February 02, 2017

Semper Fidelis: WWI Marines Poster Added To DC Shop Walls

After a busy holiday season and inauguration week, our DC shop walls looked a little empty. We spent the last week adding a host of antique prints, maps, hand-carved eagles, and posters to our inventory and walls. One of the new additions to our CityCenter shop is this striking WWI U.S. Marines recruitment poster by artist Charles Buckles Falls, published in 1917.

This is one of the two known versions of the poster, created to inspire young men to join the Marines. A simple yet impactful design, the poster features the U.S. Marine corps emblem, printed in yellow and black, which rests on a field of deep green. Below is the text "This Device On This Hat Or Helmet Means U.S. Marines" in bold block letters. A border of white encircles the printed design. It was typical for recruitment offices to use the blank space at bottom to print their local addresses. 

Until the advent of the Cold War in the 1950s, America traditionally maintained a relatively small standing army and navy.  Whenever war broke out, it was necessary for the country to mobilize for the fight—to recruit (and sometimes draft) troops, to train them, and to produce the arms, equipment, and supplies needed to fight. When Congress and President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany in April of 1917, this mobilization took on extreme urgency.  The government’s overarching goal was to persuade a traditionally isolationist American populace to invest and support the European war effort. They needed support financially, through the purchase of war bonds and rationing, and emotionally, through volunteer service (men for the armed forces, women for the nurse corps), displays of patriotism, and shared sacrifice. 

New government organizations, especially the Committee on Public Information, were tasked with putting out a singular patriotic message, achieved primarily through posters and printed pamphlets. The war ushered in the biggest advertising campaign to date, critical to the wartime communication needs of every combatant: from raising money, recruiting soldiers and boosting volunteer efforts, to spurring production and provoking outrage at enemy atrocities. The stark, colorful graphic designs, created by some of the nation’s leading artists, elicited strong emotions. The posters played to the fears, frustrations, and faith in freedoms that lingered in people's minds during the war. The United States alone produced about 2,500 poster designs and approximately 20 million posters, nearly 1 for every 4 citizens, in little more than 2 years.

Charles Buck Falls was an illustrious American artist, illustrator, and designer. He worked for several plays designing sets and costumes, was employed by lithographic companies as an etcher and master printer, and freelanced as a newspaper and poster illustrator. He is best known, however, for the posters he designed for the Victory book campaigns of WWI and WWII. 

July 22, 2016

Freedom Marketplace offers 'Made in America' RNC merchandise

The Great Republic was featured as a vendor at the RNC Market Place this week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

July 15, 2016

For sale at the RNC: $2,450 pens and a $225,000 copy of ‘The Federalist’

Eddie Papczun loaded up his newly-purchased Mercedez Benz cargo van and set off to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention with a very American goal: to make money.

“I tell people I’m not going there as a Democrat or a Republican,” said Papczun, owner of Great Republic, a store in downtown Washington that specializes in U.S. memorabilia. “I’m going there as a capitalist.”

Stowed in the back of his van, and in a rented U-Haul trailer behind that, were historical documents, pre-Civil War flags and 200-year-old oil paintings Papczun plans to sell at next week’s convention. They include a copy of the Declaration of Independence printed in 1818 (price tag: $48,500), an autographed manuscript of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” ($138,500) and a first-edition copy of “The Federalist Papers” ($225,000).


Read the full article at The Washington Post

July 15, 2016

Colorado Springs store chosen to be a vendor at Republican National Convention


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It’s a mix of old and new.

“I think it just resonates with our guests that we in here, many times people will come in and say, ‘I’ve never seen a shop like this before,'” said Pam Sams, director of operations for The Great Republic.

Out of 150 applicants, only 22 stores were chosen to be a vendor at the Republican National Convention.

Store managers say The Great Republic was invited.


Click here to read the full article at Fox 21 News

June 25, 2016

Washington, D.C. Based The Great Republic Named One of 22 Vendors Featured in the Republican National Convention’s Freedom Marketplace

The Great Republic, a Washington, D.C. and The Broadmoor, CO based retail establishment, has been named one of 22 vendors that will be featured in the Republican National Convention’s Freedom Marketplace. 


