An Amalgamation Waltz

An Amalgamation Waltz

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This print, designed by E.W. Clay, a Northern opponent of the anti-slavery movement plays upon antebellum fears of miscegenation, or interracial mixing, to satirize abolitionism. Part of series of miscegenation prints done by Clay during 1839, the print depicts a dance in an elegantly furnished ballroom. In the middle of the scene, fashionably dressed, interracial couples are shown dancing. Each consists of a black man and white woman. Along the right wall, several black men ask seated white women to dance. On the left, members of a mixed race couple clasp hands and prepare to kiss. Above these proceedings, music is performed by an orchestra composed solely of white musicians.
Edward Williams Clay was born in Philadelphia in 1799. He originally found employment as an attorney and became a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1825, but he later abandoned law for a career in art. He moved to New York City in 1837 but shortly after was forced to end his artistic career when his eyesight began to fail.
The work’s publisher, John Childs, was a New York lithographer, artist, and print colorist active between the years 1836 to 1844. For a brief period, he published a quantity of political cartoons, especially in 1840, when he published 34, of which 26 were drawn by Clay.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Childs, John
Clay, Edward Williams
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
ink (overall material)
paper (overall material)
image: 10 1/8 in x 15 in; 25.7175 cm x 38.1 cm
ID Number
catalog number
Credit Line
Harry T. Peters "America on Stone" Lithography Collection
Chronology: 1830-1839
Political Caricatures
Uniforms, Military
African American
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Cultural and Community Life: Domestic Life
Clothing & Accessories
Domestic Furnishings
American Civil War Prints
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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