Window into Disaster
Disaster viewbooks are a small, but compelling, category within Avery's collection. They chronicle the major disasters of the late 19th- and early 20th-century all across the American landscape. Fires, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes -- the toll of each disaster is carefully documented through photographs and written descriptions. But disaster viewbooks are as much about the damage done as the recovery effort. In true viewbook fashion, many disaster viewbooks spin speedy rebuilding efforts into advertisements for the industrious nature of the affected town and its inhabitants.