Item #5239 Bird’s Eye View of the City of Portland Maine, 1876. Joseph Warner, artist.

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Warner, Joseph, artist.

Bird’s Eye View of the City of Portland Maine, 1876.

Madison, Wisconsin: J. J. Stoner, Publisher; Chas. Shober & Co Prop’s Chicago Litho’g Co., 1876. Tinted lithograph, 34.125 x 21.875” plus margins.

A large and quite impressive bird’s eye view of Portland, Maine, as it appeared after a decade of rebuilding, following the great fire of 1866.

This fine, richly detailed view of Portland depicts the city—viewed from an elevated eastern vantage point—as a lively, prosperous place, with a busy harbor, an active waterfront crowded with wharves and ships, numerous factories with smoke spilling out of their smokestacks, trains coming and going, and many fine commercial, public, and private buildings. A key in the title margin identifies some 118 buildings and wharves, many of them along the waterfront, including the Eagle Sugar Refining Company, Portland Star Match Co. Works, the Grand Trunk Rail Road Depot, Portland Co.’s Machine Shops, and others. The Portland & Ogdensburg Rail Road and the Maine Central Rail Road serve the western end of the waterfront, while the Grand Trunk Rail Road and the Portland & Rochester Rail Road serve the eastern end. Beyond the city proper, the Back Cove and other more sparsely developed areas can be seen against a distant mountainous backdrop. The railroads stretch across this landscape, disappearing into the distance.

Bird’s eye view publisher Joseph John Stoner (1829–1917), a native of Highspire, Pennsylvania, was apprenticed to a chair-ornamenter in Harrisburg, before migrating to Cincinnati, where he worked as a map and book agent in the 1860s. By 1865 Stoner had resettled in Madison Wisconsin, eventually becoming a sales agent for city view artist Albert Ruger, with whom he formed a partnership, Ruger & Stoner, in 1869. Stoner worked both in partnership with Ruger and independently into the 1890s, publishing at least 314 views with his imprint on them, and likely a good many lacking his imprint as well, making him one of the most prolific town and city view publishers of the 19th century.

Charles Shober (ca 1920-1906) was born in Germany, immigrated to America, and is known to have been working as a lithographer with Charles Reen in Philadelphia by 1856. The two moved to Chicago in 1857 and established the firm of Reen & Shober, but soon thereafter Shober entered into partnership with August Roth. The company, operating as Charles Shober and later Charles Shober & Co., produced some of the finest lithography in Chicago, specializing in advertising posters and sheet-music covers until their building was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Afterwards, Shober and Edward Carqueville assumed management of the rebuilt Chicago Lithographic Company, operating as Chicago Lithographing Company, Shober & Company, Proprietors until 1877, when the firm became known as Shober & Carqueville. Specializing in advertising posters and trade cards, the company also became one of the leading producers of circus and theatrical posters in the country and was the largest lithographic firm in Chicago for the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

A splendid view of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “City by the Sea.”

CONDITION: Very good.

REFERENCES: Reps 1238; Podmaniczky, Christine B. and Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. Through a Bird’s Eye: Nineteenth Century Views of Maine (Rockland, ME, 1981), p. 41.

Item #5239

Price: $5,500.00

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