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Jay T. Last Collection of Finance Prints and Ephemera: Finding Aid
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Administrative Information
  • Access
  • Scope and Content
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Jay T. Last Collection of Finance Prints and Ephemera
    Dates (inclusive): 1794-1926
    Bulk dates: 1840-1900
    Collection Number: priJLC_FIN
    Collector: Last, Jay T.
    Extent: approximately 1,075 items
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Prints and Ephemera
    Huntington Library
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: 626-405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Jay T. Last Collection of Finance Prints and Ephemera contains approximately 1,075 printed items related to finance, banking, auctions, and other monetary products and services in the United States from 1794 to 1926, with the bulk of the content dating from 1840 to 1900. Most items are lithographs, but engravings and woodcuts are also included.
    Language: English.
    Finding aid last updated on May 31, 2018.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

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


    This collection forms part of the Jay T. Last Collection of Graphic Arts 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 Finance 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 200,000 lithographic prints, posters, and ephemera of mostly nineteenth- and early twentieth- century American origin and represents works by more than five hundred lithographic companies.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Scope and Content

    The Jay T. Last Collection of Finance Prints and Ephemera contains approximately 1,075 printed items from the United States dating from 1794 to 1926, with the bulk of the content dating from 1840 to 1900. Items are related to the creation, distribution, and management of money as well as the conduct or transaction of money matters, including the protection or sale of personal and real property by agents, brokers, dealers, or land developers. This category covers accounting, auctions, banking, collection agencies, credits and loans, insurance, investment, and real estate along with the equipment, supplies, and structures associated with these businesses such as cash registers, checks, insurance policies, paper currency, and financial buildings. Most items are lithographs, but engravings and woodcuts are also included.
    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-size items are described broadly at the series level; large-size items and select small-size items are fully inventoried with printers, artists, and publishers indexed by name. The collection includes 54 large-size items comprised mainly of advertising prints and insurance agreements. Small-size items number approximately 1,020 and contain a variety of materials, including trade cards, checks, leaflets, currency, imitation currency, and printed billheads and letterheads (with and without manuscript text). Of note are more than 100 bank checks issued by John H. Piatt & Co. Bankers of Cincinnati, Ohio, dating from 1817 to 1820 (Binder 1). They are signed by various Cincinnati-area businessmen and citizens including shoe store owner James Chute, druggist William Crissey, Methodist preacher Adbeel Coleman, and American Revolutionary War veteran Abraham Chase.
    The collection provides a look at the evolution of advertising strategies and contractual language in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The images on the insurance-related materials often include depictions of fires and natural disasters, providing a resource for studying the history of emergency response and firefighting during this era. As graphic materials, the collection highlights developing techniques and trends in printmaking while documenting the artists, engravers, lithographers, printers, and publishers involved in the creative process.

    Alternative Form of Materials Available

    Visit the Huntington Digital Library: Jay T. Last Collection   to view digitized items from this collection.

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    The Huntington Library Historical Prints Collection contains two related items (priHHC_FIN_0000284; priHHC_FIN_0000285) that is listed in the "Related Materials" section at the beginning of Series II in this finding aid.


    The collection is arranged in the following two series:
    • Series I. Finance Prints and Ephemera (small size)
    • Series II. Finance 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.  


    Bonds (Negotiable instruments)
    Business cards.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 19th century.
    Ephemera -- United States -- 20th century.
    Intaglio prints.
    Leaflets (printed works).
    Printed ephemera.
    Promotional materials.
    Relief prints.
    Trade cards.


    Advertising -- Banks and banking.
    Advertising -- Insurance.
    Banks and banking -- Pictorial works.
    Buildings -- Pictorial works.
    Commercial streets -- Pictorial works.
    Financial services industry.
    Fire engines -- Pictorial works.
    Fire fighters -- Pictorial works.
    Fires -- Pictorial works.
    Lettering -- Pictorial works.
    Women -- Pictorial works.

    Printer, Publisher, Artist Index

    The following is a complete list of printers, publishers, and artists represented in the fully-cataloged items in this collection.
    Anderson, Alexander, 1775-1870
    Bailey, Francis, 1735?-1815
    Baker, Geo. H. (George Holbrook), 1827-1906
    Barker, J. J.
    Beach & Barnard
    Bigot, Alphonse, approximately 1828-1872 or 1873
    Bufford, John Henry, 1810-1870
    Clay & Cosack
    Croome, William, 1790-1860
    Defender Print
    E. P. & L. Restein Lith.
    E.B. Clayton & Sons
    Errett & Anderson
    H. T. Darlington & Co.
    Hart, Chas. (Charles), active 1870-1880
    Hatch & Co.
    Hatch Lith. Co.
    Henry T. Darlington & Co.
    Hobson, R. H., active 1829-1834
    Hoffmann, V., 1834-
    Horton's Print
    J. & E. Norton’s Print
    J. Ottman Lithographic Company
    King & Baird
    Knickerbocker, C.
    Lane, Nathan
    Major & Knapp Engraving, Manufacturing & Lithographic Co.
    Mason, William G.
    New-Orleans Commercial Bulletin Office
    Nissly, Samuel
    P.R. Freas & Co.
    Packard, Herbert S.
    Palm & Fechteler
    Ritchie & Dunnavant
    Robertson, Wm. C. (Printer)
    Rogers, Isaiah, 1800-1869
    Shearman & Hart
    Shearman, J. A.
    Sinclair, Thomas S., approximately 1805-1881
    Strobridge Lithographing Company
    Thoubboron, J.
    Warner, C. L.
    Wheeler & Williams
    Whitechurch, Robert, 1814-approximately 1880