OTHER PAPER

Here are some of our other paper items, listed chronologically, available for purchase:

Early American Graphic Humor

David Claypoole Johnston (1799-1865) was America’s first great graphic satirist.  During his career that spanned nearly forty years, he produced comic prints, both political and social, and illustrated a score of books, perhaps the most famous two being Smith’s Life and Writings of Major Jack Downing (1834) and Neal’s Charcoal Sketches (1838). He is best remembered today for his erratically published annuals, Scraps (nine issues from 1828 to 1849). They were relatively simple affairs, four small folio oblong engraved sheets, bound in colored wrappers. Each sheet featured from a dozen to fifteen comic drawings, sometimes related in theme, sometimes not. They were usually issued in December and sold for 25 cents each. While not so profitable that they prompted Johnson to publish Scraps annually, they were successful enough to justify producing them over and over again for more than twenty years. This issue features cartoons on balloon warfare in the 20th century, temperance, anti-immigration, and a page devoted to fanaticism, including a comic strip on anti-catholicism (Johnston became a Catholic upon his marriage). Issues no. 7 and NS no. 1 are seen on the marketplace with some frequency, a box of both being discovered decades ago. The other numbers, though, are scarce and represent some of the most elegant early American graphic satire to be had.

D. C. Johnston. Scraps No. 6 (Boston: Author, 1835). Oblong small folio. VG, foxing, light general wear. String binding shaken but sound. Only two tissue guards of four present. $1,600

Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier

“Go Ahead!” Davy Crockett’s 1837 Almanack of Wild Sports in the West. (Nashville, Tennessee: “Heirs of Col. Crockett,” [1836]). Octavo. 8vo. Good, with spotting and edge wear. Pages 43-46 in expert facsimile. Our price reflects the defect. $2,500

The third Crockett Almanack, and the first to be published posthumously, features stories of mayhem and heroism in the West, as well as a front cover woodcut portrait of Crockett, Crockett’s death at the Alamo, and a back cover woodcut of “Fall of the Alamo-Death of Crockett.” The almanacs ran from 1835 to 1856 and although none were written by Davy himself, he certainly participated in the creation of his mythical self, which became the foundation for the tall tail humor of the frontier and the early American West. Crockett’s biographer Constance Rourke states “the Crockett almanacs …made Crockett a legendary figure and a part of American folk- lore.” The stories they contained “constitute one of the earliest and perhaps the largest of our cycles of myth, and they are part of a lineage that endures to this day, in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Ozark Mountains.”

“Go Ahead!!” The Crockett Almanac 1841. Containing Adventures, Exploits, Sprees & Scrapes In The West, & Life And Manners In The Backwoods. (Boston: J. Fisher, [1840]). 12mo. 36 pp. Untrimmed. Stitched as issued. Light general edge wear throughout. Very Good. This copy was previously owned by Oscar Lewis (1914-1970), the renowned American anthropologist. “Oscar Lewis his Almanac” is written in his neat hand on the cover. $3,000

The seventh Crockett Almanac, with more stories of mayhem and heroism in the West, graphically illustrated. The illustration on the front wrapper shows the great scout wrestling an alligator; other illustrations include “Buy Log – Buy Nigger,” “Incivility of a Bear,” “A Regular Row in the Backwoods,” and “Dreadful Massacre of the Whites by Indians!!” The almanacs ran from 1835 to 1856 and although none were written by the actual David Crockett, he certainly participated in the creation of the mythical Davy, which became the foundation for a large part of the myth and folklore of the frontier and the early American West. Crockett’s biographer Constance Rourke states “the Crockett almanacs …made Crockett a legendary figure and a part of American folk- lore.” The stories they contained “constitute one of the earliest and perhaps the largest of our cycles of myth, and they are part of a lineage that endures to this day, in Kentucky, Tennessee, and the Ozark Mountains.”

