Nathaniel Currier (Nathaniel Currier)

Nathaniel Currier

Artist.  Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, to Nathaniel and Hannah Currier. He attended public school until age fifteen, when he was apprenticed to the Boston printing firm of William and John Pendleton. The Pendletons were the first successful lithographers in the United States, lithography having only recently been invented in Europe, and Currier learned the process in their shop. The following year, Currier moved to New York City, where he was to start a new business with John Pendleton. Pendleton backed out, and the new firm became Currier & Stodart, which lasted only one year. Nathaniel married twice, the first wife Eliza Farnsworth of Boston, Nat met and married her in 1840, he and Eliza had a son named Edward West Currier. In 1843, Nat and Eliza had a daughter, Eliza West Currier, but tragedy struck in early 1847 when their young daughter died from a prolonged illness. Nat and Eliza were grief stricken, and Eliza, driven by despair, gave up on life and passed away just four months after her daughter’s death. In 1847 he married Laura Ormsbee of Vermont. In 1849, Laura delivered a son, Walter Black Currier, but fate dealt them a blow when young Walter died one year later. In 1835, Currier started his own lithographic business as an eponymous sole proprietorship. He initially engaged in standard lithographic business of printing sheet music, letterheads, handbills, etc. However, he soon took his work in a new direction, creating pictures of current events. In late 1835, he issued a print illustrating a recent fire in New York. Ruins of the Merchant’s Exchange N.Y. after the Destructive Conflagration of Decbr 16 & 17, 1835 was published by the New York Sun, just four days after the fire, and was an early example of illustrated news. In 1840, Currier began to move away from job printing and into independent print publishing. In that year, the Sun published his print Awful Conflagration of the Steam Boat ‘Lexington’ in Long Island Sound on Monday Eveg Jany 13th 1840, by Which Melancholy Occurrence Over 100 Persons Perished, another documentation of a news event, three days after the disaster; the print sold thousands of copies. In 1850 Jim Ives came to work for Currier’s firm as bookkeeper. He quickly set out to improve and modernize his new employer’s bookkeeping methods. He reorganized the firm’s sizable inventory, and used his artistic skills to streamline the firm’s production methods. By 1857, Nathaniel had become so dependent on Jims’ skills and initiative that he offered him a full partnership in the firm and appointed him general manager. The two men chose the name ‘Currier & Ives’ for the new partnership, and became close friends. Nathaniel retired from his firm in 1880, and turned the business over to his son Edward. He was 75 years old at the time of his death. (bio by: Shock)  Family links:  Parents:  Nathaniel Currier (1785 – 1821)  Hannah Currier (1787 – ____)  Spouses:  Eliza West Farnsworth Currier (1818 – 1843)*  Lura Ormsbee Currier (1824 – 1902)*  Children:  Edward West Currier (1841 – 1907)*  West Currier (1843 – 1843)*  Walter B. Currier (1849 – 1850)*  Siblings:  Lorenzo Currier (1810 – 1850)*  Nathaniel Currier (1813 – 1888)  Elizabeth Currier (1815 – ____)* *Calculated relationship


  • March, 27, 1813
  • USA


  • November, 11, 1888
  • USA


  • Green-Wood Cemetery
  • USA

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