Muscatine Art Center

Muscatine, IA



Minnesota from the Mississippi

In "Minnesota from the Mississippi;" 19th Century paintings, prints and drawings from the Art Center's permanent collection are on view through September 23, 2001. Starting with early maps viewers will travel the Mississippi from Itasca Lake (the source of the River) to Winona. These thirty-seven historic views provide visitors with an understanding of the River as an early source of inspiration for artists as well as an important source of trade, commerce and westward expansion. Also included are four important Currier & Ives prints depicting the story of Hiawatha, the epic poem written by Longfellow in 1855.


Text from gallery labels as seen in the exhibition:


1. THE VALLEY OF THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI., Charles Graham/Harper's Weekly, October 6, 1883, lithograph with hand coloring, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. John Stevens.

2. MAP Exhibiting ROUTES BY WHICH THE NAVIGATION of the MISSISSIPPI RIVER MAY BE CONNECTED WITH THE NAVIGATION of the LAKES., Captain T. J. Cram, 1846, lithograph with hand coloring.


4. ITASCA LAKE (SOURCE OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER), after a drawing by Captain Seth Eastman, engraver: John T. Bowen, 1851, lithograph with original hand coloring, source: Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, Vol. I by Henry R. Schoolcraft.

5. Die kleinen Wasserfalle., translation: The Little Falls (also known as Minnehaha Falls), Henry Lewis, engraver: Arnz & Co., drawing done 1846-49, chromolithograph with some hand coloring, source: published 1854-57 in Das Illustrirte Mississippithal.

Henry Lewis was born in England in 1819. At the age of 10 he emigrated to America with his father and brothers. After a few years in Boston, Lewis settled in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1836, where he was employed as a scene painter. From 1846 to 1848 he traveled up and down the Mississippi making sketches which he later developed into a panorama executed in Cincinnati, Ohio between 1848 and 1849. After exhibiting the panel in several mid-western and eastern cities in America, Lewis took it to Europe in 1850. He exhibited the panorama in Holland, England and Germany, and in 1853, settled in Dusseldorf. There, in 1854, Lewis published Das Illustrirte Mississippithal, with a descriptive text and 78 plates after his own sketches. From 1867 to 1884, Lewis served as a United States consular agent in Dusseldorf, and continued to paint until his death in 1904.

* "Minnehaha Falls, together with the Falls of St. Anthony, were two "musts" for any vacationer making what George Catlin appropriately called in his North American Indians "The Fashionable Tour." Henry Lewis was no exception; he quickly visited Minnehaha Falls and made a painting of this beauty spot which has always attracted thousands of visitors."

According to Henry Lewis:

From the Falls of St. Anthony an enormous prairie reaches out in all directions. Toward the north and the west it disappears on the distant horizon; toward the southwest it touches upon the St. Peter's [Minnesota] River and stretches for another eight miles over the bottom lands formed by the junction of the same with the Mississippi and is bordered by the hills of the St. Peter's Valley; toward the south it reaches as far as Fort Snelling which is built on the high promontory overlooking the confluence of the two rivers.
There is in this region much of interest for the naturalist, as well as for the admirer of the scenic beauty especially among the thrilling waterfalls; one of these, about two and one-half miles distant from Fort Snelling, is called 'Brown's Fall'-'Little Fall'-or also 'Calhoun's Fall'-and is of all of them by far the most interesting.

A fuller historical description of Minnehaha Falls was written by Warren Upham in his Minnesota Geographic Names, appearing as Volume 17 in the Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society.

According to Upham:

Minnehaha Falls received the name of Brown's Falls on the Fort map of 1823, in honor of Jacob Brown, major general and commander in chief of the army from 1814 until his death, February 24, 1828; but Minnehaha creek on that map, quite erroneous in its course, bears no name...
The name Minnehaha is cited by Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha," published in 1855, as used by Mrs. Mary H. Eastman in the introduction of her book, "Dakotah, or Life and Legends of the Sioux around Fort Snelling," published in 1849. She there wrote: "The scenery about Fort Snelling is rich in beauty. The Falls of St. Anthony are familiar to travelers, and to readers of Indian sketches. Between the fort and these falls are the 'Little Falls,' 40 feet in height, on a stream that empties into the Mississippi. The Indians call them Mine-hah-hah, of 'laughing waters.'"
The common Sioux word for waterfall is "haha," which they applied to the falls of St. Anthony, to Minnehaha, and in general to any waterfall or cascade. To join the words "minne," water, and "haha," a fall, seems to be a suggestion of white men, which thereafter came into use among the Indians...

