Attributed to Fanny Palmer (1812 – 1876)

Of all the artists who worked for Currier and Ives, the most versatile and prolific was Frances (Fanny) Flora Bond Palmer. In addition to being an artist, she was also the foremost woman lithographer of her day, and is credited with putting more than two hundred pictures on stone, including such classics as, A Midnight Race on the Mississippi and The American Express Train.

Palmer was born in England and came to America in 1844 with her husband, Edmund, and her two children. They settled in New York and in 1846 formed a lithographic and publishing business called F & S Palmer. They lithographed some of the flower prints for A. B. Strong’s book, The American Flora. In 1849, apparently because of financial problems, Currier purchased their business and hired Fanny to work for him. Her husband’s fondness for drink made her the family breadwinner.

In the book, Currier & Ives, 19th Century Printer to the American People, they state, “It is likely that during the latter half of the nineteenth century more pictures by Mrs. Fanny Palmer decorated the homes of ordinary Americans than those of any other artist, living or dead.”

Palmer was famous for her Mississippi steam boat scenes, as well as forest and fishing scenes, almost the full gamut of Currier & Ives production. She died in 1876 at the age of 64.

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