Crime and Punishment in 1830s London

Cleave’s Illustrated Metropolitan Police Act (London: John Cleave, 1839). Broadsheet. 20” x 15”. VG+ with old light folds. $1,000

John Cleve (1790-?) was a radical printer and publisher at the forefront of the Chartist Movement, which among other things called for universal male suffrage. He is best known for publishing what might have been the first scandal sheet issued in the English-speaking world, Cleve’s Weekly Police Gazette (1834-1836), which mixed sensational crime news with political essays. The Gazette was a big success but a new tax on newspapers prompted him in 1836 to merge his weekly with another radical paper, Henry Heatherington’s London Dispatch. This one-shot appears to be a coda to the Gazette. With comic drawings by Charles J. Grant, who also illustrated the Gazette, this newspaper devotes two of its four pages to a comic graphic treatment of the new restrictive Whig Police Act of 1839 (and other political and social cartoons) and two (interior) pages to extracts from the bill itself. The lead cartoon is a busy street scene showing just about everyone being accosted by the police under the new act. It anticipates comic street scenes from later in the century such as Hogan’s Alley. Worldcat identifies no US holdings. 

James Duffield Harding. Harding’s Portfolio (London: Charles Tilt, 1837) Folio. Binding VG, original olive green quarter leather binding with scuffing to leather and wear to tips.  Contents VG+, with heavy foxing to title page and light foxing throughout. $500

James Duffield Harding (1798-1863) was a recognized painter. lithographer, and watercolorist of his day. He made a name for himself through a number of drawing manuals published in the 1830s. This is one of several books he published of landscape views. This one contains twenty-four tinted lithographic plates of European scenes (On the Thames near Rotherhithe; Ludgate Hill; On the Thames near Gravesend; The Low Fall, Aysgarth, Yorkshire; Hastings; Arundel Castle; Hastings, Beach; Little Hampton, on the Avon; Entrance to Feildskirch; Feildkirch Castle; Tyrolese Peasants at Maltz; Trento, Tyrol; Boppart, on the Rhine; Bacharach, on the Rhine; Ehrenfels, on the Rhine; Finisso Castle, Val d’Aosta; Croix d’Arrolet, Val Savaranche; Ivrea, Val d’Aosta; Roccabruna, Coast of Genoa; Pallazuolo; Cathedral at Puy, France; Sisteron, South of France; Pont-Neuf, Paris; Rouen), accompanied by tissue guards. Lovely.

The Harrison and Log Cabin Song Book (Columbus, OH: Whiting, 1840). 16mo. 108 pages. Bound in cloth and pictorial paper-covered boards. Binding good with edge wear and old script on cover. Contents VG, with lots of writing on flies.  $300

This songster features sixty-nine songs, including such hits as “Should Good Old Cider Be Despised,” “I Love the Rough Log Cabin,” “Sly Matty’s Face was Overcast,” and, who can forget, “The Hero Ploughman of North Bend.” On the front pastedown, “Joseph H. Geiger” declares: “To be preserved as a precious relic of noisy and happy days.” The front fly and the rear pastedown bear the ink stamp of A. H. Smythe who identifies himself as “the oldest U.S. bookseller (1876) Berkeley, CA.”.(Huh, he must have never heard of Leary’s or Brattle) with his signature and the date “xmas 1935.” (Did he sign and date every book that passed through his hands?) The back fly is probably missing. The other inscription on the rear pastedown reads: “The property of W. F. Griswold, Worthington [OH].” 

Harrison Melodies (Boston: Weeks, Jordan, 1840). 12mo. Wrappers near fine, contents foxed, bound in rubbed full green leather with the misleading title “Reports of the Christian Union Society” stamped on the front. $300

This 72-page songbook intended to spur the Whig faithful into action contains such gems as “A Farmer There Is, Who Lived at North Bend,” “Bright, Bright is the Cause of the Valiant Whigs,” “Old Tip’s the Boy to Swing the Flail,” and the grammar-challenged “Times Ain’t Now What They Used To Was Is.”

