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Showing posts from November, 2010

The Pilgrim Bookshop in Brooklyn

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As the Thanksgiving Day holiday is upon us in America, where celebratory gatherings and dinners take place in honor of the pilgrims' first Thanksgiving feast, here's a (tenuous at best) pilgrim-themed piece of book trade ephemera for the occasion. Well, this was as close as I could get to something Thanksgiving related--a blotter for a book shop with the name "Pilgrim." Were it located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, it would add a degree more of appropriateness. However, this book shop appears to be in Brooklyn, according to the dealer who sold me the card, as well as a google map search on the address . Brooklyn is the only place I've been able to locate an intersection with the two street names indicated on the blotter. Locating any other details about this book shop has hit a dead end. These pilgrims seem to have vanished without a trace. All I have is what's on this roughly 3-by-6-inch blotter, which dates about 1930s. October 2nd was the grand opening

Ad Cover for S.H. Zahm, Bookseller

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Here's an ad cover from 1890 for a Lancster, Pennsylvnia bookseller who used a little creativity with the advertising on the envelope. Most ad covers, or postal covers, contain a standard return address in the upper left corner that includes the essential business information of name and address ( example ). Some add a logo or cameo ( example ) to catch attention. Some add to these things information about their business or inventory ( example ). And some have stretched their creativity to include illustration of the cover's front, back, or both ( example ). S.H. Zahm combined some of the above with a twist that is an effective eye-catching design. He chose to use a triangular shape in the lower-left portion of the cover to disseminate business information down to the point of the lower-left corner. It's finished with a decorative border. Zahm lived from 1840 to 1892, a short 52 years by today's standards. He appears to have been an accomplished bookman and antiqu

Libreria Cervantes: Ricardo Veloso's Havana bookstore

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The two ornately designed bank drafts below, with what appears to be revenue stamps, were drawn on the account of a prominent Cuban bookseller, Ricardo Veloso, in Havana in 1920 and 1921. Each paper is approximately 5 X 9.5 inches (12.5 X 24 cm). From the book, Havana Deco , by Alejandro G. Alonso, Pedro Contreras, and Martino Fagiuoli (W.W. Norton & Company, 2007), I gleaned a few facts about Veloso and his Libreria Cervantes. Ricardo Veloso's full name was Ricardo Veloso Guerra and he founded Libreria Cervantes in 1910. Eventually boasting the largest inventory of books in Havana, Libreria Cervantes also distinguished itself as the first bookstore in the city to sell books on credit. Veloso (Guerra is dropped in most references) also edited and published books for Cervantes. In 1926, Veloso merged his company with Cultural S.A. and they expanded their business in Cuba as well as abroad. In the process, they assumed a prominent role in Havana's literary and cultural ci

Medical books for sale, 1884-85

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In a medical/surgical state of mind lately, thanks to recent orthopedic surgery, I browsed my bibliophemera collection and found a related catalog from a 19th-century bookseller to share. Further, the bookseller shares my name, albeit with a different middle initial. Charles H. Whiting, Bookseller, of Boston (successor to Hall & Whiting, Booksellers & Stationers), offers in the 1884-85 season Catalogue No. 3: A Classified List of Medical, Surgical, Dental, Pharmaceutical, Chemical and Scientific Books . The space beneath the title was left blank for the bookseller's stamp, which led me to believe Whiting was an agent for a medical book publisher. If so, the publisher's name is nowhere to be found in this catalogue. This compact little catalogue measures 3 by 5.5 inches (8 by 14 cm) and has 27 pages of book listings with prices. Following page 27 are several pages, including the back cover pictured above, of ads for books and student manuals. Curious about how wel

Travelling Bookshop in Freetown

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It's been awhile since a bookmobile rolled though this blog, but here comes one now--the C.M.S. Travelling Bookshop from Freetown, Sierra Leone in West Africa. C.M.S. stands for Church Missionary Society , founded in London in 1799. They didn't take long to get to Sierra Leone, just five years later in 1804 with their first overseas mission work. I don't know when the book shop got started, nor when they put their books on wheels to reach more folks, but this postcard appears to depict an early 1960s bookmobile. A note on the back indicates the pictured vehicle has been replaced. And, from scouring the Web, there appears to be a network of CMS book shops across the many countries where the Society is active. Perhaps there is no need, or maybe no budget, for CMS bookmobiles today, but judging by the crowd gathering in the postcard image, there definitely was a need some fifty years ago.

The Booksellers' League of New York

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An early booksellers' association in America was The Booksellers' League of New York, founded in 1895. Princeton University Library has a collection of related ephemera in their Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Manuscripts Division. I have one item in my collection, a copy of which may also exist in those archives: An announcement for the 1936 Annual Dinner and Dance of the Booksellers' League at the Aldine Club. Thomas Wolf was a featured speaker at the dinner that evening, which gives perspective to the level of quality and character of the organization. As my surgically-repaired (last week) right arm is currently useless, and left-handed typing is s-l-o-w, I'll just include here a couple of Booksellers' League history excerpts from two reliable sources. The Princeton Library site offers the following history of the league in support of its collection: Founded in 1895, the Booksellers' League of New York was an organization aimed at

The Holman Exhibit: Printing Art in Texas

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Fairly fresh off the press is my latest piece of book-related ephemera--an announcement for the opening of the exhibit: Printing Art in Texas: The William and Barbara Holman Collection of Design and Fine Printing . The exhibit will run from November 5th to December 31st, 2010 at the Cushing Memorial Library at Texas A&M University and will feature the works of Bill and Barbara Holman, including books, broadsides, proofs and printing blocks, and correspondence covering a sixty-year collaboration in fine printing and the book arts. One of the books I'm guessing will be featured is a copy of the one below, which I used as a backdrop for the announcement card photos above. It's titled Library Publications , written by William R. Holman, with a Foreword by Lawrence Clark Powell. Barbara Holman designed the book and it was published by Roger Beacham (the Holman imprint), in 1965. It's a beautiful example of their collaborative, creative work that will be on display at C