According to a recent announcement made by the Republican National Convention Committee, The Freedom Marketplace is new to this year’s Convention and will give delegates and guests the opportunity to find unique mementos to bring the Convention home. Vendors from across the country will be in Cleveland with a wide array of products for Marketplace visitors.


“We’re thrilled to be able to showcase The Great Republic to nearly 50,000 visitors that are expected in the Cleveland area for the event, including delegates, alternate delegates, members of the media and other guests,” says founder and owner Eddie Papczun.  “The Great Republic celebrates the United States in antique, one-of-a-kind offerings as well as made-in-America handcrafted goods, designed for the individual who puts a premium on unquestioned authenticity and quality of craftsmanship when investing in an exceptional piece of history or handcrafted item--either for themselves or as a gift.”
June 19, 2016

Father's Day Interview on Good Day DC (FOX 5)

Eddie Papczun features some of The Great Republic's best American-made gifts for Father's Day.

March 21, 2016

Washington Post: Buried underground gave him time to think about a second career in Americana

The more I do this, the more I like hearing stories about how people figure it out.

“It” being life, betterment, the path to success.

photo by J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post

Eddie Papczun’s path was non-traditional. Part of his life took him 100 feet beneath the Midwest prairie, where the 55-year-old former Cold War warrior served as a launch officer for a bunch of nuclear missiles.

From humble beginnings, with guidance and motivation from the Air Force, he became a guy who started with nothing and now sells to people who have everything.

The Air Force “was a confidence-builder . . . being part of something that was greater than me,” he says.

Papczun owns the Great Republic, a guys’ store with two upscale locations: one in downtown Washington’s new CityCenterDC and one in a Colorado Springs hotel, a jog from the Air Force Academy, from which his wife graduated.

The Great Republic isn’t Costco.

Continue to full article at www.washtintonpost.com

October 25, 2015

The Origins of Uncle Sam

Just who is this cat named Uncle Sam, anyway? For nearly two centuries he's been an American pop culture icon,  peering down at us on posters along with the caption "I Want You." But where did the character come from? Would you believe a meat packing plant?

Sam's origins can be traced back to a meat factory in Troy, NY around 1812 (which was even before I started my company.) The factory manager's name was Sam Wilson. An army contractor named Elbert Anderson would purchase the meat in large oak barrels that were stamped "E.A.-US." One day while buying his meat, he asked someone in the factory what the US stood for and the worker replied "Uncle Sam", referring to Sam Wilson. The joke spread throughout the factory, then the state of New York, and eventually all of New England--and by that time the name was thought to imply the United States.

By the 1820s, Uncle Sam was solidifying himself as an American symbol. Soon cartoon artists for newspapers began depicting the character as a tall, thin man (which is what Sam Wilson was said to be) wearing a patriotic costume and top hat.

And the rest, as they say, is history--U.S. history, to be exact.

Reprinted from our friends at Jacob Bromwell…

September 02, 2015

1946 Indian Chief Motorcycle Rolls Into The Great Republic at CityCenterDC



 The Great Republic is proud to announce the arrival of a fully restored 1946 Indian Chief Motorcycle, complete with a Suicide Shift. This meticulously fully restored piece of American Iron embodies the highest level of skill and passion, and was brought back to better than perfect condition with the purpose of being driven and enjoyed.


The team in charge of such a special restoration is highly regarded for its work and prides itself on achieving the highest standard of accuracy, originality, and reliability. An Indian in need of attention, repair, or restoration could not have found itself in better hands anywhere in the world.

Such a quality restoration is defined by many criteria including a first kick start, a perfectly dialed carburetor, smooth running of the iron, effortless shifting, responsive braking, solid electrics, impressive power, and when you take your hands off the grips – she goes straight down the road.


All of these expectations and more are met in this gorgeous 1946 Indian Chief and should you decide to invest in this one-of-a-kind beauty – you will have the unique opportunity to spend the day with the head of the restoration team learning the operational nuances of owning such a timeless piece of American ingenuity and craftsmanship. Additionally, The Great Republic and its restorers collectively stand behind the operational integrity of this bike for the long haul, wherever it may take you.


