Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Youth's Companion Happy New Year

With the New Year upon us I thought these cards were appropriate ones for this week.

The Youth's Companion was an extremely popular magazine for juveniles. It was published in Boston by The Perry Mason Company from 1827 to 1929 when it was absorbed by The American Boy. ( Apparently this company's name is the origin of the Perry Mason name used by Erle Stanley Gardner in his books).

So let these cards wish anyone who glances at this site a happy New Year.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

D. Lothrop and Co. Trade Card

Here is another piece of ephemera from the Lothrop book publishing firm. Perfect for this time of the year, it is a Christmas card which advertises a book sale.

Many of the book publishers of this era also sold books to make ends meet. With this card Lothrop announces that it will no longer be in the retail business.

D. Lothrop & co. was at the Franklin Street (on the corner of Franklin and Hawley) address between 1875 and 1887. Prior to that Lothrop was on Cornhill Street. Although I cannot be certain, I believe this card dates from 1886. That is the year when Lothrop advertisements changed from "Publishers and Booksellers" to say only " Publishers".

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lothrop and Co. Pioneer Postcard 1885

Here is a pioneer postcard from 1885. D. Lothrop & Co. has been reviewed in this blog previously. Throughout several name iterations it was a major publisher from 1868 to 1904.

To give you some idea of the output of this publisher appreciate that I have so far discovered more than 300 children's/ juvenile book series that it published. In the revision of my 19th century children's/ juvenile series book this dwarfs the output of any other publisher.

The card shown here is a great piece of book publisher ephemera. Pioneer postcards are those that were produced prior to July 1, 1898. The card shown here is dated October 28, 1885 and postmarked the same day.

On the reverse side of the card you can see advertisements at the top for Lothrop's children's magazines. But the fascinating thing about this card is the that the addressee is the B. Westermann Co. and the subject is about the binding of a book.

Westermann was a foreign bookseller and importer. I am assuming that the book mentioned by Lothrop on the card is "Alaska, Its Southern Coast and Sitkan Archipelago" by E. Ruhamah Scidmore, 1885. It would seem that Lothrop was going to sell this title through an arrangement with Westermann. The details of the business arrangement are unknown to me but this postcard does make clear that there was a relationship between the two companies

A very interesting card.

Friday, November 12, 2010

1868-69 Boxed set of The Robin Redbreast Series by Leslie

Here is a great boxed set of the Robin Redbreast Series which was published in 1868-1869. This set of six books was published by Woolworth, Ainsworth and Company and co-published with A. S. Barnes

Dating this boxed set can be done with relative ease. The Crosby and Ainsworth publishing house was succeeded by Woolworth, Ainsworth & Company in 1868.

By 1870 the Boston address for this publisher had changed to 32 Bromfield Street. Since the address noted on the box is 117 Washington Street in Boston , we know the boxed set was published in 1868 or 1869.

In 1871 the company closed its Boston office and was publishing with a New York and a Chicago address.

Not all is clear in terms of books of this series however. Although the title on the box is clearly The Robin Redbreast Series, the six books listed on the box and found within the box are not all from that series. Three of the books listed are from the Little Frankie Series. I am unsure how this mixup occurred. As you can see on a list of the books shown below, this box certainly includes the books from the two different series.
Both of these six volume series (Little Frankie and The Robin Redbreast Series) were initially published as boxed sets in 1860 by Crosby, Nichols, Lee & Co. Subsequently they were published by Crosby and Nichols and later by Crosby and Ainsworth before finally ending up being published by Woolworth, Ainsworth and Co. in 1868.

A comprehensive biography of the author, Madeline Leslie , a pseudonym for Harriette Newell Baker Woods, can be found at Deidre Johnson's site: .

Virtually all juvenile series from the 1850's to 1890's were published in boxes like the one shown here. Finding them is another matter.

Friday, October 22, 2010


When you buy items online you have to trust the seller. Generally if inexpensive items are described incorrectly, you just bite the bullet. But what about when a very expensive item is described wrong. Whose ultimate responsibility is it?

Here is the case in point. As some may know I am working on a bibliography of the H. M. Caldwell Company. This publisher was in business between 1896-1913. Here is his "Start-up" announcement from Publishers' Weekly in April, 1896. During that year and for several years thereafter Caldwell published the Illustrated Library of Famous Books by Famous Authors.

Initially the imprint just noted the New York site of business but by 1898 both New York and Boston could be found below the Caldwell imprint on the title page.

Here is a title page of a book and ad for a recent auction. As a Caldwell book it could not have been published before 1896. With the Boston and New York Imprints this book is at least an 1898 book. The ad as you can see says a Charles Darwin signed book. Well unless Darwin's theory of evolution included reincarnation this book was published and signed after his death in 1882.

