Historic Print Comes Home
By Steven Brown
The Dr. Louis Moore Lithograph, circa 1854
May 13, 1854 issue of Gleason's Pictorial
It’s so familiar, but not quite right. That is what we thought when a photograph of the scene shown at left arrived in the mail. Compare it to the well-known portrait of the University from the May 13, 1854, issue of Gleason’s Pictorial and you perhaps will have the same feeling.
The photograph was soon followed by the real item, a colored lithograph of the Broad Street face of campus in the 1850s generously donated to the University by Dr. Louis Moore of Naples, Florida. On close examination it can be seen that the many trees are depicted with great detail, including broken branches and the broken trunk of the famous Toombs Oak in front of the Chapel. A vigorous growth of young pines obscures most of Old College. In comparison, the Gleason’s print has fewer and simplified trees and the modest home, today known as the Lustrat house, has been turned into an enormous three story building no longer hidden by pines.
Our theory is that the Moore print was created from a drawing done on site and served as the model for the simplified view by the Gleason’s artist, who perhaps had never traveled south of New Jersey. If the Moore print was the model, it is the earliest known close view of the campus.
Dr. Moore’s name also seemed strangely familiar to us. That was because his uncle, an earlier Louis Moore, was a major collector of works on the history of Georgia. In 1936 his superb library was purchased by the University as one of the foundation collections of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Researchers today will often find a Louis Moore Collection bookplate in the front of rare works they are consulting. In a March 16, 1930 article in the Macon Telegraph Sunday Magazine, a reporter described Moore’s Thomasville, Georgia, mansion and its treasure trove of books. In the room devoted to books about Georgia, the reporter noted, “an old print of Franklin college.” The print in Hargrett originally belonged to Dr. Moore’s uncle, so it seems likely it is the one mentioned in 1930.
Although the print is a new addition to the Libraries, reproductions of it appear in University publications of some fifty years ago. We hope that another copy may surface in better condition, particularly since trimming has obliterated the artist and printers names on the Moore copy. Of course we also continue to hope that even earlier sketches of the campus will emerge as well: certainly someone must have spent a pleasant and genteel afternoon between 1801 and 1854 drawing views of the University.