More Sailing Cards, Anyone?

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Last December, I posted a genre of designed ephemera known as “Sailing Cards,” announcements of departing Yankee clipper ships sailing cargo from San Francisco around South America through Cape Horn to Boston.

The cards served as advertisements and records of the various ships, which filled harbors with hundreds of masts, and were as smartly designed as any Gilded Age artifact. I’ve found some more cards for some quirkily named vessels.

Eagle Wing: On a voyage from Boston to Bombay in 1865, she disappeared and was never heard from again.

Franklin: Named after you-know-who, who was Boston's most celebrated native.

The Italian patriot Giuseppi Garibaldi once served in the Sardinian navy where he plotted to seize the frigate on which he served.

Hornet: The ship was rounding Cape Horn when a cask of varnish exploded. The Captain and fifteen mean reached Hawaii and survived.

Huguenot: Under Captain Sylvanus Nickerson, the ship foundered and sank in the Indian Ocean.

Ocean Express: While in Liverpool in 1855, her crew mutinied and were stranded on English soil without sufficient clothes.

Sancho Panza: Her first trip was from S.F. to Foo Chow, China. Later her name was changed to Nimrod.

.For more Steven Heller, check out his book Inside the Business of Illustration—one of the many Heller titles available at