William Oakes/Isaac Sprague. Scenery of the White Mountains: with sixteen plates, from the drawings of Isaac Sprague (Boston: Crosby, Nichols & Company, 1848) Folio. Binding VG-, original green cloth, with pronounced edge wear, especially to spine. Bowing and water damage to the top of the back board. Contents VG+, light water line to top outer corner, not affecting images, otherwise quite clean. Bookplate to front pastedown. $750

Isaac Sprague (1811-1895) is remembered today for his botanical drawings and for assisting John James Audubon on his expedition up the Missouri River in 1843. But he also did a good number of landscapes in his lifetime, and this book, with text by William Oakes (1799-1848), showcases those devoted to the natural beauty of the mountains of New Hampshire and Maine. It features sixteen lithographed plates (most by B. W.. Thayer & Co.. Lith.). They include: 1) The White Mountains; 2) Mount Crawford; 3) The Notch of the White Mountains; 4) The Lower Cascade of the Notch; 5) The Gate of the Notch; 6) The Falls of the Amonoosuck; 7) The Granite Cliffs of the Falls (two views on one plate); 8) The Franconia Notch; 9) Profile Mountain at Franconia; 10) The Profile Rock; 11) The Basin, in Lincoln, N.H.; 12) The Flume, in Lincoln, N.H.; 13) Nancy’s Bridge; 14) Mt. Crawford, from the Notch (two views on one plate); 15) Mount Washington (two views on one plate); and 16) Mt. Washington, over Tuckerman’s Ravine. Impressive.

Two Midwest Pocket Maps

S. A. Mitchell. The Tourist’s Pocket Map of the State of Illinois (Philadelphia: Mitchell, 1845). 16 mo. Hand-colored. Binding is VG, rubbed. Map is VG+ with 4 mm loss to one point and tiny loss to a few others.$325

J. H. Colton. Township Map of the State of Ohio (New York; Colton, 1852). 12mo. 24” x 30”. Hand-colored. Binding is VG+, with a short tear to lower spine cloth. Map is VG+, with wear and tiny loss to some points. $225

Julia Ward Howe. “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in Atlantic Monthly (Boston) February 1862. Octavo. Near fine, with one .5″ tear and one 3″ tear to front wrap and one 4″ tear to back wrap. all mendable. Minor paper loss to spine extremes. $300

In November 1861, Julia Ward Howe heard for the first time the song “John Brown’s Body”, sung during a public review of the troops outside Washington on Upton Hill, Virginia. Howe’s companion at the review, the Rev. James Freeman Clarke, suggested to Howe that she write new words for the melody to transform the song from a eulogy to the famous abolitionist into a song to inspire men in combat. Staying at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the night of November 18, 1861, Howe recalled many years later what happened: “I went to bed that night as usual, and slept, according to my wont, quite soundly. I awoke in the gray of the morning twilight; and as I lay waiting for the dawn, the long lines of the desired poem began to twine themselves in my mind. Having thought out all the stanzas, I said to myself, ‘I must get up and write these verses down, lest I fall asleep again and forget them.’ So, with a sudden effort, I sprang out of bed, and found in the dimness an old stump of a pen which I remembered to have used the day before. I scrawled the verses almost without looking at the paper.” The hymn, once set to music, became the greatest song to come out of the Civil War.

Valentine’s Manuals of the Corporation of the City of New York

The Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York was published from 1841-42 to 1870 (missing 1867) and edited for most of its run by city clerk David Valentine. In its early years, it was primarily a guide to the city government with a map and a few views inserted. But Valentine was a history-lover and he began filling it with a hodge-podge of foldout maps and plates chronicling the history of the city. By 1866, the volumes had become massive compendiums of chromolithographic views and maps of all vintages. Valentine was criticized at the time for the wasteful extravagance of these annuals, but collectors today thank him. The books are a treat for the eye. We collate all of our volumes against the 1906 cumulative index. Since none of the volumes contains a list of plates, this is the only way to be sure that the volumes are complete.

