased with funds given to the Society by James N. Heald, 2002

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