The price of this Springfield, Massachusetts built 1946 Indian Chief: $65,000.


Stop in today to view this incredible, one-of-a-kind piece of history.


About The Great Republic

THE GREAT REPUBLIC (www.great-republic.com) is known nationwide for its unique product mix that includes antique flags; period wall maps, rare books and historical Americana as well as handcrafted American made goods. The CityCenterDC location is the company’s second retail location, and follows the initial success of their first shop, which is located at The Broadmoor in Colorado.


About CityCenterDC

CITYCENTERDC (www.citycenterdc.com) is a unique, pedestrian-friendly, 10-acre mixed-use development, located in the heart of Downtown Washington on a 4.5-block parcel bounded by New York Avenue, 9th, H and 11th Streets, NW. Foster + Partners, an international studio for architecture, planning and design based in London, served as the master-plan architect and the design architect for the office and for-sale-housing components.  Shalom Baranes Associates, P.C., a Washington-based architectural firm, served as the associate master-plan architect and the design architect for the residential rental component. The initial and largest phase of the project contains approximately 300,000 square feet of retail space featuring a unique mix of local, national and international retail brands and restaurants with extensive street frontage. Retailers now open at CityCenterDC include: Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, BOSS, kate spade new york, Alexis Bittar, Caudalie, Arc'teryx, Paul Stuart, and more.  In addition, the project encompasses 520,000 square feet of office space, 458 rental apartment units and 216 condominium units, a 1550 space parking garage, a public park, a central plaza and pedestrian-oriented streets and alleyways.  Construction of the Conrad Washington, DC project at CityCenterDC, a 370-room luxury hotel with 70,000 square feet of additional retail space, will commence in 2016.


For more information, contact:


The Great Republic – Eddie Papczun - epapczun@gmail.com

CityCenterDC - Whitney Burns - whitney.burns@hines.com


July 14, 2015

American Atlas Publishers in the 19th Century

It is no coincidence that as the United States underwent significant and constant change throughout the 19th century, its commercial cartography evolved as well.  As the nation pushed westward, new geographical data poured in, networks of roads, railroads, and canals developed, and new configurations of territories and states appeared.  The prospering American population -- which more than tripled from 1810 to 1850 -- understandably had a burning interest in monitoring the growth and progress of their nation, and map and atlas publishers eagerly stepped up to meet the demand, revising and updating their works to reflect even the minutest changes to the country.  These publishing companies were able to meet the increased demand thanks to innovations that allowed for faster, cheaper, and easier printing and production.  Out of this perfect storm the American atlas emerged as a profitable (for the publishing companies) and informative (for the American public) way to track and visualize America's profound transformation.

Mathew Carey published the first atlas of the United States engraved and published in the United States, Carey's American Atlas, in 1795, but cartography was not his principal interest.  The first publisher in America to focus exclusively on maps and atlases was John Melish, a Scotsman who entered the publishing industry in 1812 with his two-volume work Travels in the United States of America in the Years 1806 & 1807, and 1809, 1810, & 1811, which included eight maps drafted by Melish himself.  In the next couple years, Philadelphia-based Melish would go on to publish A Military and Topographical Atlas of the United States... (1813), a compilation of successful maps he created related to the War of 1812, and A New Juvenile Atlas and Familiar Introduction to the Use of Maps... (1813-14).  One of the mapmaker's biggest achievements was not an atlas but a map: the pioneering work Map of the United States in Connection with the British and Spanish Possessions (1816), a six-sheet map that was one of the first to depict the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the accompanying text, A Geographical Description of the United States.  Melish continued to publish until his death in 1822.  His company died with him.  Walter W. Ristow summarizes his accomplishments: "Melish played a foremost role in bringing together from many and varied sources the geographical and cartographical knowledge of the period, and presenting it systematically and graphically for the edification and enlightenment of the citizens of the young republic."

