Jay T. Last Collection of American Firefighting Prints and Ephemera: Finding Aid

Finding aid prepared by Diann Benti.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Prints and Ephemera
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: 626-405-3473
Email: lastcollection@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
© 2014
The Huntington Library. All rights reserved.


Overview of the Collection

Title: Jay T. Last Collection of American Firefighting Prints and Ephemera
Dates (inclusive): 1826-1907
Collection Number: priJLC_FIRE
Collector: Last, Jay T.
Extent: approximately 150 items in 1 flat-file drawer, 1 binder, and 1 folder
Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: 626-405-3473
Email: lastcollection@huntington.org
URL: http://www.huntington.org
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 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.
Language: English.
Note:
Finding aid last updated on February 18, 2014.

Access

The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, please visit the Huntington's website: www.huntington.org.  

Administrative Information

Publication Rights

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.

Preferred Citation

[Item title, Call number]. Jay T. Last Collection of American Firefighting Prints and Ephemera, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Provenance

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.

Background

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.

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.

Note

The Jay T. Last Collection is a gift in progress. Container numbers may change as the collection expands.

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.

Arrangement

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)

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

Genres

Billheads.
Business cards.
Business records.
Business records -- United States -- 19th century.
Chromolithographs.
Engravings.
Ephemera.
Ephemera -- United States -- 19th century.
Intaglio prints.
Leaflets (printed works).
Letterheads.
Lithographs.
Printed ephemera.
Prints.
Prints -- United States -- 19th century.
Promotional materials.
Relief prints.
Tradecards.
Views.

Subjects

Fire departments.
Fire departments -- United States.
Fire engines -- Pictorial works.
Fire extinction -- Equipment and supplies -- Pictorial works.
Fire fighters -- Pictorial works.
Fire stations -- Pictorial works.
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), 1812-1889.
Armstrong, McLellan & Green.
Bachelder, John B. (John Badger), 1825-1894.
Bennett, W. J. (William James), 1787-1844.
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.), 1843-1895.
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.
Pendleton’s Lithography.
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 1848.
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.


Collection Contents

 

Series I. Firefighting Prints and Ephemera (small size) approximately 1820-1909

Physical Description: approximately 110 items in 1 binder and 1 folder

Scope and Content

This series contains more than 100 small-size printed items that pertain to firefighting and the activities and organizations of firemen in the United States from approximately 1820 to 1909. The items consist of business records and advertising and promotional materials produced for or pertaining to firefighting organizations, related social or charitable events, and firefighting vehicles, equipment, and supplies.
The entities represented in these materials include fire departments, engine and hose companies, relief funds, veterans' associations, and firefighting vehicle, equipment, and supply manufacturers such as engine works and pump and hose manufacturers. Item types consist of 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. Many of these items are decorated with images that include depictions of firefighters assembling for duty and responding to alarms, fighting fires, and rescuing victims; views of burning and damaged buildings, and ruins amid flames, rubble, and smoke; and images of firefighting vehicles and equipment including steam fire engines, manual fire engines, hook and ladder trucks, hose carriages, fire hydrants, hoses, ladders, preventers, axes, and speaking trumpets.
While most of the materials date from the second half of the 19th century, among the earliest items in the collection is a circa 1820 engraving of a fire pumper that advertises the Philadelphia firm of Sellers & Pennock Patent River Hose, Fire Bucket and Hydraulion Manufacturers. Later items include an 1886 booklet for the Veteran Firemen’s Association annual ball held at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, containing multiple pages of advertisements and illustrations for firefighting apparatus and related services interspersed with four images of historic New York City fires; and twelve color covers with images of "Young Wide Awake" in firefighting scenes from the Wide Awake Weekly dime-novel/penny-dreadful series that was published by Frank Tousey between 1906 and 1909.

Arrangement

This series is arranged broadly by size with items smaller than 8 x 10 inches housed in one binder and items between 8 x 10 inches and 11 x 14 inches in size housed in a folder in one box.
Binder  1

Firefighting Prints and Ephemera (8 x 10 inches or smaller in size)

Physical Description: approximately 105 items in 1 binder
Box  1 , Folder  1

Firefighting Prints and Ephemera (between 8 x 10 inches and 11 x 14 inches in size)

