Paul Revere's engraving copperplate for The Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street, Boston, March 5, 1770, by a party of the 29th Regiment is a treasure found in the collection of the Massachusetts State Archives. In 1970, the Imprint Society approached the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Archivist of the Commonwealth with a request to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Boston Massacre by releasing restrikes taken from that original plate. After consulting with the Massachusetts Historical Commission it was determined that a limited number of restrikes could be produced without causing any damage to the plate. The Anderson-Lamb Company of Brooklyn pulled these restrikes by hand. The Imprint Society then published the restrikes in a beautiful book that included "An Account of a late Military Massacre at Boston, or the Consequences of Quartering Troops in a populous well-regulated Town, taken from The Boston Gazette, of March 12, 1770." The Society is thrilled that we have a copy of one of these limited edition books in our library collection.
Readers familiar with our blog will know that we hold one of Paul Revere's original prints in our archival collection. Click on the images below to see larger versions of the 1970 restrike and the colored-in version from 1770. The 1970 black and white version truly highlights the detail that Revere included in his original engraving. By seeing the two versions together, we are able to note the liberties that were taken by those who colored it, and especially the details that they chose to emphasize. We are lucky to have both copies in our collection so that we have the rare opportunity to compare the two side-by-side.
One way that the 200th anniversary of the Boston Massacre was commemorated was by recreating a tangible piece of history. It leaves us to speculate about the ways that the 250th anniversary, which is just a few years away, will be marked.
To see the entire book, search your local library or special collections for a copy of The Bloody Massacre; perpetrated in King-Street, Boston, on March 5th, 1770, by a party of the 29th Regiment. Together with a print of the event taken from the plate engraved by Paul Revere, the report from the Boston gazette, and a note by Richard Hale (Barre, MA: 1970). If you are in the Boston area, you are always welcome to make an appointment to see the book and restrike in our library.