A Forest Fire in America


Woodcut engraving from the London Illustrated News showing a scourge of 19th century American life – fire.

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This harrowing scene shows chaos in a rural American community; as men, women, and children attempt to flee a blazing inferno that is consuming everything in its wake. It’s based on an illustration by Alfred Hunt and was published in the October 29, 1871 issue of The Illustrated London News.

The timing is not coincidental – earlier that month, the Midwestern United States experienced two gigantic fires on the same day – October 8th. The Great Chicago Fire was the more famous of the pair, though the Peshtigo fire in northeastern Wisconsin killed far more people (between 1,500 and 2,500). That disaster is likely the one represented in this scene, though the article on the verso references numerous American forest fires. Commentary on the burning of Chicago is also present.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1871

Author: Alfred Hunt

Sheet Width (in): 21.1

Sheet Height (in): 15.3

Condition: A

Condition Description: Centerfold view from the London Illustrated News, with an extra page of text affixed. Very faint soiling in the margins, but overall in near fine condition.


1 in stock