'The Great Republic' is a hand-colored lithograph depicting the prized steamship of the Pacific Mail Steam Ship Company. The ship was a huge side-wheel masterpiece, constructed on Long Island, New York, in 1866; however, most of the ship's work would be along the west coast of the United States. In its earlier years, the Great Republic would carry passengers and valuable cargo between San Francisco and East Asia, the details of which were followed closely by newspapers in New York. By the 1870s, however, following some damages and the increasing efficiency of other engines, the ship was sold to another company and was re-tasked with a route taking passengers and mail between San Francisco and Portland. The ship sailed this route, with good reviews in the papers, until a tragic moment in 1879 when the Great Republic ran aground in Astoria. This caused irreparable damage to the ship and left 1,150 passengers stranded in the city.
In this print, we are presented with the Great Republic at the height of the ship's power and prestige. The initials of the Pacific Mail Steam Ship Company fly proudly in a flag at the stern, and the coal-fueled engine bursts out smoke as passengers walk on the deck. This print would have been produced initially in celebration of the ship's initial voyages in 1866 and would have appealed to passengers on tour and others interested in seafaring and current events. It is likely, however, that the print would have continued to find a market even until its last dramatic days in 1879 as people were hungry for images relating to current events.
10 x 14 inches, sheet
19.88 x 24.25 inches, frame
Published by F.M. Haskell & Co., 61 Hanover St, Boston
Overall good and stable condition; overall toning to paper; colors remain bright; wear to gold finish of frame along edges, see images.
Framed to conservation standars using archival materials including 100 percent rag matting. Housed in a gold finish wood frame.
Source: Loyd, Nancy. "‘This Nest of Dangers’: Great Republic Giant steamship slams onto Sand Island, making national news," in The Chinook Observer, 1 January 2018.