The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 346

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

eloquent portrayal of the changing nature of Tejano life as it was lived
from 1850 to 1900oo.
University of Texas at Austin MYRON P. GUTMANN
Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-
1848. By Martha A. Sandweiss, Rick Stewart, and Ben W. Huse-
man. (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press and the
Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, 1989. Pp. x+368. Foreword,
acknowledgments, introduction, illustrations, color plates, notes,
index. $45-)
While the Mexican War represented a significant turning point in
American political and diplomatic history, Eyewitness to War observes
that the event also marked "a pivotal point in graphic history, becoming
the first event to be documented by both printmakers and practitioners
of the fledgling art of photography" (p. 1). According to the authors,
each of whom holds a curatorial position at the Amon Carter Museum
in Fort Worth, Texas, the graphic record of the war used by war corre-
spondents and the press to feed the great popular demand for in-
formation combined to make the Mexican War "the most extensively
recorded event in history up to that time-a fact subsequently over-
shadowed by the greater coverage of the Civil War" (p. 3).
Eyewitness to War describes, analyzes, and reprints a significant por-
tion of the lithographic and daguerreotype record of the Mexican War.
By intent, the great majority of prints in this volume were produced by
and for Americans. The result is a largely American view of the actual
military effort, stressing American heroism and the triumph of Ameri-
can arms, while omitting material that would have depicted or sug-
gested anything dishonorable or unjust in the military conduct of the
war. This, of course, was the viewpoint that Americans generally ex-
pected and, for the most part, received in their newspapers and maga-
zines. At the same time, a more balanced picture of the war might well
have been presented in a scholarly, historical volume such as this one.
This book is a handsome, oversized volume that includes two schol-
arly essays as well as a detailed catalogue of important prints and da-
guerreotypes depicting the conflict. "Artists and Printmakers of the
Mexican War" by Rick Stewart is a scholarly essay that explains the role
of the lithographic artists, categorizes the types of prints they pro-
duced, and provides detailed summaries of the artists, printers, and
publishers who created, manufactured, and distributed the finished
prints. It is his contention that the extensive use of lithographic print-
making brought "new standards by which to judge the timeliness and


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. ( accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.