The Last Ditch of the Chivalry, or a President in Petticoats
In addition to cartes de visite, prints were also used to disseminate political propaganda during the mid-nineteenth century. As art historian Harold Holzer has noted, “independent, bipartisan, commercially motivated publishers, not politicians, created political prints. These for-profit entrepreneurs echoed, sometimes anticipated, public taste and demand. Invariably they reflected the ebb and flow of popular opinion toward their subjects and perhaps influenced it as well.” Northerners clearly had an appetite for mocking images of the emasculated Jefferson Davis; more than thirty prints of his capture were made. Well-known printmakers Currier & Ives, who also published prints ridiculing Lincoln and mocking emancipation, made five prints.
Although Southerners created anti-Lincoln, pro-Davis, pro-Confederate, and pro-slavery prints, cartoons, and photographs before the war, production and dissemination was almost nonexistent during the four-year conflict; presses were marshaled for government purposes and printmakers and photographers, like other able-bodied white men in the South, were conscripted. Additionally, the Northern blockade cut off access to many printmaking and photographic supplies.
Purchase, with funds provided by the ICP Acquisitions Committee, 2011