In 1877, 31-year-old Stephen Parrish sold his stationary business in Philadelphia to pursue a career in painting. Two years later, after encountering Philip Gilbert Hamerton’s Etching and Etchers, published in 1868 as a response to the growing influence of the etching revivals in France and England, Parrish signed on as apprentice to fellow Philadelphian Thomas Moran to learn the printmaking trade. Moran, in turn, introduced his protégé to the recently organized New York Etching Club, the standard bearer for the etching revival in the United States. Before long, Parrish became a leading member of the club, participating regularly in its various activities throughout the 1880s.
Parrish derived the majority of his images, overwhelmingly landscapes, from his travels in New England and eastern Canada. Old Acadian Inn Yard was etched after a set of drawings made in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, home to Acadia College (today Acadia University), while on a trip to the Canadian Maritimes during August and September 1881 with his student, Charles Adams Platt. Parrish first showed an example of the print in an exhibition by members of the New York Etching Club at the Grolier Club in 1884.