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Showing posts from October, 2009

Baltimore Printing History: "The Printing Office"

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Here’s an interesting printer’s receipt I bought recently from an Austin dealer because the word “Books” appeared in the upper, left corner of the paper. It probably refers to blank books, but I liked the look of it enough to buy it anyway. This paper predates the Civil War and given Baltimore ’s rich colonial and Revolutionary history, I thought there could be a connection to some interesting history beyond the date on the paper. I think I may have been rewarded for my reasoning. I find nothing of historical significance about the printing transaction indicated—payment received from a Mr. Francis V. Moale , an estate trustee, for 25 handbills. But the building where “The Printing Office” was headquartered is the portal for a look back into not only Baltimore ’s history, but American Revolutionary history. The Sun Iron Building , where the printer was located, was built in 1851 and was one of the first iron-frame buildings in the city and served as a model for other buildings

A Civil War veteran's letter to a bookseller

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This is about a letter about a book. A very important book to the letter writer. A few years ago, I purchased a letter written in 1922 by an old Civil War soldier--a veteran of the Confederacy living in Austin, Texas at the Home for Confederate Veterans. The envelope bears the Confederate insignia flag and address of the home. The letter was addressed to a Mr. J.J. Wolfe of Houston, whom I have presumed to be a bookseller. I wrote about this in another blog a few years back and now it seems more fitting that it be posted here, especially if my assumption about Wolfe's occupation is right. For the sake of this post, let's say I'm correct and Wolfe was a Houston bookseller in the 1920s. But even if I'm not correct, the letter is still about a book. So either way, we have a bibliophemera connection. The writer of the letter--the old Rebel vet--thought Mr. Wolfe might be able to help him momentarily escape his "prison" (he states he is an "inmate of

Books and booze

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A while back I wrote about a piece of advertising ephemera that used a bibliophile angle to sell a new 1934 Chevy: Advertising with bibliophiles . Below are more examples of Madison Avenue having tapped into the biblio vat for just the right image to sell a product. It's whisky rather than wheels this time. Kentucky Tavern evidently has a certain quality comparable to rare volumes of books. Either that or its quality is quantifiable by a metric consisting of many books. That's about it for this ad--the books are more or less a cheap prop. Plus, it looks like the two drinks are Manhattans (cherries being the clue). Any bibliophile worth his bitters could tell you that straight rye is the preferred elixir for that cocktail (even though I fudge a bit with Maker's Mark). Hudson's Bay Blended Scotch Whisky, on the other hand, used in this next ad a set of what appears to be very old and valuable books and a clever play on words with the line, The spirit that's in

Barnes & Noble and the World's Fair 1939

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The World's Fair was in New York, 1939-1940, and there were probably many companies who used that event in their advertising ephemera. Barnes & Noble was no exception. Here is a piece of ephemera that appears to have been part of a World's Fair souvenir booklet of some sort. Perforated edges and a gummed back indicate it was part of a set of stamps. Thankfully, this little item survived the separation that usually damages such items. It measures 1.5 by 2 inches. Printed on this stamp is VISIT OUR STORE in large type. In smaller type below, almost as an afterthought, is the rest of the message... While in New York for the World's Fair . Barnes & Noble already had a long history in New York by 1939. The bookseller with the slogan, America's Book Center, had its genesis in two different cities, actually, with different family booksellers. But the two families did not merge their businesses as the name might imply. The Barnes family bookselling business o

October Book Mark from Ted's Book Shop in Kansas City

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On the first day of October, here's a book mark for the new month... 1950 that is. It comes from Ted's Book Shop in Kansas City. Designed for the season, it features an open book next to a Jack O'Lantern, an apple, and a dark house with a leafless tree silhouetted in the background. You instantly think Halloween and pumpkins and haunted houses. And, of course, a good book is appropriate anywhere. If you were looking for something to read on a chilly October night in Kansas City that year, Ted had some suggestions for you. The front of the book mark lists seven titles with brief descriptions. No authors are indicated, but everybody's reading them. The flip side of the book mark displays a calendar and a list of new and recommended books--titles with authors such as Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki and Hemingway's Across the River and Into the Trees . A couple of Whodunits round at the reading recommendations. The Hemingway book, in fine condition fresh off the pres