The Glen Cove Starch Works opened in 1855 and ten years later was the world’s largest producer of cornstarch. At its height, it processed 8,000 bushels of corn a day from nearby farms, which was then delivered by boat to New York City markets. Almost 600 employees worked there at the height, many of them Irish immigrants living in company-owned housing and shopping at the company store. With the rise of the “Gold Coast” on the North Shore as a popular site for wealthy New Yorkers to build summer estates, the farms that supplied the corn disappeared. The plant closed around 1900 and its operations moved to the Midwest. In 1906 the abandoned complex burned to the ground in a spectacular fire reportedly visible across Long Island Sound in Connecticut.
Major & Knapp was a New York lithography firm that succeeded Sarony, Major & Knapp, a New York lithography firm from 1857 to 1867, which was a partnership between Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896), Henry B. Major (1820-1887) and Joseph F. Knapp (1832-1891). Sarony was an expert craftsman and a charismatic and gifted entrepreneur. Born in Quebec, he came to New York in 1836 and made his mark working for Nathaniel Currier before joining Major to form their own business in 1846. They were joined by Knapp in 1857. Sarony was the leader, supplying ideas, finding artists and drawing most of the portraits. He withdrew from the firm in about 1867 to set up successful photographic studios in New York and Europe, where he lived for several years. Sarony, Major & Knapp was a large firm operating 40 presses by 1859. They were prolific publishers of book illustrations, prints for government reports, medical and scientific plates, theatrical portraits, music sheets, maps and views. Major & Knapp began issuing prints separately in 1864 before the dissolution of their partnership with Sarony, and continued into the 1870s, notably a series of prints of steamships for the Inman Line and a series of large Civil War scenes. In the 1880s Henry Major’s brother Richard (1825-1894) and Joseph Knapp’s son Joseph P. Knapp (1864-1951) were also associated with Major & Knapp. The elder Knapp later became president of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company; the younger Knapp founded the American Lithograph Company in 1891.
Full publication information: The Major & Knapp Eng. Mfg. & Lith. Co. 56 & 58 Park Place, N.Y.
Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified, quite colorful, with only light remaining toning and wear, including two pale vertical bands of light toning from former wood backing.
Peters, Harry T. America on Stone. U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 350-357 (Sarony, Major & Knapp).
Russell, Daniel E. “An Introduction to Glen Cove History.” pp. 67-68. Online at Glen Cove Heritage: http://www.glencoveheritage.com/legacy_site/intro.pdf (1 April 2021).
“Sarony, Major & Knapp.” American Historical Print Collectors Society. 2021. https://ahpcs.org/publisher/sarony-major-knapp/ (1 April 2021).