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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Napoli bookseller's postcard


This panoramic postcard from Napoli bookseller, Emil Prass, folds out to a length of 11 inches. The reverse side, when folded on the image, has one blank side for a written message and the other side formatted for an address and postage. I date it to the early 1900s, as I have found examples of Emil Prass imprints for various books published between the late 1890s and early 1900s, which establish Prass at the address on the postcard and in that time period. Those books dealt with local and regional history about places such as Naples, Pompeii, and Capri.

As the print ad in the lower corner indicates, Prass was an international bookseller, but most of the books he published, that I found, are in the English language. His book shop's address is given as Piazza dei Martiri, 59-60 and Via Chiatamone, 5.  The Wikipedia page for Piazza dei Martiri  has a photo of how it looks today (above) and Google Maps Street View (below) offers another perspective.


Researching Prass, I found indications that he succeeded another bookseller at the same location--Friedrich Furccheim, who also published local and regional histories and guides. It's curious that both Furccheim and his successor, Emil Prass, appear to have been German and selling books in various languages out of a Naples (Napoli), Italy book shop. Perhaps Prass was a family member or friend from Germany and apprenticed for Furchheim before taking over the business.

Having just visited Naples last fall, I was interested to see if any of my photos captured the same landscape coming into port. A few did and the comparisons below reveal the expected changes in the skyline more than a century later, but the topography is easily recognizable. 


 



Alas, riding around Old Napoli, none of my photos captured Piazza dei Martiri, 59-60. Perhaps another postcard depicting the old book shop awaits discovery.


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