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Henry George Collection: Illustrations and Photographs

109 page images presenting the contents of a scrapbook titled "The Single Tax," containing photographs and caricatures of Henry George, the founder of the 19th-century reform 'single tax' movement.

Collection Contents

Ajax defying the lightning; A new attraction at the George-M'Glynn show. Digital ID: 1160271 Ajax defying the lightning; A new attraction at the George-M'Glynn show. Digital ID: 1160271

Collection History

This scrapbook assembles photographs, caricatures and a few newspaper articles from the last third of the nineteenth century, about American economic reformer Henry George (1839-1897). The provenance of the scrapbook content is unclear: the volume itself is an NYPL-creation, and bears a binding date of 1936, a decade later than the Henry George collection inventory cited below in "Related Resources."


George's significance is explained in the finding aid for the collection of Henry George papers in the Manuscripts and Archives Division: "In an 1871 pamphlet, Our Land and Land Policy, [George] first set out his theory of rent as the primary cause of monopoly and poverty, and advocated a single tax on land. Between 1877 and 1879, he pursued work on a major treatise, his masterpiece, Progress and Poverty. After failing to find a publisher, George brought out five hundred copies on his own. The publisher Appleton then reprinted the plates, and the book soon became a sensation, translated into many languages and assured George's fame. At the heart of his oft-repeated critique of Gilded Age capitalism was the conviction that rent and private land-ownership violated the hallowed principles of Jeffersonian democracy and that poverty was an affront to the moral values of Judeo-Christian culture."

Though George died relatively young, never authored another major treatise, and never held elected office, his ideas eventually led to reform legislation in parts of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe.

Related Resources

Barker, C. A. Henry George. (1955)

George, Henry, Jr. The Life of Henry George. (1911)

"Henry George Exhibition," Bulletin of The New York Public Library 31 (1927): 899-903.

NYPL. "Henry George Papers, 1840s-1950: Finding aid." [n.d.] <>

Sawyer, Rollin Alger, "Henry George and the Single Tax: A List of References to Material in The New York Public Library," Bulletin of The New York Public Library 30 (1926): 481-503 et seq.

Silagi, Michael. Henry George and Europe: the Far-reaching Impact and Effect of the Ideas of the American Social Philosopher. (c2000) The George studies program; v.4.

Wenzer, Kenneth C. and Thomas R. West. The Forgotten Legacy of Henry George: Essays. (c2000)

Library Division(s)

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