Showing posts from February, 2009

Bibliophilately lately

My grandmother would be proud. I'm collecting stamps again. She tried to instill her love of philately in me when I was a kid and it worked for awhile. But competition with baseball, football, and other 12-year-old pursuits gradually eradicated the desire to collect and organize stamps into albums. I really had no focus either, except that I liked First Day Covers and plate blocks. Flash forward 40 years and I'm on the prowl for book-related philately. And the FDCs and plate blocks are getting my attention, as well as a growing list of other items. I've been wanting to post something about bibliophilately , a term I found while researching book-related postal history. It would be inaccurate to call topical stamps bibliophemera, but the relationship between bibliophilately and bibliophemera is close enough in my judgment to warrant a mention on this blog. And for now, postal history is a subset of my ephemera collection. As the collection grows, I'm sure I will separate

Peter Paul Book Co. & Writing Machines

This ad cover for the Peter Paul Book Company (did they sell candy bars , too?) is devoid of any attention-grabbing vignette or decoration, but it caught my eye nonetheless. In small print beneath the company's particulars are the words: "We carry a full line of Writing Machine supplies." These booksellers, stationers, printers, etc. sold supplies for writing machines , but not the actual writing machine . I assumed, correctly, they were referring to typewriters, but I wasn't completely sure. I don't recall ever having heard a typewriter referred to as a writing machine . Before my time, I guess. Researching writing machines , I found a couple of interesting links for typewriter collectors and enthusiasts: The Classic Typewriter Page: The Percy Smock Corner - Resources for the Typewriter Collector , by Richard Polt. Percy Smock was a pioneer typewriter collector. A nice bibliography here for books, in and out of print, about typewriters. Periodicals listed also. T

Tuttle & Company ad cover 1870s

Last week, a Japanese bookstore trade label got my attention and a Vermont publisher/bookseller got dragged into a brief exploration of bookstores in post-war Japan. That Vermont publisher was of the Tuttle & Company family of Rutland, Vermont. I knew I had one of these ad covers in my collection, but forgot to include it in the other post, so it gets its own spotlight in this post. Researching the 3-cent Washington on the cover, I'd date this early 1870s. Booksellers, Stationers, Printers, Publishers... What didn't they do? Flip the cover over for more. Job Printing, Blank Books, Paper Hangings, Curtains, Wrapping Paper, Paper Bags, Twine, etc., etc. What about ministers? Somebody wrote out a doomsday message on the inside of the envelope announcing that the end was near. Tuttle's message to the addressee on the envelope? More likely it was Alvah F. Sherman (A.F. on the envelope) who scripted the dire warnings. He was a druggist in Ludlow, Vermont, as well as a deale

F.F. Hansell & Bro., New Orleans 1900

But for the winds of fate that first weekend in September of 1900, the building pictured above (and below), may have crumbled and the publishing & bookselling firm of F.F. Hansell in New Orleans would not have had produced the billhead above. What if the Great Storm of 1900 that leveled Galveston on September 8, 1900--America's worst natural disaster--had caught steering currents that took it north well before a Texas landfall? Hansell's billhead, dated September 28, 1900, owes its existence to the elements of nature, whatever they were at the time: High pressure over New Orleans pushing the storm west? A weak front approaching the Texas coast, pulling the storm toward it? Whatever, this storm could just as easily have veered north with a change in conditions and destroyed New Orleans. A lot of these storms that enter the Gulf of Mexico seem to make that right turn before striking the Texas coast. We (Houston-Galveston area) got lucky last summer with Gustav. Not so lucky w

A handbill for Chrome Horse Chronicles

In recent months, I've written a few posts about old handbills that advertised books of the day. Stepping out of the antiquarian and back into the present, I have here a handbill promoting a book that was just published last year, 2008. I typically use this blog for posting about vintage ephemera related to the book trade, but this handbill is for a book that's very special to me: Chrome Horse Chronicles , by Fred O'Brien (Seaboard Press, 2008). I traveled vicariously with this author as he traversed the continental US, Alaska, and Canada on his Harley. And I listened to his stories when he returned from his journeys. I also read the drafts of his journals when he put those stories into writing from carefully recorded notes taken along each route. From Texas to the Grand Canyon, his first trip. From Texas through the eastern US into New England and beyond to Nova Scotia. Up the Mississippi River to its source in Minnesota. To the Rockies, from Colorado to Montana, and into

Abraham Lincoln's birthday
and an introduction to Newman F. McGirr

Today marks 200 years since Abraham Lincoln was born, February 12th, 1809, in Kentucky. Coincidentally, I've been to the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site , and there's nothing there original to his beginnings except for nature. The buildings at the site have been constructed to serve symbolic purposes to help visitors get a feel for what life was like for the Lincoln family there. Segueing back to bibliophemera... this post card is from bookseller Newman F. McGirr of the State House Book Shop in Philadelphia, postmarked 1917. The front side sports an image of Honest Abe, while the reverse side offers information for a customer query. As the card is not signed or initialed, I can't say for sure that I have a holographic sampling from McGirr. But I have discovered a new bookseller I want to know more about. The use of the Lincoln image is a curious symbol for a Philadelphia book shop, whose owner seems to have more in common with Benjamin Franklin than Abraha

Kondo Book Store and U.S. Propaganda in Postwar Japan

Here is my first Japanese bookstore trade label: The Kondo Book Store in the Ginza section of Tokyo. I found it in a copy of Homecoming , by Jiro Osaragi . It's been languishing for months in a backlog pile. I finally got around to looking at it and got a nice surprise in the form of some interesting history in U.S.-Japanese relations and psychological warfare following World War II. This English translation was a special reprint edition of Knopf's first English translation. Published by Charles E. Tuttle (Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo) in 1955, this edition was sold only in Japan, Korea, and Okinawa. Perhaps someday I'll have trade labels from the stores in Korea and Okinawa that also stocked this book. As the book deals with life in postwar (WWII) Japan, and the publication time frame includes post-Korean War, I can see how the book wound up on the shelves of Kondo Book Store and bookstores in Okinawa and Korea. U.S. occupation of Japan ended in 1952, so my guess is that th