Monday, January 6, 2014

From the Stacks: The Great Snow Storm

The Great Snow Storm of Jan. 1857. Philadelphia: L.L. Magee, ca. 1857. 
This satirical print from the Graphics Division depicts a city street buried in snow, with residents using various methods to dig themselves out. A man stuck in a carriage says, "Help me first, I'm to be married at four o'clock & I would'nt disapoint the company for the wourld." Another man climbing a ladder exclaims, "I must go to the office! I've got a Heavy Draft to meet." An ice seller advises the ice cream shop owner, "Better lay in yer Ice til next Season."

The historical event referred to in this print is the great blizzard recorded in January 16-18, 1857. The Pennsylvania Weather Book describes 18 to 24 inches of snow in Philadelphia during the Great Cold Storm, with drifts from 6 to 12 feet. According to the National Weather Service page on historic winter storms in the Mid-Atlantic, the Chesapeake Bay froze solid and at Cape Henry it was possible to walk on the frozen ocean 100 yards from the lighthouse.

No comments:

Post a Comment