One of Melish's key collaborators, the engraver Henry Schenck Tanner, would prove to be a successor of sorts.  One of the most important mapmakers and publishers to appear during the Golden Age of American cartography that lasted through the 1820s and 30s, Tanner made his mark with the influential New American Atlas (1823), the final plates of which were distributed less than a year after Melish's death.  Highly praised in its time, this landmark atlas established a new standard in American commercial cartography.  What set the New American Atlas apart from its competition were its maps detailing the states.  Even though all the states but Florida and New York appear in groups, these state maps provided an unprecedented level of detail, delineating topography, towns and cities, roads, canals, and more.  Tanner believed his customer base was more interested in seeing their home country in vivid detail than they were in maps of places in the eastern hemisphere.  He also insisted on revising the maps whenever new data became available.  But rather than forcing customers to shell out another $30 for an updated atlas, Tanner issued these new sheets separately, at a low cost, in color schemes that matched the original atlas.  Customers could then amend their old atlases by adding these inexpensive new sheets. 
Despite its innovations and critical success, the New American Atlas sold below Tanner's expectations.  Publication of the atlas would cease by 1839.  But by then Tanner had conceived of a smaller, cheaper atlas, which evolved intoA New Universal Atlas, first published in 1836.  According to Manasek, Griggs & Griggs, "For nearly a quarter century, the New Universal Atlas was the predominant American atlas."  The atlas would be published until 1860 by a number of different publishers including Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Thomas, Cowperthwait, & Co., and Cushings and Bailey.  Much of Tanner's subsequent work consisted of revised editions of previous works and publications focused more on the written word than cartography.  In 1843 Tanner moved his lucrative company from Philadelphia, then the city for those in the cartographic publishing industry, to New York, likely to avoid switching from engraving to the relatively new manner of reproduction, lithography.  Lithography had been around for nearly fifty years at this point in time, but many publishers were slow to adopt the technique because it required large, unwieldy stones.  Once the lithographic stones were replaced with zinc printing plates circa 1845, lithography overtook engraving as the main technique of map reproduction.  It is somewhat ironic that when the forward-thinking mapmaker died in Brooklyn in May 1858, he was lagging behind the times.

Tanner's two major atlases established a tradition in American commercial cartography that was carried on by the companies of Samuel Augustus Mitchell and Joseph Hutchins Colton.  Despite their lack of proper training in geography or cartography, these savvy businessmen managed to lead the mapmaking industry for decades.  Mitchell was born in Bristol, Connecticut, in 1792.  Originally a teacher, he found himself consistently disappointed by the quality of the geography textbooks.  He moved to Philadelphia and entered map and atlas publishing in 1831 with A New American Atlas.  Not to be confused with Tanner's work of the same title, Mitchell's atlas was a revised reissue of Anthony Finley's answer to Tanner's groundbreaking atlas.  Mitchell recruited J.H. Young, the engraver who worked on Finley's atlas, and entered a collaboration with him that spanned decades.  Young would prove to be an essential collaborator, making up for Mitchell's lack of cartographic expertise by serving as his primary compiler, draftsman, and engraver.  In between the publication of A New American Atlas and Mitchell's eventual acquisition of Tanner's New Universal Atlas, his company specialized in maps and travel guides.

Mitchell bought the copyright for Tanner's atlas from Carey and Hart in 1845, and in the subsequent year his company published two editions of the milestone atlas.  These editions of the atlas are early examples of the lithographic transfer process in American commercial cartography.  Whereas the maps in earlier editions of the New Universal Atlas were engraved on copper plates, with visible plate marks on the sheets, Mitchell's editions are believed to have been reproduced by moving the engraving over to lithographic stones, with no plate marks.  Hand colored green borders were also added to the maps.  Borders such as these would prove to be popular in the atlases of the latter half of the 19th century, serving as ornamentation on maps that were otherwise more practical and scientific than decorative.  Mitchell published the New Universal Atlas intermittently until 1850, when he sold the rights to Thomas, Cowperthwait, and Co.  The atlas would transfer hands a few more times before its final edition was published in 1859 by Cushings and Bailey.

