Currier & Ives is regarded as one of the largest
print firms publishing over seven-thousand images during the seventy-three years
it was in business. The early history of Currier & Ives follows its founder, Nathaniel
Currier, and the first lithographic house of America, William and John Pendleton
of Boston. John Pendleton started a lithographic business in New York City in
1833; however, he decided that business was better elsewhere and sold the business
to his assistant, Nathaniel Currier, in 1834. During these early years, N. Currier
was primarily a job printer for business. His interest, however, was in producing
images to sell to the public. His first financial success was the Awful
Conflagration of the Steam Boat Lexington, a variant of which is illustrated
in this show. The broadside was originally published by The New York Sun and was
one of the first illustrated news accounts ever published. There was so much demand
for this broadside that the resourceful Nathaniel Currier continued printing it
even after The New York Sun stopped distributing it.
James Merritt Ives
joined the firm in 1852 as a bookkeeper. Currier got along well with his new bookkeeper,
and it became apparent that Ives had many talents including working with the many
artists who produced the images the firm published. He was made a partner in the
business in 1857 and the name was changed from N. Currier lithographer to Currier
As our many clients know, we have been buying and selling Currier
& Ives lithographs for over one hundred years, and we are pleased to have one
of the largest collections of these fine pieces of Americana available for purchase.
In this catalogue we are only able to feature a small portion of our inventory.
We have an expanded collection on our web site, but even that is not complete.
If you wish to see the all, a visit to the gallery and several hours of browsing
will be a rewarding experience.