Physical Description: approximately 5 items in 1 folder
 

Series II. Firefighting Prints and Ephemera (large size) 1826-1907

Physical Description: 46 items in 1 flat-file drawer

Scope and Content

This series contains 46 large-size printed items related to firefighting and the activities and organizations of firemen in the United States between 1826 and 1907. The series is comprised mainly of lithographic and engraved prints including fire department membership and discharge certificates, depictions of fires and firefighters working to extinguish blazes, builder’s prints of fire engines and similar vehicles, and images and advertisements pertaining to social and charitable events involving fire departments and related organizations.
These items were produced for a variety of purposes including as illustrations in books, as promotional materials, as documentary and commemorative prints, and as certificates attesting to the service of firemen. They consist mainly of color-printed, hand-colored, and uncolored lithographs and engravings by American artists, printers, and publishers.
Many of these prints contain scenes of firefighters assembling for duty and responding to alarms, fighting fires, and rescuing victims; views of burning and damaged buildings and ruins; and images of firefighting vehicles and equipment including steam fire engines, manual fire engines, hook and ladder trucks, hose carriages, fire hydrants, hoses, ladders, preventers, axes, and speaking trumpets.
The items primarily pertain to the Northeastern United States, though the materials do include certificates for fire companies in Gold Hill, Nevada (1867), Albany, Oregon (1874), and Alameda, California (1893); a print of a manual fire engine used by the Pacific Engine Company of San Francisco, California (1851); and a view of the June 20, 1877, fire in St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.
The series features:
  • 17 certificates that document membership in fire companies or benevolent societies, or the exemption or discharge of firemen from service. Most of these certificates are decorated with multiple vignettes including images of recent or historic fires fought by the company, as well as more generic scenes of firemen and equipment.
  • 13 prints produced for firefighting vehicle builders and manufacturers, similar to railroad locomotive builder’s prints, that prominently feature views of steam and manual fire engines and often include the name of the fire company that purchased the engine.
  • 10 items pertain to parades, balls, and celebrations involving firefighters, including the earliest dated items in the collection: four small lithographs of parade floats carrying New York City firefighters and fire engines that were printed by Anthony Imbert of New York City and published in 1826 as part of an appendix to the 1825 Memoir by Cadwallader D. Colden commemorating the New York celebration of the opening of the Erie Canal.

Arrangement

Items are arranged numerically by call number and described in the following format:
  • Title of print. Date
  • Artist(s) (when known) Printer(s) Publisher(s)

Related Material

Items in the Huntington Library Historical Prints collection:

  • priHHC_FIRE_0000008 The life of a fireman. The night alarm. - "Start her lively boys." ©1854

    Artists: Maurer, Louis, 1832-1932 Printers: Currier, Nathaniel, 1813-1888 Publishers: N. Currier (Firm)
  • priHHC_FIRE_0000009 The life of a fireman. The race. "Jump her boys, jump her!" ©1854

    Artists: Maurer, Louis, 1832-1932 Publishers: Currier & Ives
  • priHHC_FIRE_0000010 The life of a fireman. The fire. "Now then with a will - shake her up boys! ©1854

    Artists: Maurer, Louis, 1832-1932 Printers: Currier, Nathaniel, 1813-1888 Publishers: N. Currier (Firm)
  • priHHC_FIRE_0000011 The life of a fireman. The ruins. "Take up." - "Man your rope." ©1854

    Artists: Maurer, Louis, 1832-1932 Printers: Currier, Nathaniel, 1813-1888 Publishers: N. Currier (Firm)
  • priHHC_FIRE_0000012 The life of a fireman. The new era. Steam and muscle. ©1861

    Artists: Parsons, Charles, 1821-1910 Printers: Currier & Ives Publishers: Currier & Ives
  • priHHC_FIRE_0000013 The life of a fireman. The metropolitan system. ©1866

    Artists: Cameron, John, approximately 1828- Printers: Currier & Ives Publishers: Currier & Ives
priJLC_FIRE_001463

Firemen's muster, Merrimack Square, Manchester, N.H. September 15th. 1859. ©1861

Printers: Endicott & Co. (New York, N.Y.) Publishers: Bachelder, John B. (John Badger), 1825-1894
priJLC_FIRE_001464

Firemen's promenade concert and ball. The Extinguisher and Batcheller Hose Companies will hold their first promenade concert and ball, in the town hall, North Brookfield, Thursday evening, Nov. 27th, 1879 ... 1879

Printers: Searle, Frederick A.
priJLC_FIRE_001465

Ruins of the Merchant's Exchange N.Y. After the destructive conflagration of Decbr.. 16 & 17, 1835. approximately 1835

Artists: Bufford, John Henry, 1810-1870 Printers: N. Currier (Firm) Publishers: Bufford, John Henry, 1810-1870 ; Disturnell, John, 1801-1877
priJLC_FIRE_001466

View of the great conflagration of Dec. 16th and 17th 1835; from Coenties Slip. approximately 1836

Artists: Bufford, John Henry, 1810-1870 Printers: N. Currier (Firm) Publishers: Bufford, John Henry, 1810-1870 ; Disturnell, John, 1801-1877
priJLC_FIRE_001467

