The following biographical information has been provided by David M. Randall, the 3rd-great grandson of the artist.
Edward Otto Herline (1825-1902) was born in June 1825, at Hesse-Darmstadt. Hesse-Darmstadt, a Grady Duchy of the German Empire located along the Main and Rhine Rivers, south of Frankfurt and southeast of Mainz, in what is now Bavaria. Through much of the 19th Century, Hesse-Darmstadt was known as a center of the chemical industry.
Edward’s father, Gustaff Herline, was the owner of a large printing business at Furth, Mittelfranken, Bayern, Bavaria – just outside of Nuremberg. Gustaff Herline married Kunigunde Siebenkaes, and had five children, all of whom eventually immigrated to the United States: Edward Otto (1825-?); Kunigunde “Amelia Clara” (1828-?); Gustavus (1829-1884); Andreas Julius (1835-?); and Eleanora (1837-1906). Gustaff and Kunigunde both died in Germany, sometime prior to 1853.
Sometime during the 1840’s, Edward Herline immigrated to the United States with his brother, Gustav. The brothers initially settled at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Edward’s other siblings joined the brothers in America a few years later. On October 23, 1848, Edward took an Oath of Allegiance in New York City, and was made a naturalized citizen on July 30, 1853, in Philadelphia. Edward married Amelia Zeitz, probably at Philadelphia.
Amelia was born in 1828, probably at Nordhausen, Saxony, Germany. Amelia and her family had immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1846. Edward and Amelia had four children: Emil F. (1850-1914); Adolph (1852-1918); Edward Otto, Jr. (1955-?); and Helene Rose (1859-1940). In 1859, Edward and Amelia were residing at 481 York Avenue, in Philadelphia. Edward is likely the Edward “Harline” who is listed in the index of the 1860 Federal Census as a resident of the 15th Ward of Philadelphia. In 1870, the couple was recorded at the 14th Ward, 41st District of Philadelphia, with a personal estate valued at $2,500. In addition to their four children, residing with the couple were Amelia’s mother, Fredericka Zeitz; Edward’s four-year-old niece, Julia Shoemaker; and a 51-year-old Swedish servant named Elizabeth Kohler.
At Philadelphia, Edward Herline was a lithographer and engraver, and operated a lithography company in Philadelphia. Established as Herline and Co. during the early 1840’s, the company was originally located at 2 North 6th Street, in Philadelphia. In 1857, Edward teamed up with fellow lithographer, Daniel Hensel (1821-?). The company relocated to 630 & 632 Chestnut Street, at the corner of Chestnut and Southeast 7th Street, and became known as Herline & Hensel. (Hensel may have actually been the original “& Co.”, before earning full partnership.) Herline & Hensel is believed to have remained in operation as late as 1865, although sometime after February 1864, the company became known as Thurston, Herline & Co. The identity of Thurston is unknown. Hensel appears to have left his partnership with Edward and formed a new company called Hensel & Urwiter, located at 76 South 3rd Street. Hensel was living as late as 1898. The Herline print shops appear to have specialized in producing city views, pictures of local buildings, and portraits
Although it is hard to say whether Edward himself was an artist, since his father was a printer, it seems likely that he concentrated more on the technical end of the printing business. Instead, his company hired artists, including James T. Palmatary and E. Beauleiu, to create the actual designs for the lithographs. Peter Moran, the well-known artist, was also a Herline apprentice. The last known Herline lithograph was published in 1871, at which time the company, again called Herline & Co., was located at the northeast corner of 10th and Chestnut. To this day, Herline prints can be found at antique shows and flea markets. One such print, entitled President Lincoln and His Cabinet Reading the Emancipation Proclamation, currently hangs in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian institution, and there are at least three Herline prints in the collections of the Library of Congress. The Princeton University Library, Philadelphia Society of Pennsylvania, and the Library Company of Philadelphia are also known to possess original Herline prints.
Amelia Herline died in 1887. In 1900, Edward was residing in the household of his son-in-law, Julius Lach, at 107 Bower Street, Jersey City, New Jersey. At the time, he was listed as a glass sign maker, as were his two elder sons, Emil and Adolph, who also resided in the Lach household. Edward Herline died in 1902.