About the Collection
Enter the James E. and Joan Singer Schiele Print Collection
The James Schiele Print Collection consists of Civil War prints and other historical images, representing abolition through the Civil War and reconstruction. The prints include portraits, battle scenes, and political cartoons, and represent a variety of printing techniques, from woodcut to chromolithograph. A highlight of the collection is a set of thirty-six Kurz & Allison prints.
The Chicago firm of Kurz & Allison is well known for its production of commemorative prints of American historical scenes. Founded in 1880, the firm's avowed purpose was to design "for large scale establishments of all kinds, and in originating and placing on the market artistic and fancy prints of the most elaborate workmanship." Louis Kurz was an acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln, and was sent to sketch several Civil War battles; these sketches inform several of the thirty-six prints in the firm's battlefield series. James Schiele's collection holds all thirty-six of the prints. The only other known collection of all thirty-six Kurz & Allison chromolithographs of the Civil War is located at the Chicago Historical Society.
The prints in the James Schiele Print Collection make up a visual overview of historical events during one of the nation's most tumultuous times, and provide a strong background for cultural and historical studies.