Ives was raised in NYC, his father was superintendent of Bellevue Hospital, and Ives, frequented the art galleries, and Astor Library. Ives was a self taught artist, and though his formal education ended at age 12, he excelled at art and business.
In 1852, Ives was hired by his wife's Brother-in-law's brother, Nathaniel Currier, as bookkeeper for Currier's firm, N. Currier, Lithographer. In 1857, Currier offered Ives a full partnership, and made Ives general manager.
Ives died in 1895, in Rye, NY, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetary in Brooklyn, NY.
Currier and Ives continued to be managed by the two men's sons until the firm was liquidated in 1907. The prints produced by the firm, continue to be sought after by collectors.