Valentine’s Manual of the City of New York 1855
This is a complete 1855 edition of David Valentine’s celebrated Manual of the City of New York, containing twenty-six plates and illustrations. Octavo. 600 pages. Binding VG +, with light general wear. Contents near fine. Highlights include a frontispiece foldout tinted view of City Hall Park in 1827, two maps (one a 1817 plan of the city and the other a1775 plan of the city), a foldout tinted view of Five Points in 1827 (a tear along fold repaired), as well as views of churches, old homes, and commercial buildings. $325

Valentine’s Manual of the City of New York 1858
This is a complete 1858 edition of David Valentine’s celebrated Manual of the City of New York, containing forty-two plates and illustrations. Octavo. 646 pages. Binding VG+, with light general wear. Contents near fine with frontispiece map laid in. Highlights include a frontispiece foldout map of New York city, 1858, a tinted foldout view of Fort George, 1740, a tinted foldout view of Chatham Street, 1858, two more foldout maps (one a map of Brooklyn, 1776, and the other an elaborately colored 1621 map of America), as well as views of churches, old homes, and commercial buildings. $325

Valentine’s Manual of the City of New York 1863
This is a complete 1863 edition of David Valentine’s celebrated Manual of the City of New York, containing thirty-eight plates and illustrations. Octavo. 852 pages. Binding near fine, with light edge wear. Contents near fine. Highlights include a tinted view of the U.S. ironclad “Roanoke”, a chromolithographic view of the Metropolitan Police Headquarters, a chromolithographic view of the Old Bowery Theatre, a chromolithographic fold-out view of Jackson Ferry, East River, a chromolithographic fold-out view of “Harlaem, 1765” as well as views of churches, old homes, and commercial buildings. $325

Valentine’s Manual of the City of New York 1864
This is a complete 1864 edition of David Valentine’s celebrated Manual of the City of New York, containing forty-five plates and illustrations. Octavo. 856 pages. Binding near fine. Contents near fine. Highlights include a frontispiece hand-colored fold-out map of NYC, five chromolithographic views of the Soldier’s Depot, a tinted foldout lithograph of the terrace in Central Park, a foldout chromo of the Phoenix and the Rose in battle, 1776, a chromolithographic view of Brooks Brothers store, as well as views of churches, old homes, and commercial buildings. $325

Shannon’s Manual of the City of New York 1869
This is a complete 1869 edition of Joseph Shannon’s (formerly David Valentine’s) celebrated Manual of the City of New York, containing all forty-five plates and illustrations. Octavo. 896 pages. Binding VG, with light edge wear. Contents VG+, with some spotting throughout and a tear to one of the foldout documents. Highlights include a beautiful fold-out steel engraving of the proposed Brooklyn Bridge, a chromolithographic fold-out of Harlem, a fold-out tinted lithograph of the Merchants’ Exchange after the fire of 1835, a beautiful bird’s-eye view of Manhattan, and a large fold-out chromolithographed map of the city, and many views of commercial buildings throughout the city. $325

Plutarch Through the Lens of The Civil War

Thomas Worth. Plutarch Restored (NY: George Ward Nichols, 1862). Oblong quarto. Original green cloth, gilt-stamped cover. Binding near fine. Contents.near fine. $250

This droll Civil War satire contains twenty-four lithographs by Worth, with one page of letterpress accompanying each. Depicted are sporting scenes, political matters, women’s rights, and additional subjects. Many of the plates feature African-Americans. In one scene, Worth takes a comment by Plutarch about Darius and shows a dissipated old man holding a mint julep, attended by a black waiter. Sinclair Hamilton said of it, “Even today many [of these designs] are genuinely amusing.” William Murrell wrote: “The drawings are skillfully made and are full of good fun, burlesquing the outstanding events in the lives of the ancients by means of introducing topically incongruous details” Worth (1834-1917) was well known for his Currier and Ives caricatures, especially those of Negro life.

Copperheads Exposed!

[Charles Godfrey Leland]. Ye Book of Copperheads (Philadelphia: Frederick Leypoldt, 1863). Oblong octavo. 32 pages. Fully illustrated. VG with edge wear to front wrapper and light foxing thoroughout. $600

This comic satire ridiculing northerners who opposed the Civil War was the creation of Charles Godfrey Leland, late editor of the comic weekly Vanity Fair and current editor of the defiantly radical Continental Monthly. Though he denied authorship during the war, he took full credit for it later. In a letter he wrote near the end of his life, Leland asserted that he drew all of the pictures, except No. 24, which was drawn by his brother. Furthermore he wrote all of the verses, except four by Frank Wells, four by G.H. Boker, and three by E.S. Rand. Leland had the nasty habit in his dotage to take credit for all sorts of things he had little to do with, but in this case he is probably reliable. A number of the full-page plates depict famous politicians of the day, including Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Clement Vallandigham, Horatio Seymour, and Fernando Wood. A nice copy.

