"Rally 'round the Flag Boys!" Harper's Weekly Centerfold, October 1, 1864

Presented is a "Rally 'round the Flag Boys!" printed centerfold from the famous 19th century newspaper, Harper's Weekly. The wood engraving was issued as a two-page centerfold on October 1, 1864.  The print shows President Lincoln waving an American flag, surrounded by Union troops. A drummer boy is in the foreground and the tall mast of a ship can be seen in the background. A four-column patriotic song fills the bottom margin of the print, titled, “Rally Round the Flag Boys!”

The song "Rally 'round the Flag Boys!," also referred to as the "Battle Cry of Freedom," was written in 1862 by American composer George Frederick Root. Intended to boost morale and encourage soldiers, the song was famous among Union soldiers during the war.  The lyrics encouraged the men to “Rally round the Flag, boys; Rally with a cheer; For all you love and cherish most, For all that you hold dear. Defend the brave old banner, Unsullied from the earth– Within its folds enshrined it holds, All that this life is worth.” The song was so popular among northerners because it celebrated both the causes of unionism and abolitionism. Those opposed to slavery and secession could find verses that appealed to them. 

Harper’s Monthly Magazine was founded by Fletcher Harper in 1850. Edited by Henry Raymond, the journal initially aimed to be a premier literary magazine and focused on publishing established authors such as Charles Dickens and William Thackeray. The venture was a great success and in 1857 the company also began publishing a pictorial weekly newspaper, Harper's Weekly

Harper's Weekly was one of the first American newspapers to incorporate woodcut illustrations. By 1860 the circulation of Harper's Weekly reached 200,000 and it became the nation’s most influential newspaper. At the start of the Civil War, the newspaper did not want to lose readership, so it issued articles and illustrations from both Union and Confederate points of view and took a more moderate stance on abolition. Yet as the war progressed, that paper became increasingly pro-Union and a staunch supporter of the Republican party and Lincoln. Its war reporting and illustrations informed the Northern populace of key battles, troop movements, covered political events and elections, and convinced many to support abolition. 

CONDITION:

Original wood engraving, issued as a double-page centerfold from Harper’s Weekly. Paper has light toning but is stable. Impression is good and the printed song text and date at the bottom  of the illustration is still legible. Presented matted with a gray top mat. Unframed. 21"H x 14" W. 


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