CURRIER AND IVES, Publishers Midnight Race on the Mississippi
$1,500.00 Our intention is to offer the highest quality selections at the lowest cost.
Published by New York: Currier and Ives, 1875
Hand-colored lithograph heightened with gum arabic on wove paper (Image: 9 x 18 1/8 in.; 23.5 x 33.4 cm. Sheet: 13 1/2 x 17 1/2 in.; 34.4 x 44.7 cm) depicting a moonlight race between the steamboats "Memphis" and "James Howard," Small "M" signed into the stone in the lower lefthand corner. Matted. Neat repair to a minor tear. (65B2B) This issue is a similar in composition to the large folio print issued in about 1860, with the name of the steamers altered to "Memphis" and "James Howard" and a slight repositioning of the figures on board. It was also issued as a gift premium by "The Home Companion" magazine. One some copies below the Currier and Ives copyright notice and the title is a line reading "Given to the Subscribers to the Home Companion - Published by S.L. Thorpe, Cleveland, Ohio. Currier and Ives produced more than 200 lithographs depicting the steamboats that navigated the nation's great rivers, such as the Mississippi and the Hudson. Races between boats were often organized and commemorated in prints such as this contest between the Memphis and James Howard. Mark Twain described the races in "Life on the Mississippi" (1883) as events of vast importance. Dates for these contests were set several weeks in advance with large sums of money wagered on them. The captains often overlooked safety in favor of winning the race: piloting was reckless, hazarding boiler explosions and fires that destroyed many vessels. The "James Howard," for example, was destroyed by fire in 1881. In four decades since the introduction of the steamboat in 1807, nearly 500 boats were destroyed in accidents and nearly 4,000 people lost their lives. Sale, Leslie Hindman, 12 November 2019, lot 9 Berkoff, Currier & Ives: The New Best 50, 9 (small folios); Conningham, Currier & Ives Prints (1983) 4117.