Albany Exchange and Museum
Benjamin F. Smith, Jr. (1830-1927)
Pease, Albany, NY
Lithograph on paper
18 1/4 H x 30 5/16 W
Printed lower right corner of image: B.F. Smith, Jr. 1846; inscribed bottom margin, center: PRINTED AT PEASE'S ESTABLISHMENT / ALBANY-EXCHANGE & MUSEUM / corners of BROADWAY AND STATE Streets / Albany, N. Y.; inscribed lower right margin: B. F. SMITH Jr Albany N.Y.
Bequest of Ledyard Cogswell, Jr.
Four Smith brothers started a successful business producing and marketing prints showing city views in Albany. Benjamin Franklin Smith designed and created this scene featuring the Albany Exchange Bank and the Museum at Broadway and State Street. The museum housed "curiosities" on its upper stories, and theatrical performances were held on the main level. It was considered the city's leading amusement center. The bank building was surrounded by stores selling everything from hats and muffs to fruit and dry goods. This print provides a glimpse into everyday life in the heart of mid-nineteenth-century Albany; it's like a city directory come to life. Lithography, the process used to produce this print, was entering its golden age by the mid 1849s. This was partly because drawing a design on polished stone meant quicker (and therefore cheaper) prints than were possible by other methods.