Item #7086 Merrimack River Views 1889. View of Mitchell’s Lower Falls Looking up River from the Cupola of Cheever’s Barn [and] View of the City of Haverhill from Ward Hill in Bradford.
Merrimack River Views 1889. View of Mitchell’s Lower Falls Looking up River from the Cupola of Cheever’s Barn [and] View of the City of Haverhill from Ward Hill in Bradford.

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Merrimack River Views 1889. View of Mitchell’s Lower Falls Looking up River from the Cupola of Cheever’s Barn [and] View of the City of Haverhill from Ward Hill in Bradford.

Boston: The Bufford Litho. Co., 1889. Chromolithograph, individual views, 11.75” x 18.25”; overall, 27” x 21”. Verso map, 13” x 26”, plus margins. CONDITION: Very good, a few tiny specs at margins on recto; paper pulp repairs to tears on verso, masking small portions of the image.

A rare pair of views of the Merrimack River on a single sheet with a verso map of a proposed railroad to connect Lawrence and Haverhill, Massachusetts. This attractive print was intended to promote development in the region.

The upper view, entitled View of Mitchell's Lower Falls Looking Up River From the Cupola on Cheever’s Barn, shows a steamboat, two canoes, and sailboats on the Merrimack, which is bordered on either side by trees and meadows. A horse-drawn buggy passes by in the foreground and the sun sets on the horizon. The lower view, entitled View of the City of Haverhill Looking Down River From Ward Hill in Bradford, shows numerous vessels on the river, including the steamship Kitty Boynton, which transported coal and other freight from Lawrence to Lowell. The city of Haverhill appears on the far side of the river. A key in the lower margin identifies twenty sites of interest in the lower view, including a tower, shoe and hat factories, a school, a reservoir, Haverhill Aqueduct Co., a church, Haverhill Iron Works, a coal wharf, stables, a Boston & Maine Railroad Bridge, a depot, electric cars, a steamboat landing, etc. The first site of interest listed is Bowley Farm, a parcel of open land on the outskirts of Haverhill. The text notes that factory lots are for sale there. 

The map on the verso is titled “Merrimack River Valley, Lawrence to Haverhill 1889,” and spans from Lawrence on the left to Haverhill on the right, and from North Andover at the bottom to a portion of New Hampshire at the top. Crossing through the center of the map is the proposed Haverhill & Lawrence Railroad. The text spells out the benefits of the railroad, which include the enhancement of property value; the accommodation to freighters and passengers; the development of water-generated electricity from the falls; the creation of a direct line from Lawrence and Haverhill; and more.

The Merrimack River was one of the most important sources of waterpower for New England’s early industrial cities, giving rise to Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill’s textile mills and other development along the river. The Haverhill & Lawrence Railroad, whose president was Charles Corliss of Haverhill (1827–1897), was behind the publication of this print. A year after these views and map were published, Corliss announced that he would give away twenty-five lots of land in Bradford to subscribers of the capital stock of the Haverhill & Lawrence R.R. if the railway was built within two years. However, the state government had another plan: to build a trolley line in the valley. After it was built, the Haverhill & Lawrence R.R. went out of business. Corliss and his associates also had plans to establish a new city (Buena Vista) on a hill near the river, a project that ultimately failed. 

John Henry Bufford (1810–1870) was one of the most important lithographers in mid-nineteenth century America. His firm produced city views, posters, book illustrations, sheet music covers, and prints for framing. Both Winslow Homer and Francis D’Avignon worked for Bufford in their early careers. In 1865, Bufford’s sons Frank and John Henry Jr. became partners in his company. Following their father’s death in 1870, the brothers continued operating the firm until the early 1900s at various addresses under a range of names. 

OCLC records only one copy, at Cornell University Library.

REFERENCES: Pierce, Sally and Catharina Slautterback. Boston Lithography, 1825–1880 (Boston, 1991), pp. 130–132; Haverhill Public Library. Corliss Family Papers, 1796-1875, 1897 at Haverhill Public Library online.

Item #7086

Price: $2,750.00

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