Currier & Ives

Currier-&-Ives

Printmakers Currier & Ives, headed by Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888) and James Merritt Ives (1824-1895), produced some of the most popular American art of the 19th century. The company specialized in publishing inexpensive hand-colored lithographic prints for the growing American middle class. It is estimated that over 8500 lithograph titles were published by … Read more

Steamboat Artwork Group 1

Steamboat-Artwork-Group-1

‘Lewis & Clark: The Departure’ ~ May 14, 1804 Having left their winter camp at Wood River on the banks of the Mississippi adjacent the Missouri River confluence, the expedition at last broaches the swift, snag-studded waters of the Missouri. The 55-foot keelboat, fully loaded with supplies and trade goods, is rowed … Read more

Mark Twain Lecturing

Mark-Twain-Lecturing

Sam’s First Speech, Keokuk ~ 1856 As a young printer, Sam Clemens gave his first public speech in Keokuk, Iowa, on 17 January, 1856, at a meeting of the Typothetae, an association of master printers who celebrated annually on the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, the patron of all printers. He was boarding … Read more

Mark Twain Writing

Mark-Twain-Writing

Printer Anecdotes ~ 1851-56 After the tragic death of his father in 1847, Sam Clemens, aged 12, began doing odds jobs to assist the family finances, and in 1848 he began working as a printer’s devil for the Hannibal Gazette, apprenticed to Joseph Ament. The job entailed “setting” type by hand using … Read more

Steamboat Artwork Group 5

Steamboat-Artwork-Group-5

‘Steamboat Warping Through a Suck’  circa 1872 Navigating the Tennessee River was especially challenging for steamboats. Some ten miles below Chattanooga there was a narrow gorge called The Suck, also known as the Valley of the Whirlpool Rapids. This is a hand-colored woodcut of a steamer being tediously ‘warped through a suck’ on … Read more

Steamboat Artwork Group 4

Steamboat-Artwork-Group-4

‘New Orleans’ Quote: ~ Opposite the city the levee is so broad as to furnish a landing-place for all the bulky merchandise in which the trade of New Orleans mainly consists. The broad space is literally buried under the wealth of the Great Valley. Bales of cotton, hogsheads of sugar, barrels of … Read more

Mark Twain Family

Mark-Twain-Family

Jane Lampton Clemens (1803 ~ 1890) B: 18 June 1803, Lexington, Adair County, Kentucky. D: 27 October 1890, Keokuk, Iowa. Married: John Marshall Clemens, 6 May 1823, Columbia, Kentucky. Children: Orion, Pamela, Margaret, Benjamin, Samuel, Henry (See below). Mother of Samuel Clemens. The daughter of Benjamin Lampton and Margaret Casey, Jane was raised in Lexington, Kentucky. As a … Read more

Levee Scenes

Levee-Scenes

St. Louis Levee ~ 1852 Steamboats in this scene of the St. Louis levee include the DUBUQUE, EXPRESS, HIGHLAND CHIEF and the AMULET. Steamers would often land two or three tiers deep here during the 1840s and 1850s. Note the covered wagon in the foreground. This is possibly the first photographic image of the St. Louis levee. Quote: ~ … Read more

Steamboat Artwork Group 2

Steamboat-Artwork-Group-2

‘Moonlight Encounter on the Mississippi’ In the 1800s large log rafts were floated down the Mississippi River from the pine forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The first documented raft taken through to St. Louis was in the charge of Henry Merill, who refitted it at the mouth of the Wisconson River, and delivered it … Read more

Steamboat Artwork Group 3

Steamboat-Artwork-Group-3

Night Stop on the Mississippi’  In this moonlit scene, a small sidewheeler lands against a levee with the Mississippi at flood stage. The landing places either rose with the river or were relocated, depending on the current. The flat-bottomed hull design of the riverboat, drawing as little as two-and-a-half-feet, afforded easy access … Read more