Showing posts from August, 2011

An Allentown bookseller's cup of tea

Carrying on with the theme of the previous post (die-cut trade cards for booksellers), here is a trade card for an Allentown, Pennsylvania (nod to Antiquarian Holographica ) bookseller--Shafer's New Bible House, which sold Bibles, of course, but also a wide variety of books, as well as albums and stationery. The cup-and-saucer shape of this trade card is an interesting choice for a bookseller. I wonder why not a book, as used quite effectively by a bookseller featured in the previous post about a Cooperstown bookseller ? It may have had some metaphorical meaning to the shop owner or it may have just been eye-catching and readily available, or even one of a variety of cards used by the proprietor. Or maybe it was just his cup of tea or that of certain customers for whom he reserved this special card. Then again, most Victorian-era trade cards I've seen for booksellers and other businesses sport images that have nothing to do with the businesses they represent. Mr

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

A Nun's Reading Habit

  I have here a series of old monthly statements from various publishers and booksellers, 1906-1908, that involve book orders by a Sister Mary Ursula of St. Mary's Academy and Sacred Heart Academy ( Gray Nuns ) of Ogdensburg, New York. To say, as the title of this post suggests, that this small collection of business correspondence reflects Sister Mary Ursula's reading habit is probably inaccurate (but I couldn't resist the play on words!). However, these statements  do reflect that she did buy books and other items from, appropriately enough, Christian, Catholic,and educational publishers. Sister Mary Ursula was likely influential in the reading curriculum of her students at St. Mary's Academy, so it may have been their reading habits she was cultivating through her purchase with these companies. Of the six statements below, only one actually indicates the books ordered. From Carey-Stafford Co., Publishers, Booksellers and Importers in New York City, Sister Mar