Boston: C.H. Crosby, 1863. Emil Ackermann. 1st edition 1st state, folio, chromolithograph, 15” x 15.8”. / Top and bottom margins trimmed close, otherwise fine. Item #100242
Rare first state of Stedman Wright’s masterful composition lithographed in colors by preeminent lithographer Emil Ackermann for the American Seamen’s Friend Society of Boston. This vivid pictorial route map depicts the corkscrew course of alcoholism as a one-way trip from “Drunkards Curve” to “Dead River (Destruction)” by way of the Black Valley Railroad. A locomotive fueled by alcohol with the Devil as engineer is pulling the “bar car” and passenger cars and are shown in the foreground at Drunkard’s Curve station where drunks, a destitute family, ambulance, coaches and philanthropists are seen. An adder and lurking beasts are awaiting at passengers prepare to plunge into the tumultuous forest where stormy skies and lightning portend the environment to come including gigantic cavorting skeletons. “At the last it biteth like a Serpent and stingeth like an Adder”.
Harry Peters categorized Hanks’ image as “one of the best temperance prints”, a statement to which we agree. The popularity of this print would spawn many subsequent variants, both in color and black & white, most of which carry the sub-title “The Great Through Route”. Variants also expand on the time-table shown here below the tile by adding spiritual verses printed in large type at the left and right margins.
Quite rare in this first state edition without alteration.
Ref: Peters “America on Stone” p.71.