Currier & Ives' Illustrated and Descriptive List – Celebrated Fire Pictures, Comprising a Series of Six Plates Entitled The Life of a Fireman, the Four Plates Entitled The American Fireman, and Others

Publisher Currier & Ives American

Not on view

This catalogue pamphlet (unpaginated) describes the 1884 re-publication of the popular plates from "The Life of a Fireman" and "American Fireman" series, originally issued in 1854 by Nathaniel Currier (1813–1888). On the front page/cover, a block of text follows the title [in different fonts]: "CURRIER & IVES'/[in tiny type] Illustrated and Descriptive List/ [large type] Celebrated Fire Pictures,/[in small type] COMPRISING A SERIES OF SIX PLATES ENTITLED/[large type]THE LIFE OF A FIREMAN,/ [small type] THE FOUR PLATES ENTITLED/ [large type]THE AMERICAN FIREMAN, / [in tiny type] And Others,/[large type] ALL ELEGANTLY COLORED."

The listing in the pamphlet includes: Plate 1, "The Night Alarm" (p.2-illustrated); Plate 2, "The Race" (p. 3-illustrated); Plate 3, "The Fire" (p. 4-illustrated); Plate 4-"The Ruins" (p. 5 - illustrated); text about Plate 5, "Steam and Muscle," Plate 6, "Metropolitan System," and "The Great Fire of 1835" (p. 6); text about the "American Fireman" prints (p. 7); text about "A NEW, UNIQUE & SYMBOLICAL FIREMAN'S CERTIFICATE..." (back page/p. 8).

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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