Family Register [John Ruddick/Catharine A. Green of Forestburgh, New York and descendants; record of John Ruddick's remarriages]

Lithographed and published by Nathaniel Currier American

Not on view

This horizontal print was was printed and published in 1846 by Nathaniel Currier as a blank "FAMILY REGISTER" with four columns --separated by fluted Corinthean pillars (hand-colored in gold-yellow watercolor) between four subheadings (reading from left to right): 'FAMILY/NAMES."; "BORN...."; "MARRIED...."; AND "DIED...". These subheadings are imprinted beneath four small ornately framed vignette scenes (from left to right): a family walking outdoors (a couple and two children; the woman is wearing a red dress); interior with a woman wearing a red dress (and white apron) seated beside a cradle; a couple (woman in yellow dress) standing before an altar and pastor; and an outdoor scene with a widow and child kneeling beside an memorial tomb inscribed "I know that/My Redeemer/Liveth." The "Family Register" print had been sold blank so that those who purchased it could inscribe their own family names and dates.

Probably on the occasion of his marriage to Catharine A. Green in 1847, John Ruddick (1822–1902) of Forestburgh, New York, purchased this print, so they could record their own names, birthdates, marriage date, along with those of their subsequent descendants. Ruddick owned a lumber mill, and in 1854, was Forestburgh's Town Supervisor; later, Ruddick Pond, located in that Sullivan County community, was named for him. This Family Register records the death of Catharine in 1862, and John Ruddick's subsequent remarriage to Susan Reed in 1868. Then, following Susan Reed Ruddick's death after the birth of their daughter Anna Susan in 1869, John Ruddick married again in 1881 to Sarah L. Warring. Several other family names and dates are noted. This "Family Register" also provides family documentation for thee quilts (one by Susan Reed Ruddick, and two by her daughter Anna) donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1976.198.1, -2, -3).

Nathaniel Currier, whose successful New York-based lithography firm began in 1835, produced thousands of prints in various sizes that together create a vivid panorama of mid-to-late nineteenth century American life and its history. People eagerly acquired such lithographs featuring picturesque scenery, rural and city views, ships, railroads, portraits, hunting and fishing scenes, domestic life and numerous other subjects, including political cartoons, as an inexpensive way to decorate their homes or business establishments. As the firm expanded, Nathaniel included his younger brother Charles in the business. In 1857, James Merritt Ives (the firm's accountant since 1852 and Charles's brother-in-law) was made a business partner; subsequently renamed Currier & Ives, the firm continued until 1907.

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