Lithograph Poster. "Yankee Doodle, or The Spirit of 1776." Ca. 1876. American Lithograph Co., NY. Copyright 1876 by J.F. Ryder, Cleveland, O. 24.5" by 17.5"
This is an excellent poster. Originally painted by Archibald Willard in 1875 for the Centennial Exposition of 1876, the work was first known as "Yankee Doodle" but later also became known as "The Spirit of 1776" as J.F. Ryder of Cleveland, Ohio published the now famous chromolithograph. This present poster is a very early one published by the American Lithograph Company of New York. The poster is not dated, but on the verso there are clues. This poster was actually part of a marketing ploy by B. T. Babbit (1809 -- 1889) -- a soap powder seller from the mid to late 1800s. It is said that his marketing methods rivaled that of Barnum at the time. The poster is mounted on linen, but the linen is thin enough to read the verso:
"We have a large variety of pictures which we give away in return for 25 Trade Marks cut from our 'Best' Soap wrappers and a 2 cent stamp: or 10 trade marks cut from our "1776" Soap Powder Wrappers and a 2 cent stamp. Write your name and address plainly and don't forget to enclose trade marks and stamp. Address B. T. Babbitt, 82 Washington Street, New York."
So the poster was produced around 1876 when Babbitt was selling a special "1776" powder to mark the centennial year and trying to capitalize on the centennial spirit in America during this time. This is a very rare poster, and the overall condition is good as well. Flaws are shown in photos and mostly take the form of som edge/corner creases, some fraying at the right edge, a few very minor wrinkles and scratches.
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