June 30, 2016

Brown, Frederick, and Kunkel, Clothing Warerooms. 41 North Third Street, Philadelphia

This lithograph from 1855 is an unlettered proof of an advertisement showing a block of businesses on North Third Street (37–43), north of Market Street in Philadelphia. The businesses include (from left to right): Sieger, Lamb & Company, dry goods (43); Brown, Frederick & Kunkel, men’s and boys’ wear, and Irwin, Shultz & Peiper, merchants (41); S. Brock Junior, fancy dry goods, and Iungerich & Smith, grocers (39); and Lloyd & Walmsley, trimmings (37). (Irwin, Shultz & Peiper is spelled variantly, as Irwin, Schultz & Peiper, on the storefront.) The storefronts are four to five stories tall and are built of stone. Gentlemen patrons are seen entering and exiting most of the establishments, with some ascending and descending interior flights of stairs. A man sits on a crate in front of Sieger, Lamb & Company. At Brown, Frederick, & Kunkel, a crate rests outside on the sidewalk, while inside, boxes are piled near the second-floor windows. Barrels crowd the first floor of Iungerich & Smith. A laborer rolls a barrel into the shop, and two barrels line the sidewalk behind him. Outside of Lloyd & Walmsley, a gentleman inspects a large box. On the street in front of the buildings are drays, a wagon, and a handcart, attended by their drivers. Some are loaded with goods, with faint writing visible. One drayman attempts to settle his agitated horse. The view also shows the storefront (without signage) at 45 North Third Street and partial views, with signage, of neighboring businesses, including J.W. Swain, umbrellas and parasols (35). The artist, who is likely William H. Rease, was born in Pennsylvania circa 1818, and was the most prolific lithographer of advertising prints in Philadelphia during the 1840s and 1850s. Rease became active in his trade around 1844. Through the 1850s he mainly worked with printers Frederick Kuhl and Wagner & McGuigan in the production of advertising prints known for their portrayals of human details. Although Rease often collaborated with other lithographers, by 1850 he promoted in O'Brien's Business Directory his own establishment, located at 17 South Fifth Street, north of Chestnut Street. In 1855 he relocated his establishment to the northeast corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets (after a circa 1853−55 partnership with Francis Schell), where in addition to advertising prints he produced certificates, views, maps, and maritime prints.

City Museum Polka

This lithograph from circa 1854 shows a view of the fancifully adorned City Museum, located at 415–417 Callowhill Street in Philadelphia, originally built as a church in 1823. Lamps line the street outside, where many people are seen standing or walking on the sidewalk; some individuals enter the building. A few men are visible on the balcony of the building. The roof of the museum includes a series of painted billboards designed as a frieze. The billboards depict scenes with animals and include: a ram; a donkey and a goat; a jungle scene with a giraffe, a snake, and a man riding an elephant; a mother tiger with her cubs; and a lion tamer with his big cat. The decorative roof also features two model alligators entwined by snakes, architectural embellishments, and flags. The City Museum opened in 1854 and housed natural history, science, and portrait exhibits on the lower floor, and a theater on the upper floor. The museum burned in 1868. This lithograph was designed as a sheet music cover illustration created by artist and illustrator Peter Kramer (1823–1907). The composer, Adolph Scherzer, composed the city museum polka for the piano forte and dedicated the composition “to his diligent pupil Miss Louisa Osheimer.” 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.

Continental Schottisch

This chromolithograph from 1860 is the cover illustration to the sheet music “Continental Schottisch,” composed by O.P. Perry and dedicated to S.E. Stevens. The image shows the Continental Hotel, located at the southeast corner of Ninth and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. The hotel was built 1857–60 after designs by architect John McArthur Jr. (1823–90). In front of the hotel is street and pedestrian traffic, including horse-drawn carriages, an omnibus, and couples on promenade. Around the scene is an ornate and vivid border containing American flags, vinery, and a vignette showing the Philadelphia coat of arms. The lithographer, 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.

Girard House Polka

This lithograph from circa 1852 is the cover illustration to the sheet music “Girard House Polka,” composed by C.F. Stein, a member of the Germania Musical Society, and dedicated to Miss Flora Davis. The hand-colored lithograph shows the Girard House hotel, located at 823–835 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. The hotel was built 1851–52 after designs by architect John McArthur, Jr. (1823–90). In this view, pedestrian traffic, including men, women, and children, walk in front of the hotel and neighboring buildings on the block. A number of the women carry parasols. Men stand on the veranda of the hotel and in the doorway of an adjacent building. Several horse-drawn carriages are parked in the street. The publishers are listed as Lee & Walker and William Hall & Son. The lithographer, 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.

