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Monday, April 15, 2019

Emil Jeschke - German Books in Cleveland



Here's an old billhead from 1887 for Cleveland, Ohio bookseller, Emil Jeschke. He was a dealer in German books and periodicals. As stated above the graphic in the upper-left corner, he regularly imported books on every German steamer: "Books for technical and artistical use."


Speaking of "artistical," Jeschke employed a local engraving firm, Mugler Engraving Co., to create a fitting logo for his correspondence. The result, which is featured on this billhead, is a display of German books (authors Goethe and Schiller are indicated as is publisher Kosmos). Atop the stack of books is what appears to be a bust of Beethoven.

This July 1st transaction appears to be for one of the periodicals Jeschke advertised - three current year issues of "Season" (May, June, July) at 30 cents each. "Season" may be an abbreviation of a title and from the English spelling, it does not appear to be a German language periodical.

Emil's profile on the Internet some 130 years later is pretty thin. His business ended several years after this transaction took place. A notice in Publisher's Weekly from 1891 indicates a sheriff's sale was conducted to dispose of his stock of German books on January 17, 1891.



From books to baskets?

The next mention of Jeschke I can find is later that same year in an 1891 Cleveland, Ohio directory, where he is listed as a basket manufacturer by the same name at the same business address that is on his bookseller billhead.



A reference in the archives of the Cuyahoga Probate Court indicates a lawsuit against Emil Jeschke in 1891, which probably had everything to do with him closing the bookstore and liquidating his assets through the sheriff's sale. 

If nothing else, Jeschke appears to have been resilient, though transistioning from a bookstore to a basket making enterprise is a curious development to say the least. Looks like he had some competition with at least six other basket manufacturers in Cleveland. I'd bet the competition wasn't that stiff in Cleveland for selling German language books. Perhaps the market wasn't there by 1891 to sustain a bookseller with than niche. Hopefully, the basket market was.


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