Convention at Philadelphia, 1787

by Frederick Juengling and Alfred Kappes

Constitutional Convention
“Convention at Philadelphia, 1787,” Alfred Kappes and Frederick Juengling (1881) New York Public Library Digital Collections.

This engraving appears in R. M. Devins’ Our First Century, published in 1881. (It can be found online at the New York Public Library website and in the NYPL Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection.) Titled “The Convention at Philadelphia, 1787,” the engraving is credited to two men. Frederick Juengling (see his signature, F Juengling, in the bottom left of the engraving) was a member of the New School of Engravers in New York in the late nineteenth century. He was born in 1846 and died in 1889. The other engraver was Alfred Kappes, 1850-1894. (See his signature at the bottom right of the engraving.)

The Image

Once again, Washington is placed in a prominent position and is clearly recognizable. So too is Franklin, sitting in the front row and slightly to the left of Washington. The engravers capture the importance of the two windows but have the curtains neither fully closed nor fully open. What is interesting about this portrayal is that there is a working desk where drafts of the Constitution are being hammered out, while discarded paper lies on the floor.)