Grand Canal Celebration. : Fire department. 1826

Printers: Imbert’s Lithographic Office Publishers: New York (N.Y.). Common Council
priJLC_FIRE_001468

Grand Canal Celebration. : Fire department. 1826

Artists: Morgan, William P., active 1811-1872 Printers: Imbert’s Lithographic Office Publishers: New York (N.Y.). Common Council
priJLC_FIRE_001469

Eagle Fire Engine No. 13. as she appeared in the procession on the fourth of November 1825 at the Grand Canal celebration in the city of New York. 1826

Artists: Tuthill, William H. Printers: Imbert’s Lithographic Office Publishers: New York (N.Y.). Common Council
priJLC_FIRE_001470

Fire department. 1826

Printers: Imbert’s Lithographic Office Publishers: New York (N.Y.). Common Council
priJLC_FIRE_001471

The great fire at St. John, N. B. June 20th 1877. ©1877

Printers: Currier & Ives
priJLC_FIRE_001472

Engine of the Red Jacket Veteran Firemen's Association, Cambridge, Mass. Champion of the New England League 1894. ... approximately 1895

Printers: Brooks Bank Note Co.
priJLC_FIRE_001473

Cowing & Gleason Mfg. Co., Limited. Successors to Cowing & Co., established 1840. : Seneca Falls, N.Y. New York Chicago. St. Louis. between 1879 and 1885

Printers: Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann
priJLC_FIRE_001474

Weccacoe Fire Compy. Instituted 1800, Incorporated 1833. approximately 1855

Artists: Heiss, Geo. G. Printers: Wagner & M’Guigan
priJLC_FIRE_001475

"Our name is our motto" Good Will Steam Fire Co. No. 20, of Philadelphia. (certificate) approximately 1860

Printers: Ketterlinus, Eugene, 1824-1886
priJLC_FIRE_001476

City of Boston : This certifies that Amasa Pray having served for seven successive years in the Fire Department of the City of Boston ... (certificate) ©1833, 1846

Artists: Salmon, Robert, 1775- approximately 1848 ; Eddy, Isaac, 1777-1847 Printers: Pendleton’s Lithography Publishers: Amory, Thomas C. (Thomas Coffin), 1812-1889
priJLC_FIRE_001477

This is to certify that John G. Lubben. having served the time prescribed by the laws of the State of California in the Alameda Fire Department ... (certificate) 1893

Printers: Schmidt Label & Litho. Co.
priJLC_FIRE_001478

This is to certify that Hiram Sweet is an honorary member of the Columbia Hose Co. of Philadelphia ... (certificate) approximately 1865

Artists: Queen, Jas. (James), 1824-approximately 18777 Printers: P.S. Duval & Co.
priJLC_FIRE_001479

Certificate of life membership to the Philadelphia Association for the relief of disabled firemen. This is to certify that R.C. Du Comb ... (certificate) approximately 1869

Artists: Smith, John Rubens, 1775-1849
priJLC_FIRE_001480

This may certify that Wm. H. Porter was admitted a member of the Firemen's Benevolent Society of the city of Hartford ... (certificate) between 1841 and 1858

Artists: Kellogg, Jarvis Griggs, 1805-1873 ; Tappan, Ebenezer, 1815-1854 Printers: Kellogg, Jarvis Griggs, 1805-1873
priJLC_FIRE_001481

This may certify that C.A. Andrews was admitted a member of the Firemen's Benevolent Society of the city of Hartford ... (certificate) between 1841 and 1901

Artists: Kellogg, Jarvis Griggs, 1805-1873 Printers: Kellogg, Jarvis Griggs, 1805-1873
priJLC_FIRE_001482

This is to certify that ... has pursuant to law ... a member of the fire department (certificate) between 1857 and 1863

Printers: Sarony, Major & Knapp Lith.
priJLC_FIRE_001483

These are to certify that Arch. Montieth has been nominated and elected an active member of Albany Engine Co. No. 1. ... (certificate) ©1874, 1875

Publishers: Miller, Fred. J.
priJLC_FIRE_001484

This is to certify that H. H. Flagg ... Gold Hill Fire Department ... (certificate) 1867

priJLC_FIRE_001485

Cambridge Fire Department. This is to certify that William T. King is appointed a member of Engine Company No Five ... (certificate) 1879

Printers: J.H. Bufford's Lith.
priJLC_FIRE_001486

Organized July 13th 1885. This is to certify that W. H. Conron is an exempt member of the Deposit Fire Department of Deposit, New York ... (certificate) between 1885 and 1907

Printers: Dunston, G. H.
priJLC_FIRE_001487

This is to certify that Charles M. Tainter has served as a Fireman in the city of Buffalo ... (certificate) between 1845 and 1857

