The Question Settled


This lithographic caricature depicts three cats vying to occupy a milk saucer which is decorated with a design of the Capitol Building and a variant of the Great Seal of the United States. A white cat, wearing a red, white, and blue, ribbon, inscribed with “Old Abe,” occupies the central position in the dish. An anthromorphic representation of Lincoln glares down at a grey Tabby cat, which wears a noose-like collar bearing the name “Jeff.” The tabby named Jeff is clearly refering to Jefferson Davis, with the implyed analogy of the cat retreating from the dish with its tail between its legs similar to Davis trying to escape capture after some defeat. A third, black cat, named “Contraband,” representing African American freed slaves, attempts to step off of a map depicting the Confederate States and climb into the saucer with “Old Abe.” “Contraband” was the term employed by the United States military during the war to describe the status of escaped slaves held by Union forces. This print, therefore, could have been produced in celebration of the second Confiscation Act, passed on July 17, 1862. This Act allowed for the Union Army to grant freedom to slaves seized from disloyal citizens and those who escaped to Union lines.

This print was produced by the Hartford, Connecticut lithographic firm of E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. Edmund Burke Kellogg and Elijah Chapman Kellogg were younger brothers of the founder of the Kellogg lithography firm, Daniel Wright Kellogg. After Daniel Wright Kellogg moved west, his two brothers took over the family lithography firm in 1840 and changed the name to E.B. & E.C. Kellogg. They were responsible for the continued success of the family firm and involved in the partnerships with Horace Thayer in 1845-1846, John Chenevard Comstock in 1848 and William Henry Bulkeley in 1867.

This print was published by Phelps and Watson, a partnership of Humphrey Phelps and his nephew, Gaylord Watson. Their New York firm published maps and lithographic prints and co-published many E.B. & E.C. Kellogg prints during the Civil War.

Date Issued: 1861-1862

Distributor: Whiting, GeorgePhelps & WatsonMaker: E.B. and E.C. Kellogg

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Connecticut, Hartford

Subject: Patriotism and Patriotic SymbolsPetsCivil WarState GovernmentBlacksSlaveryRelated Event: Civil War


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, American Civil War Prints, Art, Domestic Furnishings


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: DL.60.2555Catalog Number: 60.2555Accession Number: 228146Maker Number: 655

Object Name: LithographObject Type: Lithograph

Physical Description: paper (overall material)ink (overall material)Measurements: image: 9 in x 13 in; 22.86 cm x 33.02 cm


Record Id: nmah_324867

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