The Acquisitions Table: Steel Printing Plate for “Echoes of the Woods”

Nicolas Valstin, engraver. Echoes of the Woods and Shepherdess and the Birds. Saint Louis: Kunkel Brothers, ca. 1871-1878.

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This steel printing plate was used to create sheet music covers. The two tunes that would have been found inside this cover were both popular in the United States until about 1900. Both were reissued multiple times by the publishing house Kunkel Brothers, which was founded in St. Louis by two German immigrants who were also trained concert pianists. They first issued this engraved cover in 1871 for just the Shepherdess and the Birds title (copy at Library of Congress), but then re-engraved the plate circa 1878 to include Echoes of the Woods (which was composed by Charles Kunkel under the pseudonym Jean Paul in 1878). The plate joins the Society’s representative holdings of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century printing matrices, which encompass the history of printing processes used in America.

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