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“Black Republican” Salt River Ticket
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[RACISM]. Bright green card reading “The Steamer !!! Black Republican !!! Will leave This Day, (via Kansas) for Salt River You are respectfully invited to accompany the party Free. Reinforcements will be sent up in November next,” 1856, [Philadelphia, PA].1 p., 3¼ x 2 in.

Inventory #26460.01       Price: $500

Since at least the 1820s, defeated political candidates were said to have gone up the “Salt River,” an actual river in Kentucky that empties into the Ohio River. It came to symbolize political oblivion, and political cartoonists and commentators used Salt River in visual and textual references well into the 1870s. One origin story, though questioned, is that a boatman in 1832 rowed Whig candidate Henry Clay up Salt River instead of the Ohio River, causing him to miss an important engagement to give a speech and lose the election to Democratic candidate Andrew Jackson.

An advertisement in The Pittsfield Sun (MA), describes this ticket, under the headline “Ho! For Kansas!—The following is a free excursion ticket issued in Philadelphia:”[1]

John L. Magee (ca. 1821-1870s) was a lithographer and printer in New York and Philadelphia. He had a business at 63 Walnut Street in Philadelphia in 1855. He generally specialized in cartoons and illustrations for children’s books. He also created lithographs for Philadelphia and New York publishers, including James Baillie and Nathaniel Currier.

Condition: Uneven edges, minor toning and soiling throughout; one side is slightly faded.

[1]The Pittsfield Sun (MA), October 23, 1856, 2:4.

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