Vance Byrd


Thursday, December 6, 2018 @ 4:15 PM
Van Hise 201

 Articles in illustrated periodicals and images at traveling panoramas presented pivotal moments of national history to broad audiences, and these media celebrated political unity over internal disorder in the United States and Germany. The visual and verbal narratives about the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War were unified by the figure of Friedrich Wilhelm Heine. A war reporter who led a group of German artists who created commemorative panoramas of the Battle of Sedan in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, Heine immigrated to Milwaukee from Dresden in 1885 to run the American Panorama Company. In the United States, he and other German artists created American Civil War panoramas for audiences in Chicago, Milwaukee, Chattanooga, Atlanta, New Orleans, and other cities. Heine’s engravings for late nineteenth-century German illustrated periodicals suggest how pre-photographic visual culture helped German readers on both sides of the Atlantic understand debates on national unification and primed global audiences for engagement with military history in panoramas.
Vance Byrd is Associate Professor in the Department of German at Grinnell College. He is the author of A Pedagogy of Observation: Nineteenth-Century Panoramas, German Literature, and Reading Culture (Bucknell University Press, 2017). In addition to research on nineteenth-century visual culture, cultures of commemoration, and the environmental humanities, Byrd researches and teaches history of the book and periodicals.