The ad:

"Charles Darwin(1809-1882). English scientist. While still a student at Cambridge, he became a naturalist aboard The Beagle where he began to assemble data on plant and animal life in the Galapagos Islands. His theories of the natural evolution of species, as expounded in The Origin of Species by Natural Selection, first published in 1859, remain controversial to this day.

Signed book: Descent of Man. By Charles Darwin. Hard cover, 5x7.5, no jacket. Illustrations. New York: H. M. Caldwell, (1874?). 672 pages, indexed. Second edition. Black ink signature "Ch Darwin" on front free endpaper. Darwin’s second great book on evolutionary theory, in which he applies his findings to human evolution and details his theory of sexual selection. Laid in loose is a flyleaf from another book signed "Ch. Darwin" in black ink."

Perhaps the laid in autograph is worth the money but the buyer paid $4700 for a book not autographed by Darwin. I don't know about you but I am glad I do not know who "won" this book because I would not like to be the bearer of bad news.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bookmark for Tad Lincoln written by Wayne Whipple

Book and publishing house advertisements certainly come in all shapes and sizes. Calendars, broadsides, pamphlets, envelopes etc. are all part of the ephemera landscape. Here is something I have not shown before-a bookmark.
This bookmark promotes the Tad Lincoln book written by Wayne Whipple and published by George Sully and Company. The bookmark dates to 1926.

Wayne Whipple was the author of numerous books. He wrote seven different series ( including the American History Makers and Patriotic Series both published by Altemus as well as the Radio Boy Series and the Bill Brown Series. He penned ten non-series books three of which were Lincoln related.(

Among his accomplishments include designing the Peace Flag. This flag won a national contest circa 1912. It was the best of 500 entries submitted and was selected by William Taft. Regardless of the contest results, Whipple's flag never replaced old glory and has been relegated to the footnote pile of forgettable trivia.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Peck's Bad Boy Plays- Ephemera

George W. Peck authored the Peck's Bad Boy books. The books which were incredibly popular spawned movies, sponsorships for cigar companies and fishing gear, board games, and among other things, a very popular play.

The Peck's Bad Boy play was produced over approximately a 30 year period from the early 1880's to around 1910. Charles Felton Pidgin wrote the musical play (adapted from the Peck's Bad Boy stories) which formed the basis for the Atkinson Comedy Company's production. Atkinson's play was certainly the most prevalent during these years. A number of other production companies both with and without licenses from the play's owner, Charles Albert Shaw, also did the play.

Each year the play would cut a swath through a territory and play at local theaters from week to week. The actors would generally stay the same for a season but frequently there would be changes from season to season. This was also true of the script which would be changed sometimes based on the region where the play was being held. Musical scores were changed as well.

I have seen posters, broadsides, banners, cards and numerous other types of material which advertised the upcoming play in an area. The large full color posters are perhaps the nicest Peck's ephemera . These posters which were produced by the Enterprise Lithograph Company from Cleveland are very difficult to find in decent shape.

I thought I would show some of this ephemera here today.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Porter and Coates Calendar trade card 1880

Here is an interesting little advertising calendar trade card. Porter and Coates has been discussed perviously on June 7, 2009 when a stereoview card of the interior of its store was reviewed.

Here is an advertising piece from 1880. It is my belief that calendar advertisements were frequently used by publishers (and other businesses) in this era. The trick is just to find them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jas. B. Smith Advertising Cover-Philadelphia

Jas. B. Smith & Co. was established in 1837. It published reprints of classics in addition to Bibles. It seems its main concentration was the manufacture of blank books. This is noted in the advertisement included here which was published in 1867 in Freedley's Philadelphia and its Manufactures; A Hand-Book of the Great Manufacturies.

Smith's company was at the South Seventh Street address for many years beginning as early as 1860. Here is a very scarce advertising cover which shows a nice picture of Smith's building.

It is interesting to me (and maybe only me) how at the time these publishing companies sent out their statements and advertising propaganda within envelopes like this one, it probably would have been difficult to know which company would end up being well known in collectors' circles a century later and which would have been relegated to the scrap heap. I guess you just never know

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lothrop Advertising Calendar

Here is a great calendar broadside advertisement for D. Lothrop & Co. The ad mentions three of Lothrop's magazines: Babyland, Wide Awake and the Little Folks' Reader.

Interestingly the entire 12 months of the year are shown on the one page of the ad with little vignettes of children for each month. What the ad does not reveal is what year it is for. Nowhere on the face of the ad id the year stated. Pretty bizarre, huh.

So what year is the ad for. There are a few hints.

D. Lothrop & Co. was in business from 1868-1887. After that the name was changed to D. Lothrop Co. On the calendar January 1rst is on a Saturday. That happened in 1870,1876, 1881, and 1887.

We can eliminate 1870 as the year because the Wide Awake magazine was introduced in 1874.
The Little Folks' Reader was initially started in 1880 so 1876 can also be eliminated as the year in question. By 1883 the periodical Wide Awake had a yearly subscription rate of $2.50. But in 1881 the yearly price was $2.00 just like on the ad.

