L. Sunderland and Company trade cards

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When U.S. Navy commodore Matthew C. Perry sailed to Japan in 1853 and trade routes were opened between Japan and the United States, Americans were introduced to a new iconography from the East. Japanese designs began to find their way into all sorts of American objects.

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William L. Sunderland’s lithographic printing company in Providence R.I. was producing “all kinds of lithograph work at short notice and upon the most favorable terms,” when the craze for Japanesme hit the east coast. The firm (known as L. Sunderland Co.) quickly designed and printed a series of trade cards incorporating various Japanese themes.

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Among the businesses that purchased these eye-catching feats of artistic printing were Sapanule, makers of the celebrated Glycerine Lotion (said to cure rheumatism, neuralgia, pneumonia, diphtheria, sore throats and more); Dr. J.F. Brogan, “Operative Dentist” at 305 Fulton Street, Brooklyn; Summit Mineral Springs Water; and Harry Harper, a paper dealer and stationer at 60 Fulton Street, Brooklyn.

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Nine trade cards printed by L. Sunderland, Providence Rhode Island, 1870s-1880s. Chromolithography. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2012- in process

1 Comment

So these are essentially old-school business cards. You mention the Japanese style sneaking into American cards - it looks more like English words on Japanese cards. They're predominately Japanese!