Capsized boat in left background, rowboat in left foreground on land. Seated Robinson Crusoe in shack right with animals in and out of shack.
Child-rearing was viewed as one of the most important responsibilities of a 19th century woman and Currier & Ives produced a number of lithographs that were considered appropriate and educational for young people. “Robinson Crusoe and His Pets” was one such desirable image and proved to be such a favorite with children that the firm produced several versions of the original design. The print, based on the popular novel by Daniel Defoe, shows Crusoe, after he has been washed up on the island, with his few supplies, the house that he has built and his wrecked ship. The numerous animals that Crusoe domesticated, and who provided him with company, are also shown in the image. The story promoted self-sufficiency, independence and moral fortitude, all traits that parents wanted to instill in their children.