Penn Library Department of Special Collections

William Penn

Keffer Collection of Sheet Music,
ca. 1790-1895

Content and design by John Bewley

Collection History
Guide Statistics
Focus on Philadelphia
Composers Publishers Lithographers Imagesand Music
List of Topics
Related Resources

Philadelphia Lithographers: Louis N. and Max Rosenthal(1833-1918)

Five Rosenthal brothers, Max, Morris, Louis, Simon, and David, were born in Poland. Of these, all but David worked in Philadelphia as lithographers. Max Rosenthal, the youngest brother, was born November 23, 1833. In order to prevent the boys from being conscripted into the Polish army upon their thirteenth birthdays, their father, Wolf Rosenthal, sent his sons abroad. Morris was sent to Berlin to a rabbinical school, Louis and Simon to London to apprentice as lithographic printers, and Max to Paris where he studied lithography with Martin Thurwanger.

Sometime in 1849 or 1850 the brothers, without David, reunited in Philadelphia. Max Rosenthal came to the United States with Christian Schussele, Alphonse Bigot, and Martin Thurwanger. Louis N. Rosenthal entered into a brief partnership with Peter Kramer in 1850 or 1851. The Rosenthal family firm seems to have begun in 1852 when they are listed in directories as doing business at the corner of Third and Dock Streets. Louis acted as the publisher and printer and Max was the principal artist of the company. The Rosenthals, like other major lithographers in Philadelphia, experimented with chromolithography and won a prize for their work in this field at the 1851 exhibitiion at the Franklin Institute.

The Rosenthals produced a large number of lithographs depicting Civil War battle scenes and encampments. Many of these exhibit great care in the indentification of specific army units, leading to the speculation that the work may have been done on commission for sale to the soldiers or their families. Louis N. Rosenthal moved to Chicago around 1875. Max Rosenthal continued working in Philadelphia until his death on August 8, 1918.

Illustrations by the Rosenthals in the Collection

Item No.TitleImprintPlate No.IllustrationThumbnail Image
Box 28
no. 30
Little Family Polka / by E. Mack Philadelphia : Marsh, 1864 None Young woman tending a family of rabbits / Rosenthal's Lith. Little Family
Box 1
no. 71
The National Air of Yankee Doodle / arranged by Ch. K. Philadelphia : Lee & Walker, 1856 R. W. 37 Color: flags of the United States and France / L. N. Rosenthal's Lith. Yankee Doodle


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