The Underhill Vineyards, 1867

Harpers Underhill Vineyard_72dpi
Harper’s Weekly, October 26, 1867. Click on the image to enlarge it.

In October 1867, Harper’s Weekly published a full-page wood engraving of the Underhill vineyards. Entitled “Gathering Grapes—An October Scene on the Hudson,” the image takes us back to the time when Richard T. Underhill was the “grape king” of Croton Point.

How significant were the Underhill vineyards? In his multi-volume History of Wine in America, Thomas Pinney says the Underhills were the “first dynasty in American viticulture . . . The scale and the long life of their vineyards give them a claim to be the real founders of the winegrowing industry in New York.”

Let’s take a look at what the artist D. C. Hitchcock, aided by a team of Harper’s Weekly engravers, recorded for us more than 145 years ago . . .

Harpers detail Underhill mansion
Detail showing the Underhill mansion at the southern tip of Croton Point.
Harpers detail grape pickers
The faint white horizontal and vertical lines seen in these details are where blocks of wood,
each prepared by a different engraver, were glued or bolted together to make the larger image.

Harpers detail man and woman

Harpers detail man in cart

For more on “the grape king,” see here.

For information on how Harper’s Weekly woodblocks were produced, see the online version of
“A Visitors’ Guide to Harper & Brothers’ Establishment”
from the 1878 edition of the New York publishing house’s 314-page catalog.

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