Sunday, February 24, 2008

Trans Continental Poster Question

From: "Howard Banks"

There's a famous poster printed by Horton & Leonard that's headed: 1869 May 10 1869 / Great Event. I'd like to learn more about that poster. Can you tell me when it was printed? I assume it was a decade or so after the transcontinental railroad was completed.

—Howard Banks



Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Horton & Leonard also published:

Hart, Alfred A., THE TRAVELER'S OWN BOOK ... A Souvenir of overland travel, via the great and attractive route, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy R.R. to Burlington. Union Pacific Railroad to Ogden. Central Pacific Railroad to Sacramento. Western Pacific Railroad to San Francisco ... Chicago, Horton & Leonard, 1870.

2/24/2008 11:37 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From the New York Times obituary of Charles E. Leonard entitled, Lillian Russell's Father:

" ... he moved to Chicago and formed the partnership of Horton & Leonard, printers and publishers. The store of Horton & Leonard was burned out by the [October 9, 1871] Chicago fire, and soon after the firm dissolved."

So this contradicts the notion that the poster was printed a "decade later" and also likely explains why Alfred Hart's guidebook, The Traveler's Own Book is so rare.

2/24/2008 12:12 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Daughter, actress Lillian Russell.

2/24/2008 12:41 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: Howard Banks

Thanks for the quick response. I'm on vacation and came across the poster for sale in an antique shop about 50 miles from where I am staying. It's in an oversized frame.... like 50% bigger than the poster... as if a frame for a mirror was used to find something long enough for the poster. The asking price was $250. Would it be worth that much if original? Any way to tell an original from a reprint?

2/24/2008 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An original would be extremely valuable. While we can't provide appraisals, unless the frame is worth more than $225, the item is likely vastly overpriced. Only one copy of the above poster is known to survive – in the UPRR Museum collection. There are lots of inexpensive reproductions. The original is torn, so if the one you are examining is untorn but pictures tears that match the UPRR's original, it is certainly a reproduction. Another thing to look for is evidence of modern printing, such a visible halftone dot pattern seen with a loupe or microscope. Since we haven't seen the item you found, if it matters to you it is imperative that you hire an expert professional appraiser and not rely upon amateur guesswork.

2/24/2008 5:27 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Chris Graves"

Mr. Leonard answered the 1870 Census thus:
Living in Chicago, age 41, printer, born in New York, his daughter, Lillian, was 9.

Hope that helps.


2/25/2008 11:15 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Howard Banks"

You have a great website & messaging program! I applaud your quick and professional responses. I appreciate everyone's help and feel certain the poster is a repro with a very poor framing job.


2/25/2008 11:20 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Reproductions of this poster used to be sold at the California State Railroad Museum. Don't know of anyone selling an inexpensive reproduction of this poster at present, but if you keep checking eBay, one will almost certainly turn up.

2/25/2008 11:44 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


The interesting thing about that May 10, 1869 poster is that an 1868 near exact duplicate of the poster hangs in the Union Pacific Railroad Museum in Council Bluffs, but it celebrates the opening of the UP line to Julesburg, Colorado. The Elk head, the scenery and wording of the Great Platte Route are identical as the May 10, 1869 poster. So, the Julesburg poster suggests that the May 10, 1869 poster format was actually done possibly a year before the transcontinental line's completion.


Bob Spude – Historian – Cultural Resources Management – National Park Service – Intermountain Region – 505.988.6770 Voice – 505.988.6876 Fax

The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.

2/26/2008 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you tell me when the reproductions that show the tears in the picture were made? My poster measures 15 x 35 1/2 inches and is in a very old wood frame. The poster is faded - not at all as brightly colored as those from the 1960's. Thank you!

5/31/2015 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, reproduction posters were being sold at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento in the 1980's.

Fading of colors may be a result of conditions of storage such as exposure to sunlight, other intense lighting, or ultraviolet, more than just an indication of age.

5/31/2015 4:19 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I know that there are many reprints of the may 10 1869 great event poster and the one in the museum is also a reprint so nobodys gonna believe i in fact have a original poster framed i had it looked over for authentication and it in fact met all the guidelines. Can somebody please respond so i can send a picture and tell me how i can get it to the museum where it belongs thank you

11/26/2017 8:02 AM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks. Please e-mail a picture of the original poster to
Much appreciated.

11/26/2017 10:54 AM  

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