Mischief in a Cooperstown book shop

Revisiting Cooperstown (see Delos M. Wood, Cooperstown Bookseller), here is an elaborately designed trade card for another Victorian-era, Cooperstown bookseller: S.J.W. Reynolds.

The die-cut card conveys an image, rich in colorful, busy detail, appropriately in the shape of a book. The binding provides the business vitals, while the cover invokes an imaginative scene of mischievous elves at play while the owner's away (actually, he's just returned and caught them in the act). This scene also provides more opportunity for advertising some of the shop's products for sale--writing instruments, ink, periodicals, and assorted categories of books.

I can date this to the 1880s or 1890s. I have found copies of Phinney's Calendar, or Western Almanac, 1885-1886, that show Reynolds as the publisher. So add that to this bookseller's resume. Also in 1890, a sales ad in a volume of Publisher's Weekly for Reynolds' bound collection of a full run of Century Magazine and a Cooperstown map that lists Reynolds' business.

By 1902, Reynolds can be found as a County Clerk for Fulton County (home to Cooperstown), but I don't know if that means he got out of the bookselling business. The trail goes cold here.

On a related ephemera note, the lithography for this card was done by the firm Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann of New York. Dick Sheaff has their trade card on his excellent ephemera site (one of the best!) Sheaff : ephemera, a visual feast of vintage paper.


  1. This is wonderful! I have a small collection of trade cards which look like books, but this one is exceptional. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I agree it's exceptional. I have a few more also in the shape of a book, but they don't come close to this "work of art!"

  3. Hi Chuck,
    This is one of the best (if not the best) bookseller trade card I have seen. Thanks fpor posting it.

  4. Hi Chuck,

    This is the best bookseller trade card I have seen.
    Thanks for posting it.

  5. Thanks, Cary. Coming from you, as you've seen so many more than I have, that means something.


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