One of the ways the Civil War became tangible for those who experienced it from the home front was through newspapers and illustrations that appeared in those papers. Among the items housed in the McCormick Civil War Institute’s collection is a portion of a wood block used to print A. Lumley’s “Reinforcements for General McClellan Arriving at Harrison’s Landing, on the James River.” The image appeared in the July 26, 1862, issue of the New York Illustrated News.
The printing block in MCWI’s collection is typical of others from the period. It is made from hard wood and consists of three-inch square blocks bolted together in the rear. This technique for making wood blocks was developed in England and pioneered in the United States by Frank Leslie.
This particular printing block is on display in the McCormick Civil War Institute in Davis Hall and has on occasion been placed on exhibition elsewhere at the university.