6. MINNEHAHA OR BROWN'S FALLS NEAR FORT SNELLING, delineator: John Mix Stanley, engraver: Sarony, Major & Knapp Lithographers, 1860, duotone lithograph with later hand coloring, source: Stevens Report of the 47th Parallels, Vol. XII Book I

7. MIN-NE-HA-HA-FALLS., engraver: John Gemmell, c.1870, lithograph with hand coloring

8. FALLS OF ST. ANTHONY ON THE MISSISSIPPI. (with separate text), Joshua Shaw, engraver: John Hill, published 1860 by M. Carey & Son in Picturesque Views of American Scenery, Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Laurence D. Gatzke

* "The Falls of St. Anthony were named by Father Louis Hennepin (of Aco-Hennepin fame) in honor of his patron saint in 1680. In 1837 George Catlin, the colorful American Indian artist, helped popularize the Falls when he urged his fellow-Americans to make the "Fashionable Tour" to the Upper Mississippi. By 1848, when artist Henry Lewis visited the spot, the falls had become a magnet for European as well as American tourists. Steamboat captains frequently advertised excursions in newspapers under the catching title-"Ho! for the Falls of St. Anthony!" The Falls became the prime objective of the "Grand Excursion of 1854" sponsored by the Rock Island railroad to celebrate the completion of the first railroad to link the Atlantic with the Mississippi opposite Davenport.

Artist Henry Lewis declared Timothy Flint had written the best description of the Mississippi River. Flint's description of the Falls of St. Anthony, as quoted by Lewis, follows with mileage corrected by the present author-editor.

According to Henry Lewis:

Eleven hundred miles [512] below its source, and seven hundred and seventy-one [670] above St. Louis, are the Fall of St. Anthony. Here the river is about six hundred yards wide, and is precipitated over a ledge of limestone seventeen feet high. The scenery around the falls is grand and imposing and affords a fine treat to tourists, many of whom travel here every year, to witness this sublime and beautiful spot.

9. FALLS OF ST. ANTHONY., after a watercolor by Captain Seth Eastman, engraver: Christian Schuessele, publisher: Peter S. Duval, 1853, chromolithograph, source: Romance of Indian Life by Mary Eastman.

10. FALLS OF THE MISSISSIPPI, artist unknown, undated, wood engraving, source: Ladies Repository. Gift of E. Bradford Burns.

11. FALLS OF ST. ANTHONY, delineator: Captain Seth Eastman, engraver: J. C. McRae, c.1851-57, steel engraving, source: Historical Information Respecting the Indian Tribes of North America by Henry Schoolcraft, Gift of E. Bradford Burns

12. THE FALLS AND TOWN OF ST. ANTHONY, ON THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI, OVER TWO THOUSAND MILES FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO, AT THE HEAD OF NAVIGATION ON "THE GREAT FATHER OF WATERS"., Edwin Whitefield, wood engraving with hand coloring, source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 9, 1857, Gift of E. Bradford Burns.

13. VIEW OF THE FALLS OF ST. ANTHONY, ON THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI, TERRITORY OF MINNESOTA., Edwin Whitefield, lithograph, source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, May 9, 1857, Gift of E. Bradford Burns.

14. Untitled (The Packet Boat: Edward J. Gay on the Mississippi), Edwin Whitefield, correspondence letter with watercolor, c.1856, artist's note: "View on the Mississippi No. 7-distant view of St. Anthony. This view is taken from a point about 2 miles north of St. Anthony of which place it shows a portion in the distance. About midway is a small but beautiful island which adds very much to the loveliness of the scenery. There are two or three very fine building spots right here, but the land cannot be bought for less than $100 per acre. The country around is rolling, and the soil is pretty good. Groves of scrub oak abound."

15. Fort Snelling., Henry Lewis, engraver: Arnz & Co., drawings done 1846-49, chromolithograph with some original hand coloring, source: published 1854-57 in Das Illustrirte Mississippithal, Gift of Mr. & Mrs. James H. Kent.

