June/july 1984 | Volume 35, Issue 4
From the North Woods to New Orleans with an artist-reporter of the last century
A Civil War diarist described Waud as a “tall man. . . blue-eyed, fairbearded, strapping and stalwart, full of loud cheery laughs and comic songs. . . . He was constantly vaulting on this huge brown horse, and galloping off full split, like a Wild Horseman of the Prairie.”
American Heritage has long been interested in Wand’s work, publishing in 1963 two portfolios of his illustrations—one of the Chicago fire of 1871 and one of Louisiana scenes—which we obtained directly from his grandson. The following portfolio of Mississippi River views contains drawings that Waud made during three trips on the great river between 1866 and 1872. This year, when the Louisiana World Exposition in New Orleans is celebrating “The World of Rivers: Fresh Water as a Source of Life,” it seems appropriate to follow the Mississippi from St. Paul to New Orleans as Alfred Waud saw it more than one hundred years ago. The drawings shown here, some never published before, are part of the Historic New Orleans Collection, a small sample of the almost two thousand Waud drawings they own.