Showing posts from February, 2011

The J.K. Gill Company: Booksellers and Stationers

Here's a 1904 billhead from Oregon, a state under-represented in my collection: On the date shown, a family Bible was sold to a customer for $5. Small sales such as that belied the much greater business successes Gill had cultivated by the time this billhead received its paid stamp. Information on Gill was readily available and more than I had expected to find. I soon learned why from Gill's Wikipedia page . Gill started out in the bookselling business by marrying into it. A native from England, he had gone to Salem, Oregon in 1864 after living with his family in Massachusetts where they had emigrated. Married two years later, he began running the family's bookstore in Salem. In short order, he purchased the business, but soon sold it and headed for Portland where he entered into a new bookselling business with George A. Steel--Gill & Steel. In 1878, Gill once again became a sole proprietor when he bought out his partner, Steel, and changed the name of the business to T

Cagwin & Noteware: Carson, Nevada book dealers

When is a book dealer not a book dealer? Maybe never, as long as books are offered for sale. But diversification, which vintage ephemera confirms has long been a trademark of the bookselling business, can sometimes obscure the store's bookselling identity. Still, it's interesting to see the array of goods in various locations that got bundled with books in a store's inventory. Old billheads convey a good sampling of that business history. Examining this 1897 billhead from Cagwin & Noteware (great name!) of Carson, Nevada (Carson City, I assume), books are mentioned first in the tagline under the company's name, which makes me think of them as book dealers. And I'm assuming here that Cagwin & Noteware's core business was books and related reading and writing matter. But books quickly fade into the background as you scan across the billhead below and the impressive offering of other goods. Newspapers , a common offering in book shops, is followed by the un

Ed Sullivan, Mrs. Paul, and the Beatles

An odd grouping for a post on this blog, eh? Perhaps it deviates a bit from the usual fare, but there is a book ephemera tie-in. Mrs. Paul's Kitchens gave away copies of Michael David Harris' book, Always on Sunday: Ed Sullivan, an Inside View (Meredith Press, 1968) to promote an October 17, 1971 CBS special on the Ed Sullivan years. Sullivan's show had been off the air since June of that year. Inside the book, I found the letter from Mrs. Paul's Kitchens detailing all this, while also plugging their fish sticks and related products. I remember both the Ed Sullivan Show and eating Mrs. Paul's Fish Sticks when I was growing up in the 1960s, so this had a good bit of nostalgic appeal to me (still enjoy old Sullivan clips, don't like the fish sticks!). In addition to the letter explaining the reason for the gift book, there was a presentation bookplate affixed to the front free endpaper: Compliments of Mrs. Paul's Kitchens, Inc . Now there's a rarity for

Alfred Lorentz, bookseller of Leipzig

Last month, I wrote about a lawyer and publisher in California, in 1898, sending a letter to Leipzig, Germany in an attempt to find a bookseller in Europe for his new book (see Any bookseller in Leipzig will do ). He addressed it to Any Bookseller in Leipzig and hoped for the best. Notation on the envelope indicated he got lucky. Alfred Lorentz apparently was the bookseller who received the letter. I thought a nice companion piece to that cover would be some ephemera from Lorentz's business. I got lucky and found something less than a month later. This looks like a "home-made" postcard or ad card from 1923 (postmark date). The paper is thinner than card stock and the piece is cut a bit uneven. Still it got the job done for business communications. A rough translation of the message on the backside of the card indicates that Lorentz was selling everything from novelties to classic works of literature and the arts and sciences. He invites customers to come by and examine h