* "The site of Fort Snelling, at the junction of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers, was purchased from the Sioux Indians by Zebulon M. Pike in 1805. Known from its founding in 1819 by various names (including Camp Coldwater and Fort St. Anthony), General Winfield Scott recommended in 1824 that the post be renamed for Colonel Josiah Snelling 'as a just compliment to the meritorious officer under whom it has been erected.'

The scene of several Indian treaties, Fort Snelling has been the training ground for many Iowa and other Midwestern soldiers in peace and war. It saw the longest service of any fort in the Upper Mississippi Valley, being in use from 1819 to 1946.

The comments of Henry Lewis on Fort Snelling are of particular interest to Iowans, because of his inclusion of the Winnebago Indian lodges in his picture, just after they had been removed from the Hawkeye State to Minnesota in 1848."

According to Henry Lewis:

Fort Snelling is located on the rocky point at the confluence of the Mississippi with the St. Peter's [Minnesota River]. This bluff consists of three different formations: the first of limestone filled with organic remains, a second of sandstone, and the third of limestone without organic remains.
Looking to the right of the Fort, we behold a continuation of the valley of the Mississippi, whilst to the left begins that of the St. Peter's. At our feet, directly in front, to the east, lies a small island, shaped like a triangle.
This Island was originally covered with timber but it is now nearly cleared so as to afford no cover to any enemy approaching the fort. At the foot of the island the two streams [Mississippi and Minnesota] fully unite and are seen flowing onward in one bed at the foot of towering heights on one side, and forest and prairie, alternating with bluff, on the other.
The one presented on this illustration representing the whole plain under the Fort covered with the lodges of the Winnebagoes, who had thus far unwillingly advanced towards their new homes, but not without a demonstration of compulsion on the part of the United States troops, was picturesque and novel in the extreme; at the same time two bands of Sioux Indians being encamped on the opposite bank of the St. Peter's

16. FORT SNELLING, MINNESOTA/CITY OF MUSCATINE, IOWA., Kilburn/W. Mull, engraver: Asa Coolidge Warren, wood cut with later hand coloring, source: Ballou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, April 4, 1855.

17. Fort Snelling Junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, John S. Conway, oil on canvas, November 1874.

18. VIEW OF MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.FROM THE EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI . NICOLLET ISLAND IN THE FOREGROUND., from photographs by Jacoby, wood cut engraving with hand coloring, 1878, source: The Daily Graphic.

19. SAINT PAUL., delineator: John Mix Stanley, engraver: Sarony, Major & Knapp, duotone lithograph, 1860, source: Stevens Report of the 47th and 49th Parellels, Vol. XII, Part 1, Gift of Virgil Norberg

* "The county seat of Ramsey County and the capital of Minnesota, St. Paul was first settled by Pierre Parrant in 1838. It received its name from a little Catholic chapel built under the direction of Father Lucian Galtier in 1841. A French missionary, Father Galtier was ordained a priest at Dubuque in 1840, settled for a time at Mendota, Minnesota, but removed to Keokuk in 1844. Four years later he revisited France, only to return to America where he took up residence in Prairie du Chien until his death in 1866. The first Minnesota newspaper, the Minnesota Pioneer, was printed at St. Paul in 1849, on the same press that printed Iowa' first paper-the Du Buque Visitor in 1836. It was not organized as a village or town until November 1, 1849."

According to Henry Lewis:

This town is beautifully situated on the bluffs on the eastern shore and was formerly the most northern settlement of white men on the Mississippi. It is some four or five miles below Fort Snelling, and there is a good road leading from this place to the Fort and the Falls of St. Anthony.

20. ST. PAUL, FROM DAYTON'S BLUFF., Alfred R. Waud, engraver: N. Orr & Co., wood engraving with later hand coloring, 1874, source: Picturesque America, by William Cullen Bryant.

21. THE MAIDEN ROCK. DER WERONA FELSEN., Henry Lewis, engraver: Arnz & Co., chromolithograph with some original hand coloring, source: published 1854-57 in Das Illustrirte Mississippithal.

* "America is said to be sprinkled with romantic bluffs from which lovesick and despondent Indian maidens are said to have thrown their bodies in despair. One of the best known is maiden Rock on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi near the head of lake Pepin. It was from this bluff, according to legend, that the Indian maiden Winona plunged to her death in preference to being married, as her parents insisted, to a brave whom she did not love. Passengers aboard steamboats were always thrilled by the unhappy story of Winona and picturesque Maiden Rock."

