DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. First Edition [nd 1834-1835]

DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. First State, First Edition [nd 1834-1835] Ami B. Young, delineat, Stodart & Currier, Lithog,NY, B[enjamin].O. Tyler, Publisher
Stodart & Currier, Lithographer
New York City, New York
black and white lithograph
Professionally conserved
very good, professionally conserved, full margins, good print impression, partial ink loss reinstated in the letter "E" at the end of "College" in the title
11.36 × 16 inches
Sale Status: 
For Sale

This rare lithograph print is the first state, first edition of DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. printed c.1834-1835 by Nathaniel Currier in New York City where he set up his first lithography shop with a business partner named Adam Stodart in 1834 under the name Stodart & Currier.1/ Currier learned lithography when he was at age 15 apprenticed to Pendleton's Lithography in Boston, the partnership of brothers William S. Pendleton (1795-1879) and John B. Pendleton(1798-1866). Currier moved to New York City in 1834 and by some accounts worked briefly with John B. Pendleton who sold his New York City shop to his former apprentice Currier and a new business partner, lithographer Adam Stodart.2/ In 1835, Stodart left the partnership with Currier. Thereafter, Currier continued on his own in the New York City shop publishing lithographs as N. Currier. Thus, the print DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. under the name "Stodart & Currier, Lithog., NY" although undated, could only have been printed while Stodart and Currier were in business together in New York City, and that is within the date rate 1834-1835.
            The print shows Dartmouth Hall with its decorative weathervane, flanked to its right by the brick Wentworth Hall and to the left by Thornton Hall. The college lawn is fenced. The hills of Hanover, New Hampshire are in the background. Men stroll on the roads adjoining the College yard and gesture in conversation, as one man points towards Dartmouth Hall. A rider on horseback passes along the road and a couple with a frolicking dog stroll by. Two wood frame houses complete the scene that is framed graphically by large trees in full leaf. The line drawing and detail are refined, the texture of the lithographer's stone provide a range of grey tones and texture. The perspective created by the artist places the viewer uphill from the scene and as if walking directly towards the Dartmouth College campus.
             This first edition and first state lithograph titled DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. lithographed by Stodart & Currier is listed only in two published collections, one the Library of Congress and the other the  Dartmouth College, Rauner Special Collections Library. The finely drawn and printed lithograph demonstrates the early lithographic skills and business acumen of Nathaniel Currier who created an oeuvre of American lithographs that came to define the 19th c. form. The print may have been commissioned privately and made for a limited audience. This print is rare.
            The artist credit below the neatline on this first state print DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. identifies New Hampshire born architect Ammi Burnham Young (1799-1874) whose name appears on the print as "Ami B. Young delt " a Latin phrase that means Ami B. Young drew this. Ammi B. Young was a highly respected 19th century American architect, who early in his career designed town plans, college buildings and New England public buildings. Notably Young is the architect hired in 1828 by the Dartmouth College Trustees to design the first Dartmouth College campus plan. The print shows Dartmouth Hall with its distinctive cupola and weathervane in the center of the composition. On either side of Dartmouth Hall are two three-story brick campus houses for the growing Dartmouth College student body: Wentworth and Thornton Halls.  Wentworth and Thornton were constructed between 1828 and 1829. In 1828 Young also designed and supervised Dartmouth Hall's interior renovations. Young was commissioned to design Reed Hall but that hall was not built until 1839.  In the interval between 1828 and 1839, Young designed the U.S. Customs House in Boston, the Montpelier Capitol and the Worcester Courthouse in Massachusetts. Young's later influence on American public architecture was profound. From 1852-1862, Ammi Young served as the first Supervising Architect of the Treasury and oversaw the design and building of federal buildings across America.  Young's public buildings are iconic examples of Greek Revival architecture in America. Young's 1834-1835 drawing of the early, formal Dartmouth College campus as represented in the first state lithograph DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. is an equally iconic view of Dartmouth College.
              The Rauner Special Collections Library at Dartmouth College holds an 1828 pencil sketch by Young titled "A View of Dartmouth College Buildings" drawn the same year Young was hired by the Dartmouth College Trustees to prepare the Dartmouth campus plan. This drawing was perhaps Young's vision for the quadrangle. Records of the Dartmouth College Trustees from 1828 through 1839 express their desire to create a campus with student housing in "fine brick" buildings for the rapidly growing student body: 134 student by 1829; 200 students by 1835; 76 graduates in 1836, second only  to Yale's 78 graduates; and for Ivy League bragging rights Dartmouth College's 76 graduates that year are almost double Harvard's 48 graduates. While Young's designs for Wentworth Hall and Thornton Hall were successfully financed and constructed by 1829, the early 1830's minutes of the meetings of the Dartmouth Trustee express their frustration that Young's design for Reed Hall could not yet be built due to lack of funds and that the College could not provide adequate housing for students. Trustee William Reed had left a "handsome legacy" for a namesake building that remained unpaid for years. It took until 1839 for Reed Hall, Young's final campus building to be financed and built. Then as now the clients grumbled about their architect's cost overruns and billing irregularities.
