American, b. England, 1770–1850
After Joshua Shaw
American, b. England, c. 1777–1860
York Springs, Adams County, in Pennsylvania
Etching and aquatint with hand coloring, 3 15/16 x 6 15/16 inches
Published in the May 1819 issue of The Analectic Magazine
Partial gift and purchase from John C. O’Connor and Ralph M. Yeager
Shortly before their work on Picturesque Views of American Scenery, Joshua Shaw and John Hill collaborated on this small print for the The Analectic Magazine, which was published in Philadelphia between 1813 and 1820. The periodical was similar in concept to The Columbian Magazine and The Port Folio, though, with Washington Irving serving as its inaugural editor, somewhat more humorous in content.
The view is of York Springs, a resort located about twenty miles west of York, where people from as far as Baltimore and Philadelphia would travel to "take the waters." The engraving accompanies an article on the resort, which explains: "The water of the York sulphur spring possesses nothing of that nauseous taste, which makes it a task to drink that of many other mineral springs. It is exceedingly light and palatable, and although containing little or no fixed air, can be drank in extraordinary quantities. It has a slightly hepatic smell, observably affected by the state of the weather and the atmosphere. It operates commonly as a gentle cathartic, and a power diuretic."
The hotel at York Springs could accommodate up to 150 guests. By the time of its depiction by Shaw and Hill, the hotel’s proprietor could have legitimately appended a plaque to the building that read "George Washington Slept Here," for the former president and his wife, Martha, did vacation at the resort during the summer of 1799.