Artists: Miller, W. G. (Artist) ; Richardson, W. J. (Engraver)
priJLC_FIRE_001488

Exempt certificate. This is to certify that George H. Waite has served seven full years as an active member of Rescue Hook & Ladder Co. Watkins, NY Fire Department ... (certificate) ©1898, 1903

Publishers: Jones, J. R.
priJLC_FIRE_001489

This is to certify that C. G. Carter has been a member of the Owego Fire Department ... (certificate) between 1883 and 1896

Publishers: F.M. Baker & Co.
priJLC_FIRE_001490

This certifies that ... is a member of ... Company; No. ... Fire Department .. (certificate) ©1877

Printers: Currier & Ives Publishers: Currier & Ives
priJLC_FIRE_001491

This may certify that ... was admitted a member of the Firemen's Benevolent Society of the city of Hartford ... (certificate) approximately 184-

Artists: Kellogg, Jarvis Griggs, 1805-1873 Printers: Kellogg, Jarvis Griggs, 1805-1873
priJLC_FIRE_001492

3rd.. size steam fire engine built by the Silsby Manufacturing Co. Seneca Falls, N.Y. approximately 1871

Printers: Armstrong, McLellan & Green
priJLC_FIRE_001493

Silsby Manufg. Co. Seneca Falls, N.Y. between 1868 and 1877

Printers: Clay, Cosack & Co.
priJLC_FIRE_001494

Franklin Engine No. 3. : Brooklyn, L.I. approximately 185-

Printers: Endicott & Co. (New York, N.Y.)
priJLC_FIRE_001495

Wm. Jeffers & Co. Builders of : end & side stroke engines. Pawtucket. R.I. approximately 185-

priJLC_FIRE_001496

Pacific No. 14 Pierrepont St. : Organized Sept. 19. 1846. Brooklyn, New York. approximately 1851

priJLC_FIRE_001497

Built by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Co. Manchester, N.H. approximately 1861

Printers: Mayer & Stetfield
priJLC_FIRE_001498

Annual ball of the Franklin Fire Co. at Horticultural Hall, on Monday evening, Oct. 5th 1868. 1868

Artists: Rogers, E. (Edward), 1831 or 1832-
priJLC_FIRE_001499

Button fire engine works : Holroyd & Co. Proprietors Waterford, Saratoga Co., N.Y. between 1882 and 1891

Printers: Rowland, H. E., 1848?-1911
priJLC_FIRE_001500

Rumsey's Blackville Fire Brigade : Rumsey & Co. Ltd manufacturers of pump-hand fire engines hook & ladder trucks etc. Seneca Falls, N.Y. approximately 188-

Printers: Crump Label Co.
priJLC_FIRE_001501

View of the great fire in New-York, Decr. 16th. & 17th. 1835 : as seen from the top of the bank of America. Cor. of Wall & Wm. St. ©1836

Artists: Calyo, Nicolino, 1799-1884 ; Bennett, W. J. (William James), 1787-1844 Publishers: Clover, Lewis Peter, 1790-
priJLC_FIRE_001502

View of the ruins after the great fire in New-York, Decr. 16th. & 17th. 1835. As seen from Exchange Place. ©1836

Artists: Calyo, Nicolino, 1799-1884 ; Bennett, W. J. (William James), 1787-1844 Publishers: Clover, Lewis Peter, 1790-
priJLC_FIRE_001503

View of the great fire in New York, Decr. 16th & 17th, 1835 as seen from the top of the Bank of America. Cor. of Wall & Wm. St. ©1836

Artists: Calyo, Nicolino, 1799-1884 ; Bennett, W. J. (William James), 1787-1844 Publishers: Clover, Lewis Peter, 1790-
priJLC_FIRE_001504

Hibernia Fire Engine Company, No. 1 of Philadelphia. Instituted 1752. Assembling for parade, October 5th. 1857. approximately 1857

Artists: Queen, Jas. (James), 1824-approximately 18777 Printers: P.S. Duval & Son
priJLC_FIRE_001505

Hunneman & Co. builders, Boston, Mass. approximately 1855

Printers: L.H. Bradford & Co.
priJLC_FIRE_001506

Built by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. approximately 1870

Artists: Frizzell, S. S. (Samuel S.), 1843-1895 Printers: Chas. H. Crosby & Co.
priJLC_FIRE_002476

Grand illuminated parade in honor of Hibernia Engine Company, No. 1, of Philadelphia, on the evening of Saturday, November 20, 1858, by Americus Engine Company, No. 6. ... 1858

Printers: Bloomfield, J. J.
priJLC_FIRE_002477

Niagara Falls Fire Department. State of New York. To all whom these presents shall come, ... do hereby appoint Walter C. Hulett a fireman in Fire Company No. 2 ... (certificate) 1852