Thursday, August 27, 2009

Salesman Sample- Peck's Bad Boy

In the late 19th century and the early parts of the twentieth century books were sold door to door. An enterprising salesman would travel about his territory attempting to sell the latest and upcoming titles. To do this he would carry with him sample books.

The sample books generally had mock ups of several bindings, covers, pages from the books and order forms. The salesman's sample here has two covers. On the front is the cover and spine for Peck's Bad Boy Abroad published first by Thompson and Thomas in 1905. On the reverse is the cover for Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa Complete and Compendium of Fun. This latter book is an edition which contains Peck's Bad boy No.1, No.2, and Peck's Sunshine.

As can be seen on the order sheet, these books come with various bindings and costs. There is a place for the salesman to record the names of the buyers. Our salesman sold eight books in Lancaster. Perhaps Lancaster, Pennsylvania but no state is noted.

The sample book within the covers is the Abroad book. Numerous illustrations are included and the book goes to page 425 with liberal sections missing. I would estimate that there are about 75-100 pages.

Although Thompson and Thomas, a Chicago Publisher printed the actual books, the salesman's sample was published by the American Publishing House in Chicago.

There is a reference book which reviews this type of "canvassing book".
It is Canvassing Books, Sample Books, and Subscription Publishers' Ephemera 1833-1951
in the Collection of Michael Zinman by Keith Arbour. 1996

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