The Beautiful Lithography of Louis Prang

Prang’s Roses Parts 1 and 2. (Boston: L. Prang & Co., 1863/65). This is a complete set of twenty-four 2.5” x 4” chromolithographic trading cards depicting rose varieties published by the great Boston chromolithographer Louis Prang. The cards are quite clean, a few with foxing. Each set is housed in the decorated envelope that it came in. (The Part 2 envelope is an expert recreation with an affixed original front panel. Complete sets are difficult to assemble and rarely seen in the original envelopes. $500

Prang’s Natural History Series. Birds I (Swimming) and Birds II (Wading). (Boston: L. Prang & Co., 1872). This is a complete set of twenty-four 2.5” x 4” chromolithographic trading cards depicting birds published by the great Boston chromolithographer Louis Prang. The cards are quite clean, a few with light soiling. Each set is mounted on a stiff sheet made for the cards. The title panel of the envelope that the cards were issued in is neatly affixed to the reverse. Complete sets are difficult to assemble and rare seen in such a nice presentation. $500

Grenville Kane is Welcomed into the Tammany Brotherhood

Charles Buxton. Sons of Tammany Membership Certificate 1874. (New York: George Graham, c. 1811). Sheet: 30″ x 24″. Plate: 25.25″ x 20.75″. Image: 21.5″ x 17.25″. Near fine, except for soiling and chipping to margins The strike itself is clean and distinct. $1,200

This extraordinarily large and ornate membership certificate was executed sometime in 1811 or 1812, between when Tammany erected its Wigwam No. 1 (referenced in the print) and when Louisiana (which is not referenced in the print) joined the union. Whether this certificate was printed then in a large quantity that was kept on hand for future use or whether this is a restrike is unknown. What is interesting is that Tammany did not see fit to update the certificate during the intervening sixty years. The artist, Dr. Charles Buxton (1768-1833), born in England, was a founding member of the Medical Society of the County of New York (1806) and obviously a draughtsman of considerable talent. Little is known about the engraver, George Graham, but the few works that survive from his hand date from the 1790s. The certificate declares in full: “Civil Liberty/ the Glory of Man./ This sheweth a Link of that/ Bright and Lasting Chain of Patriotic Friendship/ which binds together/ the Sons of Tammany. Be it therefore known that afsurance having/ been given of the Republicanism and Virtuous Deportment of Brother/ (written) Grenville Kane./ he was regularly admitted a Member of the/ Tammany Society or Columbian Order/ in their Great Wigwam No. 1 in the City of New York in the/ (written) 383rd Year of the Discovery & the (written) 85th/ of the Institution/ In testimony whereof We/ the underwritten have herewith set our Hands & caused the Seal of the/ Society to be affixed this (written) 16th day of (written) February Anno Dom, (written) 1874./ (written) Augustus Schell Grand Sachem/ (written) Chas. H. Haswell Sagamore/ (written) Joel O. Stevens, Secy,” The print depicts the ladies Liberty and Justice, standing on pedestals labeled 1776 and 1789 (both the first year of the Constitution and the incorporation of the Sons of Tammany as an organization), linked together by a chain held in the beak of the American eagle. The pedestals are mounted atop two craggy outlooks that support a keystone demarcated by the states of the union, (plus the Mississippi Territory). The craggy outlooks frame images of a frigate, a fort (perhaps a fanciful version of Fort Amsterdam at the tip of Manhattan Island, circa 1625), and a roaring current. The Grand Sachem who put his name to the document was Augustus Schell (1812-1884). He was a New York lawyer who took over the leadership of Tammany Hall after the fall of Tweed in 1871. It was his job to shore up the organization and do what he could to repair its reputation. The newly certified member, Grenville Kane (1854-1943), was a descendant of an illustrious family of Irish aristocrats and, at the time of his induction, a nineteen year-old student at Trinity College in Hartford. He would later graduate with a law degree from Columbia and become  a successful New York banker. In his leisure hours, he became a formidable collector of Americana, assembling one of the greatest collections of books and manuscripts on Colonial America. His extraordinary collection, still largely intact, is now the property of Princeton University. Worldcat shows no holdings, but we know of one at the Worcester Art Museum.

