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  M & S Library Number: 25113

    Unfound Providence Image ca. 1850, by a Forgotten Rhode Islander


    (RHODE ISLAND). (PROVIDENCE). Providence Dyeing, Bleaching & Cal[endaring] Co. William Snow Agent. [Providence, R.I.]: H.A. Hidden & Co., [1850?]. B & W Advertising Engraving. 13? by 10 7/8? (including margins of 3/8? to  on all edges). $2,000.00


         This early and evidently very rare advertising engraving features a wonderful image looking down what is evidently Valley St. in the Olneyville section of Providence, with the Mill complex occupying a number of buildings on the left hand side of the street. An early railroad locomotive can be seen in the distance of what appears to be a pier extending into the River at the end of the street. A number of horse drawn wagons and pedestrians can also be seen on the street.

         The engraving (with the appearance of a lithograph) is undated, but William Snow was the Agent for the PDB&C Co. from about 1845 until the early 1860?s.

         H. A. Hidden & Co. (not in Peters, Stauffer or Hamilton)) existed under that name from around 1845 until 1860. Henry Atkins Hidden was born in Providence, R. I., December 10, 1816. At the age of twenty-one, he entered upon an independent business venture, and launched the firm of H. A. Hidden & Company, in partnership with General Thomas F. Carpenter.  Together they started in the engraving and copper-plate printing business at the junction of Westminster and Weybosset streets, in Providence.

       The firm met with great success and developed rapidly, handling a large part of the engraving and printing of notes for the State banks. They also engraved the diplomas for Brown University.  In 1837 James C. Hidden became a member of the firm, purchasing the interest of General Thomas F. Carpenter.  In 1849 he disposed of his holding, however, and from that time onward until the time of its dissolution Henry A. Hidden remained the head of the business and its sole owner.  For a long period of time the firm did copper-plate printing for manufacturers and bleachers of cotton goods throughout New England.

       Henry A. Hidden was well known and prominent in public life in the city of Providence, and  served for two years as a representative in the Rhode Island General Assembly; he also was a member of the Providence Board of Aldermen from 1860 to 1861. There is a very short entry on Hidden in the "NYHS Dictionary of Artists in America," noting that Hidden was "active" as an engraver "1847-1860 and after," based on Providence city directories.--History of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (1910).

        From Wikepedia: "Providence Dyeing, Bleaching, Calendring Company (or Valley Bleachery) is an historic site located at 46,50,52,60 Valley Street and 80 Delaine Street in Providence, Rhode Island. The mill was built in 1837 by Frank P. Sheldon and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004."


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