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Blog Post

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Department 1

Civil War Institute


Currier and Ives’ prints were a large part of the media during the Civil War era. Not only were Romantic prints sold and hung in people’s parlors, but cartoons were also very popular. It is important to remember that Currier and Ives’ goal was not to produce fine art, but to make a product that was attractive to middle-class consumers. Thus, political and social cartoons became a way to attract customers. They tried to stay away from controversial topics; however, their Darktown series was one of their best-selling series of the day. Today, the Darktown series is rarely displayed and relatively unknown because of its controversial depictions of slavery and African-Americans. The press also rarely took sides, but when pushed upon took up the side with the more popular argument. Special Collections is fortunate to have two Currier and Ives cartoons. [excerpt]


This blog post originally appeared in The Gettysburg Compiler and was created by students at Gettysburg College.