Scope and Content
Title: Jay T. Last Collection of American
Firefighting Prints and Ephemera
Dates (inclusive): 1826-1907
Collection Number: priJLC_FIRE
Last, Jay T.
approximately 150 items in 1 flat-file drawer, 1 binder, and 1 folder
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens:
Rare Books Department
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Abstract: The Jay T. Last Collection of American Firefighting Prints
and Ephemera contains more than 150 printed items that relate to firefighting and the activities and organizations of firemen
the United States from approximately 1820 to 1909. The collection consists of advertising and promotional materials,
business records, and illustrations produced for or pertaining to firefighting
organizations, related social or charitable events, and firefighting vehicles,
equipment, and supplies.
Finding aid last updated on February 18,
The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the
Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's
In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the visual materials,
researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library
Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Huntington as the
owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission
of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
[Item title, Call number]. Jay T. Last Collection of American Firefighting
Prints and Ephemera, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
This collection forms part of the Jay T. Last Collection of Lithographic and
Social History, which was donated to the Huntington Library by Jay T. Last in
2005 as a gift in progress. The bulk of the
firefighting prints and ephemera were transferred to the Library between 2010 and 2012.
The Jay T. Last Collection is an unparalleled archive of printed paper artifacts
that documents American lithographic, social, and business history. The
collection began in the early 1970s when physicist and Silicon Valley pioneer
Jay Last moved to Southern California and started collecting citrus box labels
he found at local flea markets and rummage sales. As his collection grew, Last
realized that these labels conveyed important information about commercial
printing, graphic design, and social history, and he expanded his collection to
include other forms of American visual culture. Today this collection contains
more than 185,000 lithographic prints, posters, and ephemera of mostly
nineteenth- and early twentieth- century American origin and represents works by
more than five hundred lithographic companies.
Related materials in the Huntington Library include:
- The Huntington Library Historical Prints Collection contains six related
items (priHHC_FIRE_0000008 - priHHC_FIRE_0000013) that are listed in the
"Related Materials" section in Series II.
Scope and Content
The Jay T. Last Collection of American Firefighting Prints and Ephemera contains more
than 150 printed items that relate to firefighting and the activities and organizations
of firemen in the United States from approximately 1820 to 1909.
The collection consists of advertising and promotional materials, business records,
and illustrations produced for or pertaining to firefighting organizations, related
social or charitable events, and firefighting vehicles, equipment, and supplies.
Materials are arranged in two series: small-size items (11 x 14 inches or less) and large-size items (more than 11 x 14 inches).
Small materials broadly at the series level; large-size items have been
fully inventoried and all printers, artists, and publishers are indexed by name.
The collection has 46 large-size items comprised mainly of lithographic and
engraved prints that include:
- Fire department membership and discharge certificates
- Depictions of fires and firefighters working to extinguish blazes
- Builders prints of fire engines and similar vehicles
- Images and advertisements pertaining to social and charitable events
involving fire departments and related organizations
Small-size items in the collection number more than 100 and consist mainly of business documents and
advertising and promotional ephemera such as printed booklets, trade cards, small
programs, menus, tickets and invitations for charitable and social events such
balls, concerts, musters, and celebrations, business cards, lapel ribbons, book and
periodical illustrations, membership certificates, and stationery with printed
billheads and letterheads filled out in manuscript.
The Jay T. Last Collection is a gift in progress. Container numbers may change as
the collection expands.
The collection is arranged broadly by size in two series:
- Series I. Firefighting Prints and Ephemera (small size)
- Series II. Firefighting Prints and Ephemera (large size)
Business records -- United States --
Ephemera -- United States -- 19th
Leaflets (printed works).
Prints -- United States -- 19th
Fire departments -- United States.
Fire engines -- Pictorial works.
Fire extinction -- Equipment and
supplies -- Pictorial works.
Fire fighters -- Pictorial
Fire stations -- Pictorial
Fires -- Pictorial works.
Fires -- United States.
Steam-engines -- Pictorial works.
Printer, Publisher, Artist Index
The following is a complete list of printers, publishers, and artists represented
in the large-size items in this collection.
Amory, Thomas C. (Thomas Coffin),
Armstrong, McLellan & Green.
Bachelder, John B. (John Badger),
Bennett, W. J. (William James),
Bloomfield, J. J.
Brooks Bank Note Co.
Bufford, John Henry, 1810-1870.
Calyo, Nicolino, 1799-1884.
Chas. H. Crosby & Co.
Clay, Cosack & Co.
Clover, Lewis Peter, 1790-
Crump Label Co.
Currier & Ives.
Disturnell, John, 1801-1877.
Dunston, G. H.
Eddy, Isaac, 1777-1847.
Endicott & Co. (New York, N.Y.)
F.M. Baker & Co.
Frizzell, S. S. (Samuel S.),
Heiss, Geo. G.
Imbert’s Lithographic Office.
J.H. Bufford's Lith.
Jones, J. R.
Kellogg, Jarvis Griggs, 1805-1873.
Ketterlinus, Eugene, 1824-1886.
L.H. Bradford & Co.
Mayer & Stetfield.
Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann.
Miller, Fred. J.
Miller, W. G. (Artist)
Morgan, William P., active 1811-1872.
N. Currier (Firm)
New York (N.Y.). Common Council.
P.S. Duval & Co.
P.S. Duval & Son.
Queen, Jas. (James), 1824-approximately 1877.
Richardson, W. J. (Engraver)
Rogers, E. (Edward), 1831 or 1832-
Rowland, H. E., 1848?-1911.
Salmon, Robert, 1775- approximately
Sarony, Major & Knapp Lith.
Schmidt Label & Litho. Co.
Searle, Frederick A.
Smith, John Rubens, 1775-1849.
Tappan, Ebenezer, 1815-1854.
Tuthill, William H.
Wagner & M’Guigan.