Demon Rum

[George B. Cheever] / Stereotyped by J.S. Redfield, DEACON GILES' DISTILLERY. 33 Ann-Street, New York, [ca. 1835] .
Broadside, 23.5"h x 18.5"w at sheet edge, uncolored. Central woodcut surrounded by four smaller cuts, surmounting five columns of text.

Unrecorded and possibly unique example of this famous illustrated broadside that led to the author’s imprisonment for libel and spawned numerous later editions, primarily in pamphlet format.

“Cheever joined the temperance reform movement in 1833; two years later he attained national prominence with his enormously popular temperance tract, Enquire at Amos Giles’ Distillery. The essay, cast in the form of a dream, was a thinly disguised portrayal of John Stone, a well-liked Unitarian deacon in Salem [Mass.] who owned a distillery. Cheever’s neighbors were outraged by his slander: he received a public horsewhipping, was sued and convicted for libel, and was sentenced to thirty days in jail. He immediately became a cause célèbre among the nation’s temperance reformers and abolitionists… and a popular reform hero.” (American National Biography)

With five cuts, not four, this example is substantially different from other noted versions. The additional cut (hitherto unknown?) shows barrel’s of Giles’ dangerous brew, labeled “Delirium Tremens, Cholera, Murder, Epilepsy, Fever” etc. being hauled outside to a horse-drawn cart. Though undated, at least one (four-cut) version of the broadside by Redfield bear an 1835 imprint.

Not in OCLC, though OCLC #31964282 et al record several examples of the four-cut variant.


Scattered minor stains and light toning, tissue mends and reinforcements to old folds and separations, few marginal chips (including a larger one at center right)