Decorative Old Colony Line broadside promoting travel to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket

Geo[rge] H. Ellis, Printer, 101 Milk St. Boston, OLD COLONY LINE VIA NEW BEDFORD AND WOODS HOLL [sic], TO OAK BLUFFS MARTHA’S VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET THE FAMOUS SEASIDE RESORTS OF AMERICA. Boston, June 30, 1879.
Large broadside printed in blue and red on heavy stock, 26 ¼”h x 16”w at neat line plus generous margins. Folded in half at one point. Minor soiling and toning, some chipping along lower edge, minor mends and reinforcements on verso. About very good, and will frame beautifully.
$3,500

A large, decorative and extremely rare broadside touting Old Colony Line service to and from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket during the summer of 1879.

The Old Colony Line was operated by the Old Colony Railroad, established in 1844 to develop service between Boston and Plymouth. Through mergers and acquisitions the Railroad grew to dominate southeastern Massachusetts, gaining impetus from the development of Boston’s suburbs, a steamboat link to New York via Fall River, and finally the explosion of tourist travel to Cape Cod and the Islands. In or around 1872 the Railroad inaugurated the Old Colony Line, with rail service to New Bedford and Woods Hole followed by transfer to steamer for those continuing on to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. In 1893 the Old Colony system was acquired in 1893 by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. Many of its lines remain in use today, and the Old Colony name survives in the Old Colony and Newport Railway, though the ferries to the island are now operated by the Steamship Authority.

This broadside was published in June 1879 to promote summer service by rail to New Bedford and “Woods Holl”, from thence connecting with Oak Bluffs and Nantucket via steamer. From Oak Bluffs travelers could use the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad (opened 1874) to connect with Edgartown and Katama. The broadside is illustrated by a wood-engraved map of southern New England highlighting the Old Colony rail network, its routes shown by heavy lines, connecting rail lines indicated by thinner lines, and steamship routes to New York, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Flanking this on both sides are detailed schedules for the Old Colony’s rail and steamer services.

The Old Colony Railroad published many such promotional broadsides, the snazziest ones making similarly good use of colored printing, varied headline type, and maps and other illustrations. See here, here and here for other examples I’ve handled over the years.

The broadside’s considerable size, the two-color printing, the variety of headline type, the map, and the ornamental border all combine to make this a wonderful display piece.

References
Not in OCLC, and a Google search yields no other examples.