James K. Polk was in the White House, and the year—it was 1847—was one of tensions and triumphs in the war with Mexico. And this was the summer that James Goodwyn Clonney, New York painter, chose to record a more timeless triumph—a Punch-proud fisherman holding up his catch of a striped bass. The Happy Moment was Clonney's name for it. Though costumes have changed in 113 years, successful anglers still wear the same look.

ILLUSTRATIONCOURTESY, MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON, M. AND. M. KAROLIK COLLECTION