Vincennes State Historic Sites

Vincennes State Historic Sites: 1 W. Harrison St. Vincennes, IN 47591.

The ‘Elihu Stout Print Shop’: Original Ramage press.

Philip Gaskell (1970, p 31, USA15): ‘Built by Ramage, c. 1810. The property of John Wanamaker.’

The Indianapolis Star (October 14, 1947. p 14): “The Wanamaker store bought the press for Reid to use in his paintings and now will give it to Vincennes.”

Website: “The Elihu Stout Print Shop is a replica of the building where the first newspaper, the Indiana Gazette was published (1804) featuring an authentic Ramage press of the era.”

Website: “Elihu Stout’s Print Shop represents the power of communication in westward expansion. As the country expanded westward, the distribution of information was crucial to the formation of states. In 1804, Gov. William Henry Harrison brought Elihu Stout to Vincennes to print the laws of the Indiana territory. Stout also printed the laws the legislature enacted to govern the new Louisiana Purchase lands. In July 1804, Stout started the Indiana Gazette, the first newspaper in Indiana, which ran for 41 years. Previously, Stout had been a journeyman printer with the Kentucky Gazette in Lexington, KY.”

Website: A newspaper article states: “The press which Mr. Lincoln saw when his family stopped in Vincennes for repairs to their wagons was later destroyed by Confederate soldiers. Commissioned by an Indiana historical society to paint the Lincoln visit to the shop of the Vincennes Western Sun, Mr. Reid began a nation-wide search for a printing press like the one destroyed. His search ended in Reading, Pa., in a printing shop of Edward Smith. Mr. Smith’s press, which also will go to Vincennes for a Lincoln shrine, was one of the first presses made in this country by Adam Ramage, a Scotsman.”

Note about photo 2: Website: “Above the fireplace is a painting of Elihu Stout showing the printing press to a young Abraham Lincoln, done at the same time.” The painting is by Albert Reid, “The Meeting of the Two Great Emancipators”. The painting was made in 1947, based on a sketch made in 1921. It depicts Abraham Lincoln’s March 1830 visit to the print shop of Elihu Stout. The painting is now in storage. The odd thing is that the composition of the sketch and the painting is the same, but the printing press is very different.

Jim Steinhart took several photographs in 2011  that can be seen on his website: 1, 2, 3.