Christmas Images at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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Christmas Images at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania

2014-12-16 16:06


Out of over 500,000 graphic images, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is rich in various holiday illustrations, lithographs, watercolors, and photographs. A sampling of which is presented here in this holiday edition of History Hits.

First to appear is known as The Nativity (above) by Josef Bakos (1891-1977). Born in Buffalo, NY to Polish parents, Bakos studied art at the Albright Institute and later taught at the University of Boulder. He later moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico where he painted his most famous works, mostly of Western landscapes and Native-American subjects.

The second image is entitled Christmas at Mt. Vernon, a colored print derived from a painting of artist Robert Clinton Frankenberg (1911-2001).  A New York City artist, teacher, and author, Clinton is responsible for illustrating more than 150 monographs, including many children’s books. He also taught at the School of Visual Arts beginning in 1947. Many of his papers are available at the University of Oregon in Eugene.


The third image is a Christmas vintage photo of the famous Grand Court room at Philadelphia’s John Wanamaker department store. Although Wanamaker’s is now Macy’s, patrons can still enjoy the decorated Grand Court and the holiday light show, which is a Philadelphia tradition since 1956.



The final image is known as “Christmas Morning-Independence Square-1836.” This piece is a printed version of a painting done by Arthur Ignatius Keller (1866-1924), a New York painter and illustrator whose work was exhibited throughout the country during his lifetime. Keller originally began his career as a lithographer in Europe and studied in Munich, Germany, before returning to NYC. Keller experimented with oil and watercolor painting, eventually penning illustrations for celebrated books, from The Virginian to Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

These images represent only a minute portion of HSP’s overall graphics collections available for public view and research.

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Submitted by Postcardy (not verified) on

I have posted an old photo (ca. 1907-08)of a Pennsylvania Christmas tree on my blog here:
I am wondering whether you have similar photos and how you would interpret this tree and display. There is some doubt (see comments) about whether this is a private tree in a home and if it is typical.

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