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William and Susan
Young couple arm in arm. She to left, he to right holding hat. Both looking out at viewer. Black and white image. From the Inventory Listing of Sidney A. Alpert "William and Susan/ (Vig.) N. Currier - S "
This charming print of a couple is typical of the courting scenes Currier & Ives produced for display in the home. The young man is an early and rare image of a sailor and he displays a faint tattoo of an anchor on his arm, a symbol that he has sailed in the Atlantic Ocean.
The history of sailors and tattoos can be traced to the 1700s when Captain Cook and his crew, impressed with the tattoos worn by people of the South Pacific, decided to get their own tattoos as souvenirs of their visit. From then on, sailors often tattooed their bodies to commemorate passage through geographic areas (such as the Atlantic and the equator) and as good luck charms to protect their travels.
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