Showing posts from December, 2008

Feline Ex Libris

Here is an interesting bookplate from 1903 that will appeal to both feline fanciers and collectors of ex libris alike. It also brings into play an early woman physician, an activist writer for the Indians, and the historic works of craftsman Gustav Stickley. All because of a cat named Darius Dunain. Found yesterday on a bookscouting trip, this bookplate is affixed in the book, Cat Stories , by H.H. (Helen Hunt Jackson), Little, Brown, and Co., Boston, 1903 (reprint from Roberts Brothers, 1879, 1881, 1884). It appears to have been a gift copy from the publisher, maybe as a review copy. The parenthetical pedigree is noted above only because I find the book about as interesting as the bookplate. I come across cat books everywhere when out scouting. The last several decades have produced a huge number of books about cats, but this is probably the oldest book about cats I've ever come across. The stories date back to the 1870s. The author, Helen Jackson, is best known for her novel, Ra

The Christmas Cove Autograph Library

This entry was crossposted from Archaeolibris because of the interesting ephemera I came across during the research--a library label from a unique library that lent autographed copies of books to its patrons. What do Maud H. Chapin and Theodore Roosevelt have in common? They were both authors, autographed one of their books, and donated their signed copies to a little library in Christmas Cove, Maine. On Christmas Day today, it seems doubly appropriate to revisit The Cowboy Christmas Ball and follow the journey of its author, Larry Chittenden, all the way from Anson, Texas to Christmas Cove, Maine, where he started a very unique library. The Poet Ranchman of Texas, as Chittenden was known, had a second home far from the panhandle plains of Texas. This unlikely place was Christmas Cove, Maine, where the Texas rancher, seemingly out of place on the Maine coast, was right at home with his library concept. He got authors to autograph their books and donate them to his little lib

A book fair in the Spanish Civil War

Even in a pile of old newsletters published about the Spanish Civil War, a book-related subject rises, like cream, to the top. It was interesting to find an article on the 1938 Barcelona Book Fair (Fiesta del Libro) among the columns about bombing, rebel offenses, and the destruction of Guernica. News of Spain was a weekly English language newsletter published by the Spanish Information Bureau in New York City. This issue was published July 6, 1938. Excerpts from the article: A book fair was held in Barcelona a fortnight ago under the direction of the Educational Department of the Catalan government. The fair ran concurrently with a special book conference held to discuss cultural, economic and pedagogical problems and the relations of the book industry to the present struggle. One feature of the fair was an exhibit depicting the history of publishing in Catalonia from 1770 to the present. Another exhibit displayed books published since July 19, 1936 to show that the war had not entire

Dutton's Books for Children
A Christmas handbill circa 1900

Just in time for Christmas, publisher E.P. Dutton circulated this handbill advertising colour books; juvenile classics; toy, model & painting books; puzzle boxes & novelties. The British spelling of "colour" indicates this piece was circulated in London. The flip side of this card features several mechanical books. I was hoping to find at least one of these books online so I could date this handbill, but no luck. However, I did search Dutton published books for children prior to 1930, keying on mechanical books. I found two books with similar titles to those listed on the handbill: What a Surprise: A Mechanical Book for Children . Verses by Lowe, Constance M. London/New York: Ernest Nister/E. P. Dutton & Co., No date (c.1898). and In and Out & Round About . London: Nister; New York: E. P. Dutton, (1895 copyright). Both sell in the $300-$350 range. Quite rare and collectible. And the London publications help confirm that the handbill, with its British spelling,

E.H. Cushing - Houston Bookseller & Printer, 1871

Here is my earliest example of ephemera related to a bookseller from my hometown of Houston. Meet E.H. Cushing, circa 1871. Edward Hopkins Cushing, of Vermont, came to Houston in the 1850s, for a bit of adventure it would seem, after graduating from Dartmouth. He wanted to teach and did at three schools in the Houston area before getting involved in the newspaper publishing business. Writing for a newspaper eventually led to part ownership of the paper and later a controlling interest in another paper, the Houston Telegraph, which he used to promote his ideas for business and education in his beloved, adopted hometown of Houston. His interest in the arts and sciences extended to Texas authors, agriculture, and horticulture. An accomplished horticulturist, Cushing is reported to have had one of the most complete collections of flowers on his estate,  Bohemia , in the United States. During the Civil War, Cushing kept his publishing business afloat, sometimes using wallpaper or w

Biblio-blog tag

I started not to answer this, as I always go for the delete key on chain letters and these kinds of things, but what the heck. In the spirit of the season upon us, I'll give a little. The Exile Bibliophile , who writes an interesting and entertaining biblio-blog, "tagged" me with the following: I am sorry, but I had to do this - it’s one of the rules You have been tagged. Here are the rules: 1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you. 2. Post the rules on your blog. 3. Write six random things about yourself. 4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them. 5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog. 6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up. First, thanks for the nice words about my blogs Archaeolibris and Bibliophemera . I somehow let four months go by on the former and the latter has fared only slightly better. Hurricanes (Gustav and Ike), sickness, vacation, and a backlog of work comprise my sling of excuses for n

Texas City Book Nook

Here's a book shop trade label from Texas City, Texas, a town best remembered for the 1947 Disaster . With the old phone number (WI exchange), perhaps this book shop was around in 1947. The label was found in a 1963 publication. I got to wondering about the telephone exchange name for WI in the phone number. I grew up while the two-letter telephone exchanges were still in effect. Our Houston number started out SUnset 2. Didn't take long to find WIlson 8 by searching the database on this site: Thought I'd throw that in for the nostalgic curious.