Showing posts from July, 2010

Hard Awakening for the Episcopal Church in Iran

Publishers and book clubs sometimes include promotional items in a book about either the author, the book itself, or other books for sale. I collect these ephemera when I find them, particularly those of a certain vintage from the early twentieth century and before (those featured here today are much newer). It is unusual, however, to find the variety of ephemera I found in the book shown here. Tucked away in a first printing of The Hard Awakening , by H.B. Dehqani-Tafti (Seabury Press, 1981), several items of related book ephemera surfaced and entered my collection. Somebody made my job of finding bibliophemera a lot easier by including multiple items for this book and making it convenient for discovery some thirty years later. The ephemera consists of a bookplate, bookmark, and a catalog of these items as well as additional books for sale. Each item is featured separately in the images below. The book was written by the the first Iranian Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Iran durin

A bookseller's cameo appearance

Cameos are small embossed advertising graphics on postal covers, popular in the nineteenth century. They are highly collectible today with the more elaborate designs for unusual businesses reaching prices upwards of a thousand dollars, some a good bit more. Most I've seen seem to fall in the $100 to $200 range. An exception was this little booksellers & publisher's cameo I picked up for around $15. It did have a tiny tear and was on the back of the envelope. The design is pretty much a standard shield, so those factors add up (or down) to an affordable cameo. To see examples of what is also termed cameo corner card covers , click HERE for some interesting (and expensive!) designs that have sold at auction. A bookseller's cameos or anything book related is very scarce. A. Tompkins was Abel Tompkins, a Universalist bookseller and publisher in Boston. His book shop was on Cornhill, a street known as an important center for the book trades in Boston during the 1800s. Tomp

Modern East Bookshope in Baghdad, Iraq

Yes, Book shope (a spelling translation error perhaps). Modern East Bookshope, to be exact, according to this piece of postal history from Iraq. I cannot find one iota of information about this book shop (or shope) or Hassan Morad, whom I assume was the shop's proprietor. I wonder, though, if the shop might have been located on Baghdad's historic street of booksellers, Mutanabbi Street , much of which was destroyed by a car bomb on March 5, 2007. The backside of the envelope could offer some clues about the time period that the Modern East Bookshope was in business, but the cancellation date is illegible. The stamps however are a good backup to determining the year. I can't find them yet, but they appear to be 1930s or 1940s issues. The addressee on the letter, Fleming Calendar Company, appears to have been in business from the 1930s-1950s, as records available on the Internet would indicate. That's consistent with my guess on the stamps' issue date. This last para

From button chaser to bookseller

Here's a pair of Victorian trade cards that offer a bit of bookselling and printing history, with an unintended vocabulary lesson thrown in. As usual, these cards offer images that are colorful and attractive (children playing games in this case), but have nothing to do with the business they represent. Oftentimes, the bookseller would have his business particulars printed on the reverse side. With these cards, that information is printed on the illustrated side in only three lines. The reverse side is blank. Both cards were printed by Eugene Ketterlinus in Philadelphia (fine print in lower-right corner), whose building, coincidentally, was demolished in the 1960s for the U.S. Mint building (so... from print to mint). On that same site in the 1850s, a bookseller had plied his trade. Ketterlinus demolished that building and built a new structure in the 1850s, ensuring a long business history at that location from books to printing (from trade cards to money). William Patton, the boo

8,000 cards for Madame Schumann-Heink

Buckley & Curtin were printers and bookbinders in San Francisco around the turn of the last century. Other than their billhead above, I can find barely a trace that they existed. So this post is about to veer off on a tangent into unbookish waters because there's enough on the name associated with the order to keep this post going. From Buckley & Curtin's billhead slogan, I assume that printing was their mainstay, more so than bookbinding, and they aimed to please with perfection: " Perfect Printing Pleases ." I hope for their sake that their customer was perfectly pleased with the order. But then the total cost for all that was only $15. The Board of Education (San Francisco I presume) ordered 8,000 admittance cards for Madame Schumann-Heink back in December of 1913. Had the Board not liked the final product, they would have had 8,000 reasons to be angry with Buckley & Curtin. Sounds like a lot of cards and a lot of admittance to something. But admittan

The Star Spangled Banner: An Autograph Manuscript

For Independence Day in America and all the proud displays and waving of the country's star-spangled banner, here's a rare books auction catalog that features the autograph manuscript of The Defence of Fort McHenry , otherwise known as The Star-Spangled Banner , the nation's anthem that will be heard "o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave" today. This catalog sports the lengthy title: Rare Books, Autographs, Manuscripts, Drawings, Including the Autograph Manuscript of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and Many Other Properties of Outstanding Importance from Distinguished Sources . The auction was held at American Art Association - Anderson Galleries in New York City, with the sale (Sale 4073) conducted by Hiram H. Parke and Otto Bernet, who would later open their world famous Parke-Bernet Galleries. But in January of 1934, they were auctioning from the collection of the late Henry Walters the original autograph manuscript of Francis Scott Ke