"Charlotte Rubinstein’s extensively researched and richly illustrated biography provides compelling historical and cultural context for Currier & Ives’s most important lithographer—Frances Flora Bond Palmer....This book should be on the shelf of every historian, enthusiast, and collector of 19th-century prints."—Nancy Siegel, Professor of Art History, Towson University
"The author set out to place Palmer’s work in its historical and art historical contexts and has accomplished her aim."—Georgia Barnhill, curator emerita, American Antiquarian Society
"Rubinstein’s work richly documents the life and work of an artist of significance in the history of American graphic arts. That significance is two-fold. First, Palmer was for many years a leading artist—arguably the leading artist—among the several who worked for the firm of Currier & Ives. . . . Second, Palmer was a great rarity in nineteenth–century America: a successful and prolific woman artist."—David Tatham, author of Winslow Homer in the Adirondacks
"Positions Frances (“Fanny”) Bond Palmer as a nineteenth-century Norman Rockwell and advocates more broadly for the recognition of graphic arts and women artists....The quantity and quality of the illustrations are unprecedented in prior scholarship on Palmer....Rich with works both familiar and new that highlight the rare contributions of a British immigrant in shaping American visual culture."—Meredith L. Hale, The Art Libraries Society of North America
"A wonderful testament to the life's work of two clearly remarkable women, Frances Flora Bond Palmer, and her erstwhile biographer, Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein. ... A fine resource not only for Currier & Ives enthusiasts who wish to learn more about one of the firm's most significant artists, but also for scholars who wish to draw connections between the nineteenth-century popular press and other cultural themes from this period in America's history."—Kate Meyer, Imprint: Journal of the American Historical Print Collectors Society
"Rubinstein’s volume fills a major scholarly gap and reclaims Fanny Palmer for the canon of American art history."—Woman’s Art Journal
As one of Currier & Ives’s leading artists, Frances (“Fanny”) Bond Palmer (1812–1876) was a major lithographer whose prints found their way into homes, schools, barns, taverns, business offices, yacht clubs, and elsewhere, reaching a mass audience during her day. Her life was a true American fable—the story of an immigrant who came to the United States to start a new life for herself and her family and rose to the top of her profession.
In Fanny Palmer: The Life and Works of a Currier & Ives Artist, Rubinstein chronicles the details of Palmer’s life, situating her work as the product of her own merit rather than as an achievement of Currier & Ives, and portraying the artist as an enterprising professional and one of the most versatile and prolific lithographers of her day. Largely ignored by art historians because of her status as a graphic artist and as an employee of famous male publishers, Palmer’s work was nonetheless a staple in nineteenth-century culture. Palmer was interested in recording all subjects that made up American life: her images of railroads, clipper ships, New York City, Civil War battle scenes, pictures of domestic bliss, and vistas of the newly opened West comprised at least two hundred of the company’s signed prints. A long-time employee of Currier & Ives, she also collaborated anonymously with other staff artists, supplying landscape backgrounds and architectural elements to countless compositions.
The first full-length biography of Palmer’s life and work, as well as the first illustrated, annotated catalog of her drawings and prints, including a number of works that are new to the public and to scholars, Rubinstein’s book shines a spotlight on this accomplished artist, arguing for her long overdue recognition as a pioneer in the
history of women artists.
Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein (1921–2013) was an artist, scholar, and art educator. She is the author of American Women Artists: From Early Indian Times to the Present and American Women Sculptors: A History of Women Working in Three Dimensions.
Diann Benti is a supervising librarian at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. She previously worked at the American Antiquarian Society and the Harvard University Archives.
11 x 11, 408 pages