Item #7395 Jacob Ruppert's Knickerbocker Beer. Panoramic View of New York City and Vicinity. Jacob Ruppert Jr.

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Ruppert Jr., Jacob.

Jacob Ruppert's Knickerbocker Beer. Panoramic View of New York City and Vicinity.

New York: United States Printing & Lithography Co., 1912. Chromolithographic map, 19.75” x 27.75”, plus margins, backed on original linen and mounted on original black wooden dowels. Including the map’s original mailing tube with 5 ct. postage stamp and address label made out to Norman Chatfield of Cornwall on the Hudson, NY, from Jacob Ruppert, Brewer. Bottling Department. Third Ave, 90th to 92nd Streets, New York City. CONDITION: Very good, some creasing to upper portion, light chipping at margins; mailing tube good, moderate wear.

A scarce and very appealing promotional bird’s eye view of New York Bay, the five city boroughs, and eastern New Jersey advertising Jacob Ruppert Jr.’s Knickerbocker Beer, published by Ruppert Jr. during a period when his successful family brewery was expanding its operation.

The region depicted extends from Sandy Hook, New Jersey in the south to Yonkers in the north, and from Hicksville on Long Island in the east to Newark, New Jersey in the west. A black star identifies the location of the Knickerbocker brewery in the Yorkville section of Manhattan’s Upper East Side. New York and New Jersey’s shorelines are highly detailed, showing numerous docks and wharfs along the water, many of which are named. Also depicted are bridges, bays, parks, waterways with shipping traffic, cities, boroughs, identifed railroad routes, numerous boats and vessels populating the waters, and more. Above the map is text advertising Jacob Ruppert’s Knickerbocker Beer, for sale by “all dealers,” bottled at the brewery and also on draught.

Born in New York to German immigrants, Jacob Ruppert Jr. (1842–1939) was not only a brewer but also served as a congressman representing New York for four terms from 1899 to 1907. In 1887, Ruppert Jr. went to work in his father’s brewery (est. 1867), where he learned the business of brewing. By 1890, the Jacob Ruppert Brewery was producing over half a million barrels per year, the brewery’s main beers being Knickerbocker lager and Ruppert’s Pale Ale. Ruppert Jr. became president of the brewery upon the death of his father in 1915. In 1913—one year after this map was published—Ruppert expanded the brewery to a two million barrel capacity and at that time employed 1,000 workers. By 1916, the brewery’s annual output was one million barrels. In an article from an 1913 issue of the New York Sun that covered the expansion, Ruppert Jr. described the origins of the initial plant: 

My father, Frank Ruppert owned the Turtle Bay Brewery, so called because there was a Turtle Bay in the East River in those days. I learned the business with him in the 50’s, and in 1866 I secured the land where we now stand. It was a little brewery I started in 1867. We were out in the woods then. This section hadn’t built up then. This business has grown and grown until this new brew house was necessary.

In 1915, Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston purchased the struggling New York Highlanders baseball team, subsequently changing their name to the New York Yankees. While owner of the Yankees, Ruppert reversed the fortunes of the franchise and established it as the premier club in Major League baseball. After they brought Babe Ruth to the team in 1919, Ruppert also added Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. Ruppert bought out Huston in 1922, and opened Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in 1923; Ruppert’s beer was much promoted at the stadium. Ruppert died in 1939. The brewery—located between Second and Third Avenues and East 90th and 92nd Streets—closed in 1965.

Formed in 1891, the United States Printing and Lithograph Co. was a merger of a number of can and package label lithographers in the northeastern U.S. and became one of the 20th century’s largest label printers. The company operated until 1959.

OCLC records only four copies, two of which are held by New York institutions. 

A fine bird’s eye view of New York and vicinity produced by an important New York brewer and politician.

REFERENCES: Last, Jay. The Color Explosion: Nineteenth-Century American Lithography (Santa Ana, CA, 2005); “Jacob Ruppert Brewer, N.Y.” (2016) at Baybottles online; “Ruppert, Jacob” at Encyclopedia online.

Item #7395


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