Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sheldon and Company-19th Century Publisher

Sheldon and Company was an important New York publisher in the mid-1800's. My interest in it stems from its publication of juvenile series books. In my bibliography published in 2003 I described 23 series. In the upcoming new edition there will be 49 series noted and discussed.

The company was founded by Smith Sheldon. Initially urged by Baptist friends to publish denominational books, he moved to New York and purchased the interest of the Mr. Law in Lamport, Blakeman and Law and thus founded Sheldon, Lamport and Blakeman in 1854.

Lamport retired in 1856 and thus Sheldon, Blakeman and Company was born. In 1859 Blakeman left the firm to join Albert Mason in a new firm Blakeman and Mason. So Sheldon and Company was founded.

I am enclosing copies of two letterheads from 1859. These are quite informative since they list partners in the firm and show a partial catalogue of Sheldon'd booklist.

Some of the most popular of the Sheldon books were those series written by Jacob Abbott. The ten volume Rollo's Tour in Europe Series was published in a number of formats. In addition Abbot's Florence Stories, Harlie Series, the Rollo Books, Rollo's Story Books, and Abbott's
American Histories were all popular series published by Sheldon

Sheldon published series by other well known authors also. These included the Cottage Series by Peter Parley, Home Stories by T. S. Arthur and Jack Trowbridge's Brighthope Series.

In addition to Abbott's works, Sheldon published a couple of extremely popular travelogue juvenile series. These included the Spectacle Series by Sarah. W. Lander and Walter's Tour in the East by Daniel Eddy. The Percy Family, another travelogue series by Daniel Eddy was co-published with Graves and Young in the early 1860's


The formats of the Sheldon books went through a standard evolution. The early books were blindstamped with various cover patterns and gold gilt titles and decorations on the spines.

By the early 1870's the covers of most of the series books also had gold gilt designs and lettering. Examples are shown here.


The Sheldon series books originally could be bought individually or in boxed sets. Finding single books is not especially hard. Finding them in boxed sets is next to impossible.

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