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Showing posts from February, 2010

Going Texan Book - Promotional Photo

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Today is Go Texan Day in Houston. This annual event is ushered in with trail riders on horseback in a symbolic ride from points north, south, east, and west. These trail rides, which last from days to weeks, all converge in Houston's Memorial Park today. The trail riders and their parade through downtown Saturday, along with the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest at Reliant Park, kick off the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo , a celebration of Western heritage and culture that officially starts March 2nd and will run through March 21st. When I was a kid in elementary school, we used to get Fat Stock Day as a holiday from school. That's how big a deal it was. They don't do that these days, but many folks still dress Western for work on this day, wearing their jeans, boots, and cowboy hats. Enough of that... this is about ephemera and, accordingly, I have a piece of ephemera related to the appropriate book for the occasion, Going Texan: The Days of the Housto

Penguin Book Shop - 1920s Greenwich Village

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In 1924, an employee of the Penguin Book Shop in New York used this company post card to reply to a customer about an order. "J" informs the customer, whom he (or she) seems to know, that one of the books, Psychopathology of Everyday Life is on the way. Another book, Cowboy Songs , has been ordered. An eclectic reading list to be sure. What is not sure is the history of this book shop with the playful typeface in its logo. For some reason, I thought this would be an easy one to research. That's not proving to be the case. All the vital stats are on the card: Thirty-nine West Eighth is the address. The phone number is STUY 0693. And they're no help. But I did find a book with an interesting title that provides some sense of the backdrop against which the Penguin Book Shop operated. That book is Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America , by Jan Whitaker (St. Martins, 2002). The Bohemian lifestyle and culture flourished in Gre

Ephemera from Sunny Intervals

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A nice, second-hand bookstore find three years go introduced me to a passionate bookman and popular Dartmouth professor of literature: Herbert Faulkner West. I wrote about it then on the Archaeolibris blog (pre-Bibliophemera), and have modified that piece for its fitting inclusion on this blog. The book I found is SUNNY INTERVALS: A Bookman's Miscellanea, London / San Francisco / Hanover , by Herbert Faulkner West (Westholm Publications, 1972), signed and numbered by the author in a limited edition of 400 copies. A serendipitous find, this book also had several pieces of ephemera laid in years ago by the previous owner (to whom I am very grateful!). Among the small cache of paper was a letter from the author, as well as correspondence from the book's previous owner, relating items about the author. There were several newspaper articles about West's death (1974) and long career in education as well as a thank you note from the Howe Library in Hanover, New Hampshir

Letter from Sidney S. Rider, Providence Bookseller

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Here' an 1865 letter from the Providence, Rhode Island bookseller Sidney S. Rider, signed with the company name of Sidney S. Rider & Bro. On the surface, it looks like a short note from a bookseller to a prospective customer. But lurking among the few lines in reply to an inquiry is a good bit of history for the bibliophile. Rider wrote to a Mr. Moulton in reply to Moulton's inquiry about a book of "Drayton's Poems." Good bookseller and stickler for details (if not punctuation) that he was, Rider provided a careful description of the book: Mr. Moulton The copy of Drayton's Poems is in superb condition, folio 10 1/2 x 16 1/4 inches--large clean margins--plates in fine condition--binding old calf mottled--sound--the copy came from the library of J.H. Markland Esq the last surviving member of the celebrated Roxburghe Club--lowest price $20. Respectfully, Sidney S. Rider & Bro. This brief response offers clues for the curious bibliophi

Printer's ad cover for Valentines 1900

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Happy Valentine's Day! Here's an appropriate item for the day--an ad cover acknowledging the occasion for 1900. Robert Bell's Sons, the Alexandria, Virginia printer, apparently printed a special batch of self-addressed envelopes, creating the above ad cover for their company and one of their non-printing products--the Falcon Stub (a style of nib for a fountain pen). The company seems to have enjoyed a long tenure in Alexandria. The earliest reference I can find is 1834 from a Web page on the Alexandria Library site featuring, appropriately enough, a Valentine card (below) from the company. They also offer this brief account of the company's history: Robert Bell's Sons is listed as a printer in the 1834 Occupational Directory and located on "Green near Royal." According to the 1860 Boyd's Washington and Georgetown Directory, Robert Bell's Sons moved to 110 South Fairfax Street. It stayed at that location another 87 years listing itself as

Reading at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop

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Abraham Lincoln was born 201 years ago today. Last year, for the bicentennial observance of his birth, I wrote about an interesting post card from the State House Book Shop in Philadelphia, which curiously sported an image of Lincoln (Franklin seemed more appropriate). This year, I have a different piece that hits a little closer to home for Lincolniana. Here's a press photo from the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop in Chicago, Illinois. The back of the photo has a typed sheet of paper that appears to be dated 2-8-44. Other notation, for the record: A-37690 and Wide World. The title of the release is "Lincoln's Words Live On." Here's the press release transcribed from the typed sheet (typos and errant punctuation intact): CHICAGO, ILL.-To the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, started on Abraham Lincoln's Birthday 11 years ago by Ralph Newman come writers, ans (SIC) scholars bent on research, and everyday people of all sorts to who the great statesman is still an insp