              One can only speculate why in 1834 or early 1835 Currier & Stodart collaborated with Ammi B.  Young to produce the DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. print.  Most likely there was a financial purpose to this print edition.  Currier early in his professional career as a lithographer showed a keenness at marketing.  He captured scenes of current events and sought to satisfy the public's curiosity. Currier likely knew that a view of Dartmouth College would be of interest and salable to Dartmouth College alumni, Dartmouth College Trustees and aspiring alumni for decades to come. Ammi Young was a rising, national architect and his architectural designs could have been of interest also to an educated market of print buyers. The economy of 1834-1835 was not strong, and Currier would have chosen his projects carefully.
             Currier's shop produced affordable art for the general public and this business plan is evident in 1834-1835 in the DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. first state print.  Even if the first print run was small, Currier would  have understood  that Ammi Young's rendering of early Dartmouth College as a black and white lithograph would become a financially valuable, long term property in Currier's portfolio for subsequent color editions by the Currier firm.  There are subsequent color editions and these omit Ammi B. Young's name as well as that of B.O. Tyler as the publisher. For architect Young, this first state lithograph of Dartmouth College with its two new student buildings promoted his early campus plan and became part of Young's own portfolio.
             The  literature about the history of Currier's work tends to disparage the output of Currier & Stodart as the work of  "job printers". This unfortunate bias ignores the actual path of a craftsperson's development from apprentice to master and in this instance from lithography shop apprentice to independent lithography printer and the attendant requirements of establishing a lithography studio as a going commercial concern one step at a time.  The first state lithograph DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. demonstrates Currier's mastery of lithography as an art and his understanding of the print trade and the economics of his times. His career was on a steep ascent due in part to his eye for subject matter and technical skills. The short lived Stodart & Currier partnership published other technically challenging material such as  "A General Map of China, Chinese Tartary and Tibet" to accompany  A Sketch of Chinese History Ancient and Modern, Vol.II, Rev. Charles Gutzlaff, published by John P. Howen, New York, 1834.  Stodart & Currier published the "Pompon Rose" a lovely black and white lithograph of a child holding a flower. The firm also printed for the Album of Phoebe Almy, Smithfield, Rhode Island finely drawn, hand colored lithographs. These Stodart & Currier art prints are all in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society and were viewed in person.   Thus it is accurate to say that Currier's collaboration with architect Ammi B. Young was an early project by a firm whose artistic and technical sophistication matched or exceeded all but a few American lithographers at the end of the first third of the 19th century.  Currier added in the genre of American college portraits ten years later with his lithograph of Mt. Holyoke College.
             Finding published research regarding the first state of Currier's DARTMOUTH COLLEGE. and locating accurate references and images of this first state, first edition naming Stodart & Currier, and crediting artist Ammi B. Young  rank in scarcity to the print itself.3/ The Library of Congress in one reference to "Dartmouth College." cites Gale 1571 further citing Dartmouth College Library and "hand colored". In fact the Dartmouth College Rauner Special Collections Library example of the first state of this print, viewed in person,  is uncolored and black and white on paper of approximately the same dimensions and character as this example.  I have located two other references to a Currier lithograph titled Dartmouth College dated 1834-35 but the illustration provided for both references is a version of a later edition.4/ To distinguish this first state DARTMOUTH COLLEGE.  [nd 1834-1835] from the second state and later editions of Currier's "Dartmouth College", please note that the second and subsequent print editions are printed under the name N. Currier, are colored and do not bear the name of the artist "Ami B. Young" or of the first state, first edition publisher B[enjamin].O. Tyler, who was active between 1820-1840 according to the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1.  Library of Congress citation Young, Ammi B. , Artist, Adam Stodart, and Nathaniel Currier. Dartmouth College / Ami B. Young delt. ; lithog. of Stodart & Currier, N.Y. [New York: Published by B.O. Tyler, or 1835] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2001696139

Dartmouth College / Ami B. Young delt. ; lithog. of Stodart & Currier, N.Y. - b&w film copy neg. | Library of Congress
and; Dartmouth College Library Rauner call number 876/24 with control no. ocm13644665
2.  Springfield Museum Dartmouth College, Nathaniel Currier | Springfield Museums
3.  Gale, Currier & Ives, vol.I, Detroit Michigan, 1984
4.  Please see, Kipp, Robert Currier's Guide to Currier & Ives Prints, Third edition, (1994)

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