Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lothrop Publishing Company Advertising

I have seen two advertising pieces over the years that have a number of book covers attached together. One pictured here has the covers of 5 books published by the Lothrop Publishing Company. As I have noted before D. Lothrop Company was succeeded by the Lothrop Publishing Company in 1895. In 1905 the bankrupt Lothrop Company was merged with Lee and Shepard. Thus these covers date between 1895 and 1904.

During this period of time Lothrop Publishing Company published numerous books of this ilk. That is, large books of fairy tales and simple stories for youngsters with illuminated board covers.

It is unclear to me whether these joined covers were used by salesman or were used by stores as promotional pieces in their advertising.

The other cover piece similar to this I have seen was published by Henry Altemus Company. It included three books from the first edition of the Wee Books for Wee Folks. These books were published for only a short time in 1904. This piece is different from the Lothrop covers as there are no pictures included on the reverse side. That item is shown below.

This type of advertising ephemera is quite scarce.


  1. I saw some items like this before which were characterized as a "salesman dummy" for the My Book House set from the 1920s. I think it highly likely that these were used by the traveling sales force to convince stores to buy the books.

    James Keeline

  2. To follow up on my previous comment, I have spotted this blog entry posted today:

    It gives background on the traveling book agents who tried to sell prospective books door to door.

    Often publishing partners like Alexander Grosset & George Dunlap had one man manage the publishing office and another traveling to booksellers to get them to take orders for their prospective books.

    For either group a sample volume or a prospectus with sample covers would be helpful.

    There is a Stratemeyer Alger completion called The Young Book Agent which describes the adventures of the door-to-door type of agent. There are also a number of books about "book agents" in Google Books. Some are autobiographies of people who were briefly led into this "profession."

    James Keeline