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Historical Cartoons

The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Historical Prints

Historical Cartoons


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Jackson and Louis-Philippe
"The debilitated situation of a monarchical Government..." [and] "The Flourishing condition of a well-formed industrious Republic." Philadelphia?, ca. 1836. 12 x 16 1/2. Lithograph. Very good condition. Reilly: 1836-2.

This picture shows an international situation that had importance for domestic American politics. Andrew Jackson holds up the "Treaty of 4 July 1831" in which France had agreed to pay the United States $5,000,000 in spoliations claims dating back to the Napoleonic Wars. Across a body of water representing the Atlantic Ocean stands King Louis-Philippe scowling. Both men have six unidentifiable countrymen standing behind them. The Americans are noble looking, happy, and exhibiting energy and pride; they stand next to a table with an American eagle and crest, a chest full of money with a view of the Capitol in Washington on the inside of the lid, and two books alluding to George Washington and military victories. The Frenchmen look perplexed and frightened, and an officer throttles a seaman. In the background, ships of the two navies are facing each other.

The legends beneath the picture contrast French destitution with a sound American economy, and indeed it was a time of unparalleled prosperity in the United States. France was ready to go to war against the United States when its first payment on the spoliation claims bounced, and Jackson insulted the French ambassador. An unlikely mediator, Lord Palmerston reminded the French government that in case of war, the American navy could easily take all the French West Indies possessions. In response, France retreated and eventually paid on the check. This cartoon was made to remind Americans of the unprecedented victory of the Jackson administration in completing the spoliation claims. Previous administrations of such diplomatically astute presidents as Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and Monroe had never completed them, and now Old Hickory from the backwoods of Tennessee had done it. The long term results of the Treaty of 4 July 1831 were not as favorable as Americans would want, but at this time the Jackson supporters were using it as a further claim to support the president's choice of Martin Van Buren in the election of 1836. $1,400



Battle of Bull Run
Lithograph "From A Pfotho[gr.]" "The Battle Of Bull's Run." 1861. Lithograph. 11 5/8 x 17 3/4. A few repaired tears, and chips in margins. Bottom right corner missing, just affecting last word of attribution. Otherwise, very good image and condition. Weitenkampf: 130.

An unusual pro-Confederate cartoon, lampooning the Northern forces and politicians in the wake of the first Battle of Bull Run, July 1861. In this early engagement of the Civil War, the Union attack on the Confederate position was turned back. An initially orderly retreat turned into a full-fledged rout, with the troops racing back to Washington. The battle is noteworthy for the many politicians and civilians, including many women, who carriaged from Washington in order to watch an anticipated Union victory. These spectators joined in the flight after the battle, adding significantly to the confusion and panic. This print caricatures the Union troops, politicians, and civilians, including "ladies as sputatiers," all of whom are shown fleeing from the Confederate troops in the background. A key at bottom identifies many of the participants, including Jeff. Davis, Gen. McDowell, and several members of Congress. The central figures are from the New York Fire Zouave troop, who were routed by the Virginia Black Horse Cavalry. This event was a long-time sore point for the Union infantry and was ridiculed in a number of popular illustrations, including this one. This separately issued print is unidentified other than the claim that it was based on a 'pfothograph.' Though pro-Southern, the print may have been issued in the North, where sympathies had not yet fully swung behind the Union cause. $1,200
GoGo to page with other Civil War cartoons



Commencement Season
W.H. Davenport. "The Commencement Season -- Graduates Armed and Equipped for the Battle of Life." From Harper's Weekly. New York: June 26, 1873. 9 x 13 1/2. Wood engraving. A few tiny spots, else, very good condition.

Harper's Weekly was a New York based newspaper in the last half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. In weekly issues, Harper's presented a mixture of news stories, gossip, poetry, and most notably, wood-engraved illustrations. These pictures remain one of the best sources for lively, informative images of nineteenth-century America. With photographs in a primitive stage, and no television, it is through these illustrations that much of the country got its visual information about the events, personalities and places of the time. These illustrations are also one of the few sources we have today for these same things. Major artists were employed to do drawings on the spot, which were then turned into lively and detailed prints in an amazingly short period of time. While originally issued in large numbers, few have survived the ages in good condition. These are interesting, historical and very collectable prints. A charming satire of the late 19th century "college man." $75



Republican Elephant
Thomas Nast. "The 'Readjusting' Performances." From Harper's Weekly. New York, April 16, 1881. 10 1/4 x 9 3/8. Wood engraving. Very good condition. Denver.

Thomas Nast was the most influential political cartoonist of the nineteenth century and among his claims to fame was that he created the symbols of the Republican Elephant and the Democratic Donkey. This is a great image of the Republican elephant, showing both why Nast was so effective and why this symbol last to today. $45



Little JokerUnhappy FamilyLove me littleIngenious ThingMelancholy AccidentLast Appearance
Six Satires depicting Abraham Lincoln. These are reproductions of satires that were drawn in 1864 by Henry Louis Stephens who moved from Philadelphia to New York in 1859. He was a brilliant satirist who even managed to lampoon the works of John James Audubon after working for that family. He drew political and social cartoons mainly for magazines such as Frank Leslie’s and Harper’s during the war. These images appeared in a British magazine.

The six reproductions were commissioned by Townsend and Fuller in 1930 and lithographed by the famous Hoen & Co. in Baltimore. This publisher incorrectly named the artist as “L. H. Stephens” instead of “H.L.” An interesting selection that appeared in a city which retained its Southern sympathies into the Twentieth Century. Price for the six $85




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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated March 28, 2013