Mr. Van Shuffleton and His Physician Sam

Description (Brief):

This undated print depicts President Martin Van Buren sitting in a chair, vomiting into a bucket the words, “Promises,” “Vows,” and “Proffessions [sic].” Attending to Van Buren, is his physician, Sam, identified as Samuel Ward III, a partner in the N.Y. banking firm of Prime, Ward, & King. Ward fathered seven children, including Samuel Cutler Ward the lobbyist, and Julia Ward Howe the poet. Earlier studies of this print mistakenly identified “Physician Sam” as Brother Jonathan. In Sam’s hand is a letter from Opposition Leader, Sherrod Williams, which refers to an actual letter sent to Van Buren demanding answers for the future of the banking system. This print dramatizes Van Buren’s actual response to Sherrod and why Van Buren die not follow through on promises. Sam comments on the state of Van Buren saying, “why what an audacious heap of trash the critter’s thrown up! He’ll be much relieved—and then I’ll whip this queen letter down his throat—it will be as good as a mint julep if he don’t eat it kindly he shall lick all this here stuff up again. In 1838, Ward secured a five million dollar loan from the Bank of England to resume the circulation of specie currency and start the Commerce Bank. On the far right, an unidentified man bars two other men from entering the sickroom under the order of “Doctor Sam.”

Description (Brief)

The lithographer of this print is Henry R. Robinson (1827-1877). Robinson worked in New York, and had a store to sell his prints. In 1842, he was arrested for selling obscene pictures and books leading to the September 28, 1842 court case, People vs H. R. Robinson found in the District Attorney Indictment Papers, Municipal Archives. He was politically affiliated with the anti-Jackson Whig party which was made obvious by the wig silhouette used in 1838 as an advertising logo for his shop.

Date Made: n.d.

Depicted: Van Buren, MartinMaker: Robinson, Henry R.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

Subject: FurnishingsPolitical Caricatures


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life, Clothing & Accessories, Peters Political 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.60.3363Catalog Number: 60.3363

Object Name: LithographObject Type: Lithograph

Measurements: image: 8 1/2 in x 14 5/8 in; 21.59 cm x 37.1475 cm


Record Id: nmah_325598

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