The Progress of Intemperance by Nathaniel Currier

The Progress of Intemperance by Nathaniel Currier

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This hand colored print depicts an interior scene of a cottage with two men, a woman and four children. The two men are seated, one in an armchair and the other in a basketry chair. The man dressed in black sits in an armchair being served a drink by children. He appears to be a visitor. The other man, dressed in white, holds his head and looks ill. The woman holds a baby while another child leans on the knee of the sick man. A young boy plays at a table next to the man in white.
This print was produced by Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888). Currier was the founder of the company that eventually became the Currier & Ives lithography firm. At the age of fifteen Currier apprenticed with the Pendleton lithography firm in New York City. Five years later, he moved to Philadelphia to work with the lithographer M.E.D. Brown (1810-1896). After a year Currier moved back to New York, where he intended on going into business with one of the Pendleton brothers. Instead he formed a partnership in 1834 with a man named Stodart. Within a year he opened his own lithography company on Wall Street and then moved to Nassau and Spruce. In 1852 a bookkeeper named James Merritt Ives joined the firm. He married Charles Currier’s sister-in-law and brought to the firm a critical eye and business acumen. In five years he had become a partner. Currier & Ives would become arguably the most successful and prodigious lithography firm of the 19th century. Although especially well known for prints celebrating American landscapes and pastimes like sailing and ice skating, Currier & Ives also produced lithographs that featured current events, social issues and political controversies.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Currier, Nathaniel
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 8 1/2 in x 13 in; 21.59 cm x 33.02 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Chronology: 1840-1849
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Clothing & Accessories
Domestic Furnishings
Temperance Movement
Peters Prints
Family & Social Life
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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