Print promoting Millard Fillmore for president and Andrew Donelson for vice president, 1856. Lithograph with hand coloration. Small folio. N. Currier, New York. Housed in original walnut veneer frame, refitted with archival backing and UV-filter glass. Size refers to overall dimensions.
Against ranked flags surmounted by an eagle perched on a shield, portraits of Fillmore and Donelson with names in wreaths; below, a streamer intertwined with filligree bearing the legend, THE AMERICANS CHOICE FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT FROM 1857 TO 1861; above, the legend, "THE CONSTITUTION AND THE UNION" and two rows of stars, one for each state, in semicircles; the whole enclosed by red drapery and gold fringe.
The American, or "Know-Nothing" Party sought to claim the middle ground in the 1856 election, steering clear of the Scylla and Charybdis of the slave question, and instead focusing on a platform they thought would unify the country: opposing immigration (especially from Catholic countries). It was an appealing diversion for a wide swath of the electorate, though the party would be short-lived. Fillmore and Donelson polled over 875,000 votes (out of less than 3 million cast) and captured 8 votes in the Electoral College.
One of the more elusive of Currier's "National Banner" series, this Fillmore and Donelson election print (prototype for poster) does not often come on the market, and this is arguably the best example we have seen, with strong color, bright appearance, ready to display in the period frame.