Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Today I thought I would show some holiday book covers from various Henry Altemus publications.

Have a great holiday season!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gusky's Store and a Henry Altemus Publication

The four volume Shakespeare non series set was first published by Henry Altemus in 1891. Interestingly this set has been discovered with the Gusky Store of Pittsburgh imprint on the title page and Henry Altemus 1891 on the copyright page. With the exception of the imprint and the elegantly decorated end papers in the Altemus book, the four volume Altemus set is identical to the four volume Gusky set. It would appear that Altemus published this set for Gusky to sell in his store. Although I have seen some non-Altemus advertising in several other Altemus books, I have never seen a book that Altemus published for a department store. This is especially interesting considering that the Gusky set potentially could compete with the Altemus set. It is unclear at this time exactly what year the Gusky set was published (I assume in the early 1890’s) and what sort of deal the Gusky Store and Altemus had. Of note is that there are no books with the Gusky imprint listed for sale anywhere that I can find on the web.

J.M. Gusky (1845-1886) bought out a mercantile establishment called S. Cohen in 1882. He renamed it the Gusky Store. The Gusky Store is considered by most to be Pittsburgh’s first department store. The store occupied five stories and sold mainly a variety clothing. After Gusky’s death from pneumonia his wife owned the business and the De Wolf brothers managed it. By 1888 it had more than two million dollars in sales.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dotty Dimple Series Boxed Set

A previous post on 10/16/2009 reviewed a Lee and Shepard boxed set of the Dotty Dimple Series. The set shown at that time was dated from 1876. The box had nice illustrations and decorations on the appliques on the top and the side. The box was glued together.

Today I have an interesting contrast. Here is a boxed set of the same series. The books are all dated with the last one having 1870 on the title page. Thus this set most likely dates from that year. There are no ads from any later books. The box as compared to the box from 1876 is quite plain with appliques which just list the books. In addition the sides and bottom of the box are stitched together-not glued. This is an interesting distinction.

Although I am far from an expert on this, I wonder if a new process for making the boxes became common and cheap enough for general use during the 1870's. So the stitching was phased out

Friday, December 4, 2009

Oliver Optic Magazine Broadside 1871

I thought I would stay on the same subject as the last post. 19th century advertising broadsides from book publishers are quite unusual. Here is a wonderful example of one that advertises Oliver Optic's Magazine in 1871. This item is 25" by 20".

It probably was printed around the time of the magazine that it mentions--i.e. January of 1871. For interest I have included a picture of the January, 1871 Oliver Optic's magazine.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lee and Shepard Advertising Cover

Here is a great advertising cover on which Lee and Shepard advertised Oliver Optic's Magazine. Although the date is not noted anywhere on the envelope, Lee and Shepard was located on Franklin Street from 1874 to 1885. Since Oliver Optic's Magazine was discontinued in 1875, this cover is from 1874 or 1875.

Oliver Optic (William T. Adams) was a prolific author of children's/juvenile books in the second half of the 19th century. In addition to his books he also was associated with children's periodicals. He edited Student and SchoolMate starting in the 1858 and later in 1867 he became the editor of Oliver Optic's Magazine.