22. MAIDEN ROCK. MISSISSIPPI RIVER., lithographer: Currier & Ives, c.1871, lithograph with original hand coloring.

23. MAIDEN ROCK. MISSISSIPPI RIVER., lithographer: Currier & Ives, c.1871, lithograph with original hand coloring, Purchased in memory of Dr. John Klein.

24. WENONA'S LEAP. LAKE PEPIN, MISS. RIVER., after a watercolor by Captain Seth Eastman, delineator: Christian Schuessele, publisher: Peter S. Duval, 1852, chromolithograph, source: The Iris Souvenir and Illustrated for 1852.

25. LAKE PEPIN MISS. RIVER, from a painting by A.T. Bricher, engraver: R. Hinshelwood, 1872, steel engraving, source: Ladies Repository, Gift of E. Bradford Burns.

26. View of the Upper Mississippi, Joachim Ferdinand Richardt, 1865, oil on canvas.

27. LACROSSE, AND SCENERY ABOVE: Steamboat landing, Lacrosse. Scenery above Lacrofoe., Alfred R. Waud, 1874 wood engraving, source: Picturesque America.

28. The Confluence, John Page, 1980, oil on canvas, Gift of E. Bradford Burns.

* "The mouth of the Wisconsin River was of strategic importance for two centuries following the discovery of Iowa by Joliet and Marquette on June 17, 1673. Down this historic highway came Nicholas Perrot to establish Fort St. Nicholas on the present site of Prairie du Chien in 1685. Along this waterway paddled the intrepid fur-traders to exchange blankets, cloth, stroudings, guns, powder and scores of other items of use in the trade for rich cargoes of furs and pelts. Jonathan Carver followed the Wisconsin on his way to the Upper Mississippi in 1766 and Peter Pond, another Connecticut Yankee, followed in his wake seven years later. Closely linked with Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien were two military posts-Fort Winnebago at Portage, Wisconsin, and Fort Howard at Green Bay. Indian tribes, soldiers of the frontier, and pioneers, both native-born and foreign, were aware of the importance of the Wisconsin as a highway of commerce."

29. HIAWATHA'S WOOING, Louis Maurer, delineator: Hoomer, engraver: Currier Ives, 1860, lithograph with original hand coloring, Gift of Mrs. John L. (Beatrice) Klein.

The noble American epic of Longfellow, in which he pictured Hiawatha, "skilled in all the crafts of hunters," and...
"the Arrow-maker's daughter,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water,
Handsomest of all the women,"
so well appealed to the imagination of both the United States and Great Britain, indeed of all where English is spoken, that soon after its publication, in 1855, this name became known around the world, the most widely honored and loved name in Minnesota history and legends.

30. HIAWATHA'S WEDDING, Maurer, lithographer: Currier & Ives, 1858, lithograph with hand coloring, Gift of Mrs. John L. (Beatrice) Klein.

31. Upper Mississippi River, Henry Lewis, 1855, oil on canvas, Anonymous gift.

32. HIAWATHA'S DEPARTURE, lithographer: Currier & Ives, 1868, lithograph with original hand coloring. Gift of Mrs. John L. (Beatrice) Klein.

33. THE DEATH OF MINNEHAHA, lithographer: Currier & Ives, delineator: J. Cameron, 1867, chromolithograph with hand coloring, Gift of Mrs. John L. (Beatrice) Klein.

34. RIVERS of AMERICA-THE MISSISSIPPI, Wm. Mark Young, undated, lithograph, chromolithograph, Gift of E. Bradford Burns.

35. The Soaking Mountain on the Upper Mississippi, J.C. Ward, engraver: Henry Jordan, 1836, steel engraving with hand coloring, source: The New York Mirror, Gift of E. Bradford Burns.

36. LIMESTONE BLUFFS ON THE MISSISSIPPI, R.P. Mallory, 1870, pencil & pastel on brown paper, Gift of Muscatine County Museum and Fine Arts Association.

37. SCENERY OF THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI. AN INDIAN VILLAGE, lithographer: Currier & Ives, c.1866, lithograph with original hand coloring, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Laurence Gatzke.

*Reference: Mississippi River Panorama by William J. Peterson

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For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 6/2/11

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