The Orphans' Nine Commandments

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Here's a bookmark printed specially for the book, The Orphans' Nine Commandments , by William R. Holman (TCU Press, 2008). Posting it here is an appropriate follow-up to my previous post , which also involved William Holman and books--his and his wife's donation of their private collection of valuable books on the book arts. The bookmark's content offers a brief teaser for a compelling story awaiting the reader. The red notation was made by Mr. Holman to encourage comments by readers. And I would encourage anyone to read this powerful and engaging memoir and let Mr. Holman know your thoughts. I did and what follows is a modified version of that correspondence. The first chapter of The Orphans' Nine Commandments will knock the wind out of you and lay the foundation for the emotional, gut-wrenching journey a young boy (Holman) is forced to take through orphanages and foster homes during the 1930s and the Great Depression. As you recover from the shock of what h

The William and Barbara Holman Book Arts Collection

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There's a new collection of books at the University of Texas-Pan American Library (UTPA) in South Texas and a new bookplate to identify this important collection. A substantial Book Arts collection now resides in the UTPA Library, thanks to the donors of those fine books--William and Barbara Holman of Austin. The William and Barbara Holman Book Arts Collection focuses on the various aspects of the book arts, such as typography, book design, fine printing, and the influential artisans and their imprints. The Holmans (Barbara Holman is an illustrator) also designed the bookplate above for the collection, a copy of which Mr Holman sent me and permitted me to share here. William Holman has ties to the library, having served as head librarian, from 1951-1955, when it was known as Pan American College Library. In an interview with UTPA, he made the following statement about the university and the Holman Book Arts Collection: UTPA is one of the major universities in South Texas and

Publisher cover to U.S.S. Gertrude, Civil War

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As the Civil War (American) was coming to a close, a Philadelphia publisher of "Practical and Scientific Books," Henry Carey Baird, sent a letter to a soldier serving on the U.S.S. Gertrude in the Western Gulf of Mexico. U.S Army General Winfield Scott devised the Anaconda Plan , so called because the intent was to "choke off" the Southern ports from supplies and goods with a naval blockade and end the war quickly and with as little bloodshed as possible. The U.S.S. Gertrude was originally a Confederate blockade runner, a ship used to try to break through the blockade and get to port with supplies. She was captured in 1863 and converted into a Union blockade ship. After capturing a few blockade runners of her own, she was assigned to the Western Gulf Blockade Squadron, which is identified on the publisher's cover as Western Gulf B. Squadron . One of the officers on board the U.S.S. Gertrude was Acting Third Assistant Joseph H. Nesen, the recipient

Bookseller Trade Cards - Die-cut Fans

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Several weeks ago, there was a discussion introduced on the Ephemera Network about business cards. Frank DeFreitas, whose holography specialty of ephemera is found at Antiquarian Holographica , invited participants to join the group Business, Trade & Calling Cards and to share examples. I submitted the card below from Thomas W. Durston, Bookseller, of Syracuse, New York. I have found references to Durston's book shop in the 1880s, so the card dates from about that time to possibly the turn-of-the-century. This is a die-cut piece of ephemera, which means a press was used with a specialized cutting tool (die) to cut and create the fan shape from the paper used for the card. I have two more of these from the same bookseller, only in different colors: The ubiquitous bookseller symbol, the owl, is present in the design, but this one is holding or playing what looks like a mandolin. I'm not sure what that represents, nor am I sure about the fishing frog's role in re

Walt's Book Store in Spearfish

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Looks like branding time at Walt's, where there's not a bookshelf, let alone any books, in sight. Here's a curiosity of a post card, circa 1955, for Walt's Book Store in Spearfish, South Dakota. From the photo, either Walt's had a run on his inventory or this is the future home of Walt's. Gotta do something about those cattle first. Looks like the branding irons are in the fire and some of the cattle are already getting their tattoos. All cattle, no books. I don't know what this says about Walt or his book store. Maybe Walt was a rancher, ran a few head of cattle. Probably his book store stocked Western Americana, ranching and range books. Or he just liked this picture and didn't care that it had nothing to do with his books or his store. I don't blame him if that's the case. It's beautiful country. Better than looking at a building with his business name painted on it. Gives tourists something nice to send or save, as appears to be the c

Austin G. Putnam - The Liberty Tree Billhead

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Austin G. Putnam was a bookseller, stationer, and bookbinder, as well as a manufacturer of blank books, according to this 1858 billhead. He practiced his trade at 456 Washington (corner of Essex), in Boston. I had hoped to make a connection to the G.P. Putnam & Sons publishing family that got started in New York in 1838 as a bookselling concern, but no luck yet. There may not be any connection, or it may be very distant. So far as I know, there are no close ties between the two Putnams. As for Austin G. Putnam, he's proving to be an elusive historical figure, but a snapshot of his business history is contained in this billhead from February 16, 1858. On this day, he completed his transaction with Mr. Gilmore for binding what looks like a 12-volume set of a story book. I can't make out the first word in the title. It looks like he charged $4.00 for that good bit of work. Twelve volumes had to have taken some time. What I did find was a symbol of significant American h