Showing posts from June, 2011

Delos M. Wood, Cooperstown bookseller

Today, in Cooperstown, New York, the 17th Annual Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair is underway. Recently, I wrote about a Cooperstown bookseller's trade card on another blog, but had copied it from my original post on this blog from a few years back. Somewhere and somehow in the process of transferring that information, I deleted the original source from this blog. So I'll take this opportunity, on the day of the book fair in that beautiful little village, to repost the piece about the card. I have a trade card for an old bookseller who had just purchased his partner's interest in a Cooperstown book shop, circa 1880s, and sent this card around to introduce the name change from Cockett & Wood to Delos M. Wood, Bookseller and Stationer . I haven't found much of anything else to report on Mr. Wood or his business, but the card was too nice a specimen from a place I love to visit to not include it in this blog. The book trade is still going strong there a

A bookseller's battle with Wall Street

Location, location, location. The old adage for a key to a business’ success apparently came into play for bookseller W.I. Whiting in New York during the 1890s. He thought if he hitched his wagon to the wealthy Wall Streeters, he’d make a killing himself with his impressive inventory of a quarter-million books. That was not to be. Not even close. It's always fun to find a piece of ephemera for a business whose proprietor shares my surname. Even more so when the proprietor is a bookseller. And the possibility that I might be remotely related to him is intriguing. I hope so, for he appears to have been quite the character and would make an interesting addition to my genealogy. William Ivan Whiting had trouble getting his banking neighbors to come by his shop and buy books. Seems they’d rather hit the 400 bars in the area instead. His book shop near Wall Street had trouble selling two books a day to that crowd. Two sales against a quarter million books makes for a patheti

In a sea of books

Some days, this is what I feel like in my office. Not a bad thing.   This is a French postcard from Editions du Desastre titled, Le Liseur , or The Reader . The copyright date is 2008, Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis.

A bookseller's trading card

Collectible trading cards (not to be confused with business trade cards) can be traced back to the 1700s, but the heyday for such paper collectibles seems to have been the late 1800s through early 1900s. Included in that time frame is the popular cigarette card , issued with tobacco products of the day. Images on the cards could be of famous people, animals, places, or events. In addition to advertising the tobacco company, they also served a practical purpose of shoring up the flimsy packaging in which they were inserted. Among the more popular images in America for cigarette cards were those of  professional baseball players. Their collectible value has grown over the years, with one player in particular, Honus Wagner , eclipsing the million dollar mark. Across the pond in Great Britain, there is no answer to the Wagner card, but tobacco companies did issue their own cigarette cards with images of a variety of celebrities and well-known personalities in various walks of life and

Five books for Stefan Lorant

In the letter below, Stefan Lorant ordered five books in 1949 from a book store in New York. Was there anything significant about that? Before I investigated the purchase further, I wanted to know something about the buyer, Stefan Lorant. In a nutshell, Stefan Lorant (1901-1997) was a Hungarian-American author, editor, photographer, filmmaker, and pioneering photojournalist. An article about Lorant, found online at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh site refers to him as the first major editor of modern photojournalism. Michael Hallett, in the title of his biography on Lorant (Scarecrow Press, 2005), anoints him the Godfather of Photojournalism . One of the first things I learned about this native Hungarian is that about 1919, Franz Kafka helped him get a job as a violinist in a Czechoslovakian movie house at age 19. Not bad for starters.  It got even better and I became intrigued with the letter writer and what led him to this business correspondence with a bookseller i