Terrible Conflagration and Destruction of the Steam-Boat "New Jersey"

This hand-colored lithograph from 1856 shows a dramatic view of the steamboat New Jersey, engulfed in flames and smoke. The captain is still at the helm as the passengers escape into the icy river. Panicked passengers jump into water that is already teeming with disaster victims. One of the victims is an African American man. Passengers thrash and swim, while others attempt to stay upon and assist others onto floes of ice, debris, and a single rowboat. Rescuers from the nearby wharf, including firemen, work frantically and desperately throw a rope to a woman standing afloat an ice floe. On the fire-engulfed deck, a horse is seen amidst the passengers; on the rear of the boat, a woman is driven off by the flames. On the riverbank in the background, a sign for “Baths” is visible. Beneath the image is text listing the names of the 107 white and “colored” passengers, divided into three columns: “the dead,” “the missing,” and “the saved.” Captained by Ebenezer Corson, the steamboat New Jersey was mid-voyage to Camden from Philadelphia (using an alternate elongated route due to heavy ice), when it caught fire on the night of March 15, 1856. The fire started as a result of defective boilers, a fireplace, and brick work. With the fire spreading rapidly, Corson retreated to Arch Street Wharf in Philadelphia, and came within 30 feet of the pier when the pilot house collapsed, leaving the boat unmanned and out of control. Corson survived by leaping ashore before the uncontrolled ship drifted back out on the river. This lithograph was published by Alfred Pharazyn (circa 1833–circa 1878), who operated a print coloring establishment in Philadelphia between the 1850s and the 1870s.

The Terrible Conflagration at Ninth and Washington Streets, Philadelphia

This hand-colored lithograph from 1865 is a print showing the scene at the “disastrous conflagration commenced in the storage yard [of Blackburn & Company] at Ninth & Washington Street,” in Philadelphia. The blaze took place during the early morning hours of February 8, 1865. In the foreground of this image, displaced and panicked residents of all ages run down and gather on the snowy streets. The residents are attired in night clothes, with many holding a few possessions. Amongst the commotion, police officers assist residents with possessions (trunks, bedding, and cookware) and direct firefighters toward the blaze and the burnt ruins and surrounding coal yard. The firefighters transport a ladder, hoses, and a hose carriage toward the burning buildings as other volunteers rush to assist a man on fire and comfort a fleeing girl. Others depicted at the scene include two men placing an unconscious man (attired in a nightshirt) on the ground; a man and a woman clutching children to their chests; and a fleeing woman falling and dropping her baby as a dog runs past. In the background, survivors and firefighters carrying victims run down the 1100 block of Ninth Street. That street is lined with burning and destroyed buildings. Across from the coal yard, in the doorway of the “Lager Beer Saloon,” located on the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Ninth Street, a man (presumably the proprietor, James McManus) holds a bundle and prepares to exit the building. Furniture covers the sidewalk in front of his establishment; the upper floors are visibly on fire. Beneath the image are several lines of text explicating the economic and human cost of the fire, including “loss of property” at “$400, 000,” the “property destroyed” at about “one hundred structures,” and the “List of Dead and Missing. Mrs. Barbara Ware, aged 43 years. Miss Annie Ware, 23 years. Emma Ware, 20 years. Helen Ware, 13 years. Isabella Ware, 4 years. Rebecca Ware. Albert Ware, 17 years. Clayton Ware, 10 years. The Scott Family is missing. [Fireman] Samuel McMenamin Fleetwood.” A barrel of coal oil stored at Blackburn & Company was ignited through arson and started the blaze shortly after 2 o’clock on the morning of February 8, 1865. The fire destroyed the coal yard, which then caused a stream of burning oil to flow down Washington Avenue and Ninth Street, spreading the fire to the neighboring blocks of Federal and Ellsworth Streets. The publisher of this image is identified as John L. Magee. Magee, an artist, engraver, and lithographer, was born in New York circa 1820; he specialized in cartoons and event prints. Active in Philadelphia by 1855, he produced portraits, church views, political cartoons, and event prints, including Civil War imagery.