Porters Carrying Coffee, Brazil, 1853

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Image Reference

Harper's New Monthly Magazine (1853), vol. 7, p. 729. (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)

In the accompanying article, Thomas Ewbank writes: "Every gang of coffee-carriers has a leader who commonly shakes a rattle, to the music of which his associates behind him chant. The load, weighing 160 lbs., rests on the head and shoulders . . . . . The average life of a coffee-carrier does not exceed ten years. In that time the work ruptures and kills them . . . . " (p. 728). A reversed and somewhat modified version of this engraving is published in Daniel P. Kidder, Brazil and the Brazilians (New York and Philadelphia, 1857, p. 29; also later editions) who also describes the coffee-carriers he witnessed in Rio in 1857.