In 1860, Samuel Augustus Mitchell Jr. took the reins of his father's company and began publishing theNew General Atlas, a replacement for the New Universal Atlas.  New editions of the New General Atlaswere issued yearly with Mitchell Jr. named as publisher until 1879; the atlas would continue to be published by a variety of publishers until 1893, when it was put out by the A.R. Keller Company under the altered title of Mitchell's Family Atlas of the World.   The elder Mitchell continued to work on wall maps and other projects until his death in 1868.  When the company he created was at its peak, it employed 250 and sold more than four hundred thousand publications a year.

Along with Mitchell, J.H. Colton (1800-1893) dominated commercial cartographic publishing in America for much of the 19th century.  J.H. Colton and Company was founded in New York City in 1831, and the earliest Colton imprint appeared a couple of years later on a re-engraved version of David H. Burr's map of New York from 1831.  In the early years of his company, Colton did not have an equivalent to Mitchell's associate J.H. Young -- he had to purchase copyrights from other mapmakers.  For the first twenty four years of its existence, J.H. Colton and Company published maps, including railroad and immigrant maps, and guidebooks, but no atlases.  That changed in 1855, with the publication of the first volume of the company's original atlas, Colton's Atlas of the World Illustrating Physical and Railroad Geography.  Likely compiled by Colton's son George W. (1827-1901), this volume contained lithographed maps of the Americas, with decorative, interwoven borders and hand color.  The second volume, featuring maps from the rest of the world, was issued the next year.  The distinguishing feature of Colton's atlas was the inclusion of descriptive prose by Richard Swainson Fisher; the other popular atlases of the era were not accompanied by text.  The pricy atlas was quickly replaced after two editions in 1857 with the single-volumeColton's General Atlas, with maps produced from steel plates.  Colton's General Atlas proved to be a huge success and was updated and reissued various times until 1888.  
Within a decade of the company publishing its first atlas, J.H. Colton's sons, George W. and Charles B. (1832-1916), took control of the firm, with George serving in the J.H. Young role, working as cartographer, engraver, and compiler.  The company continued to publish until 1892, releasing a number of smaller atlases.  By that point in time, most American atlas publishers had shifted to the cheaper (in both cost and quality) wax engraving process, a move that the Coltons were not willing to make.

One of Mitchell and Colton's primary competitors was Alvin Jewett Johnson, whose career is ironically and inextricably intertwined with the Colton firm.  Johnson got his start as a door-to-door book peddler; at least part of his inventory consisted of Colton's works.  He moved into publishing around 1854, eventually relocating to New York City in 1857.  Along with his early partner Ross C. Browning, Johnson provided the cash-strapped Colton firm with financial assistance and published some of Colton's General Atlas in 1859 and 1860.  At this point, the two companies had in many ways merged, sharing an address and co-publishing works with one another, leading George W. Colton to take a hiatus from his father's company until Johnson's relationship with the elder Colton dissolved around 1865.  In 1860, Johnson began to publish Johnson's New Illustrated (Steel Plate) Family Atlas, which was comprised of maps derived or directly taken from Colton, who is credited on the title pages of the atlas' earliest editions.  It is likely that this was Colton's way of repaying Johnson for his financial assistance.  Johnson started to switch out the Colton maps with original ones in 1863, and by the end of 1865, only seven of the Colton maps remained.  The Colton attributions that had been appearing on the atlases' title pages were dropped that same year.

Johnson's Family Atlas was produced every year between 1860 and 1887, except for 1875, 1876, and 1878.  The atlas was frequently updated until 1884, when A.J. Johnson died, with maps inserted into the atlas as soon as they were finished being revised, a practice that lead to atlases with the same publish date featuring different maps.  It wasn't just the American landscape changing in Johnson's atlas -- the publisher's imprint, the elaborate borders, page numbers, map titles, and text on the verso all varied wildly.  Johnson's son, William Warner Johnson, who became a partner in the firm in 1875, kept the business running after his father's death until 1891 or 1892, although no new material was developed once his father passed.
The market for American atlases exploded in the 19th century as the United States took shape.  Of the flock of publishers who materialized to meet the American public's demand to chart their own nation's development, Melish, Tanner, Mitchell, Colton, and Johnson are the most prominent.  Their maps still endure today, and their complete atlases still show up on the market as well.  Collectors are drawn to these works because they present America as a work in progress.

This exceptional article was written by Joe McAlhany