Humane Society of Philadelphia


This circa 1850 lithograph depicts Humane Society volunteers conducting a rescue on the Delaware River near the old Navy Yard in Southwark, Philadelphia. In the image, male volunteers attend to a rescued man on land, carry another man to shore, and row a boat to retrieve a third victim near a capsized vessel. The Delaware riverfront and multiple sailing ships are visible in the background. This lithograph was created by M. Schmitz (probably Matthew Schmitz), a lithographer known primarily for creating sheet music covers. Schmitz was born in Prussia circa 1805; he immigrated to the United States by 1844 and settled in Philadelphia. The printer, Thomas S. Sinclair (circa 1805–81), was born in the Orkney Islands of Scotland and was active in Philadelphia by 1833, where he soon had his own business and was one of the first local printmakers to experiment with color lithography. A practical lithographer throughout his career, Sinclair produced all genres of lithographs, including maps, advertisements, city and landscape views, sheet music covers, portraiture, political cartoons, certificates, and book illustrations. This print was used as the illustration on the membership certificate for the Humane Society.

Last updated: January 8, 2018