Thus, this ad is for 1881.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Advertising Cover for A.J. Holman & Co.

The picture above is an advertising cover for A.J. Holman & Co. This cover is especially nice because it has a picture of the Holman building in Philadelphia and is dated (January 14, 1891).

A. J. Holman was an extremely prolific publisher of Bibles in the 19th century. In the 1850's Holman was employed by Jesper Harding, another huge Bible publishing house, as a superintendent of the manufacture of Bibles. In 1872 he began his own publishing firm which as the cover notes specialized in Bibles, and photographic albums.

Holman competed directly at that time with his former employer, Jesper Harding. In 1883 one of Holman's trusted copartners , Captain J. Parker Martin, left Holman to take over as manager of the Henry Altemus Bible production department. The similarity between the new Altemus Bibles and the Holman Bibles was quite startling. See: .

As the years went on into the 20th century Holman continued to be one of the major Bible publishers.

Holman was still at this address in this building into the middle of the 20th century.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Harper and Brothers Advertising Calendar August 1886

Here is a great little item. Harper and Brothers is one of the really long-lived publishers. Beginning as J. & J. Harper in 1817 and evolving into Harper and Brothers in 1833 it was one of the major 19th century publishers. Harper's Weekly was a hugely popular periodical especially during the Civil War.

This little calendar from August, 1886 advertises a number of books published by Harper. Most publishers produced these little advertising pieces in this era. They are not too easy to find however.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stratemeyer Advertising Pamphlet from LL&S

Today I wanted to present a great advertising pamphlet from Lothrop, Lee and Shepard.

In my experience pamphlets which advertise juvenile series books are quite uncommon. Clearly a one page or an accordion-like ad is much easier and certainly much cheaper to produce. This 64 page pamphlet is a vehicle for promoting Edward Stratemeyer's juvenile books.

Not only are there excerpts from some of Stratemeyer's books here but there are also numerous ads with book pictures from his various series.

The series noted are:
Dave Porter Series-Volumes 1-3
Pan-American Series
Old Glory Series
Soldiers of Fortune Series
Colonial Series
American Boys' Biographical Series
The Stratemeyer Popular Series (12 volumes)

Excerpts are presented from:
Dave Porter at Oak Hall (Dave Porter Series)
Defending His Flag
Lost on the Orinoco (Pan American Series)
Under Dewey at Manila (Old Glory Series)
Under the Mikado's Flag (Soldier of Fortune Series)
With Washington in the West (Colonial Series)

Also included in this pamphlet are numerous illustrations from the books themselves.

I believe this pamphlet dates from 1907. Both Dave Porter's Return to School and Defending His Flag were published in that year. There are no later books noted.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Altemus Advertising Calendar 1880

This little advertising calendar (3.875 x 2.375) from 1880 from Altemus & Co. points out the company's ability to manufacture whatever type of book the client wanted. At this time Altemus had not been routinely publishing reading books on its own imprint. Bibles, photographic albums and scrapbooks were the mainstay of their own imprint's publishing business but Altemus was very busy publishing for the needs of others.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Advertising Cover-The American Garden

There really is no end to publishing and book/author related ephemera. I thought with the new year I would expand the blog a bit and show some items that are not necessarily related to children's literature.

Here is an advertising cover for a magazine called "The American Garden". This magazine was first published with this name in 1873. Its first iteration was as "Flower Garden" from which it evolved. This journal was bought by Beach, Son and Company which was a seed and bulb dealer. At first it was a quarterly but in 1882 it became a monthly. At that point it went on a popularity roll. It acquired Ladies' Floral Cabinet in 1887. In 1888 it took over The Gardener's Monthly and The Horticulturist. In 1892 it changed its name to American Gardening. After a successful run it stopped publication in 1904.

Of course, for those of you up north you have plenty of time to find some old bound copies of these journals and begin to prepare for your planting season in the months to come.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Estes and Lauriat -Laura E. Edwards Advertising Flyer

Here is a great advertising flyer (3.75 x 5.25) for several Laura E. Richards' books. It is dated in 1881. This piece from the Estes and Lauriat publishing house is very similar to others of this same era I have seen from this house. (For the ZigZag books, Knockabout Books, and Travels by Ober.)

Laura E. Richards (1850-1943) was a prolific authoress of children's books. The most famous work was Captain January which was made into a film starring Shirley Temple. She was born in Boston. Her parents were Julia Ward Howe, a very well known writer and author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, the managing director of the Perkins Institute for the Blind.

She was married in 1871 to Henry Richards who was still her husband at the time of her death. Her works initially were penned to help with the family finances. Her first work was jingles published by St. Nicholas (magazine). Her first book was Five Little Mice in a Mouse Trap published by Estes and Lauriat in 1880. Although the vast majority of her work was for children, she also wrote several biographies. Her autobiography "Stepping Westward" was published in 1931.