Cities of the Mississippi
Nineteenth-Century Images of Urban Development
John W. Reps & Photos from the air by Alex MacLean
352 pages
12.5 x 10
142 color & 63 b&w illus

Formats available:
Hardcover   $80.00 SH
ISBN: 978-0-8262-0939-9

About the Book

"The mighty Mississippi" has inspired writers and artists for centuries. During the nineteenth century, Mississippi River towns attracted artists who traveled throughout the United States producing detailed drawings of cities and towns, which were then printed and sold as lithographs or used as wood engravings to illustrate books and magazines. Depicting each street and building, as well as the natural setting and geographic features of the surrounding areas, these elaborate bird's-eye views were enormously popular. In Cities of the Mississippi, John W. Reps brings together hundreds of spctacular historical views of Mississippi River towns alongside contemporary aerial photographs and an engaging text. The result is a remarkable voyage through the nineteenth century and a powerful visual record of American urban development.

From The Balize, a village for ship pilots near the mouth of the Mississippi, to St. Cloud, Minnesota, at its source, readers will experience Mississippi River towns ranging from the major metropolises of New Orleans, St. Louis, and Minneapolis to the small towns of Cairo, Kaskaskia, and Prairie du Chien. Reps introduces the artists, printers, and publishers who recorded the development of the cities and offers descriptions of the cities by residents, journalists, and travelers in their own words. Spectacular modern aerial photographs of twenty-three of the towns dramatically illustrate changes to the urban scene and demonstrate the lasting influence of the initial city patterns on subsequent growth.

Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of prints, more than 140 in color, Cities of the Mississippi is a remarkable depiction of the distinctive character of the cities created by one of America's great waterways and a magnificent graphic record of urban development in the nineteenth-century Midwest.


John W. Reps is the author of many books, including St. Louis Illustrated, Views and Viewmakers of Urban America, and Washington on View. He is Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.


"I can picture that old time to myself now, just as it was then: the white town drowsing in the sunshine of a summer's morning . . . the great Mississippi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun."--Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi


My Farm on the Mississippi
Heinrich Hauser, Translated & Intro by Curt A. Poulton

Dreaming the Mississippi
Katherine Fischer

Quinta Scott

Views and Viewmakers of Urban America
John W. Reps

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