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Image for Burning of the Inman Line Steamship CITY OF MONTREAL on Her voyage from New York to Liverpool. Aug. 10th 1887

Burning of the Inman Line Steamship CITY OF MONTREAL on Her voyage from New York to Liverpool. Aug. 10th 1887

In 1887, the steamship City of Montreal was destroyed by fire 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland on her way from New York to Liverpool.  The ship was carrying a cargo of 8,000 bales of raw cotton as well as 94 crew members and 147 passengers. Shipping the flammable cotton was a dangerous job and the ship was the 73rd to catch fire in a five-month period with such cargo. Miraculously, all passengers and crew were rescued. The eight lifeboats in which the passengers escaped can be seen in the foreground of the print.

The Inman Line, which operated from 1850 to 1893, was one of the largest British passenger shipping companies on the Atlantic Ocean. By 1870, the company landed more passengers in New York than any other firm. Inman ships provided cooked meals to those on board, most of who were immigrating to the United States. The ships typically carried 500 passengers and 80 percent of them traveled in steerage.

Date: 1887

Artists: Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives
Date of Artists: American, 1813-1888 and American, 1824-1895
Medium: Hand-colored lithograph
Measurements: 17 x 12 1/8 inches
Access Number: 2004-D03-063
Gift of Lenore B. and Sidney A. Alpert, supplemented with Museum Acquisition Funds

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