An Illinois Atlas and View Book

Combination Atlas Map of De Kalb County, Illinois. (Geneva, IL: Thompson and Everts, 1871). Square folio. Modern binding with paper label. Contents near fine, bright and clean. $1,250

This beautiful atlas opens with a title page illustrated with a lithographic view of the offices of Thompson and Everts in Geneva, a double-page hand-colored map of the Illinois, and a full-page hand-colored map of De Kalb County, followed by 19 full-page hand-tinted maps of the townships of De Kalb County and four full-page hand-tinted maps of the prominent towns of Sandwich, DeKalb, Cortland and Somonauk, and Malta. On the pages opposing the maps are three to six lithographic views (by N. Friend of Philadelphia) of important buildings, homes, and farms in each township/town. The volume also includes a three-page history of the county, a two-page business directory, and one page devoted to a list of past and present government officials. 

The Roller Skating Fad in 1880s San Francisco

1880s Roller Skating in San Francisco. This is great little lot of ten pieces of ephemera relating to the 1880’s roller skating craze in San Francisco. The lot includes: 

— Four c. 1880s illustrated trade cards, two for skating rinks (the Columbia Rink and the Mission Pavilion Rink) and two for the Golden Rule Bazaar on Market “for the best skates.”

— A Grand Opening leaflet for the Olympian Club Elite Roller Skating Rink in 1890.

— Two c. 1885 spectator pass tickets complements of the Pacific Skating Club.

— A large ticket to the Grand Prize Carnival at the Original Mission Rink in 1886.

— A c. 1885 illustrated ticket to Wednesday evening events at the Skating Academy.

— An 1884 illustrated ticket to a White Dress Party at the Mission Street Skating Rink (“Requirements: Ladies to wear White Dresses, Gents to wear White Aprons and Neckties.”)

For more San Francisco ephemera, search seller site “Periodyssey” on eBay. $400

Trade Cards by a Celebrated San Francisco Printer

San Francisco Printer A. L. Bancroft & Co. Trade Card Collection. This late 19th century collection of fifteen San Francisco trade cards were all printed by the celebrated firm of E. Bosqui and Company. The trade cards advertise the California Silk Manufacturing Company (three), the Franco-California Packing Co., Preston & Merrill’s Infallible Yeast Powder, Freud’s Corsets, Slavens Toothpaste, F. S. Chadbourne & Co. Artistic Furniture, J. Strahle & Co. Steel Spring Cushions, Bear Brand Honey, Turners Regulator, King Bitters, McClellan’s Diphtheria Remedy,  the Star Coal Co., and A. L. Bancroft & Co. itself. Four have glue residue on the reverse and one appears to be printed on the back of an unused and trimmed trade card. The rest near fine. $2,000

More Than 17 Feet of Western Views

W. C. Riley. The Northern Pacific Tour/From the Lakes & Mississippi River/to the Pacific Including Puget Sound & Alaska. (St. Paul: W. C. Riley, 1888). Oblong octavo (5.5″ x 7.5″). VG, wear to corners, archival repairs to several folds. Embossed cloth covers enclosing an enormous accordion fold (5.5″ x 212″) of twenty-nine panels featuring approximately 75 photographically reproduced and tinted lithographs. $150

The lithographic view book flourished in the 1880s and 1890s, much like carte de visites dominated the popular culture of the preceding twenty years and pretty girl magazine covers the succeeding twenty years. Most were about half the physical size of this one and with two-thirds fewer views. With the Northern Pacific Tour, Riley created a view book like no other, including three-panel panoramas of St. Paul and Minneapolis and bird’s eye views of Duluth, Butte, Spokane Falls, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, sprinkled with vignettes of farming and mining life as viewed from the window of the Northern Pacific railroad. This is the first of four editions of this wonderful piece of Northwestern United States and railroad ephemera.

The Mott Equivalent for California Magazines

Ella Sterling Cummins. Story of the Files: A Review of Californian Writers and Literature (San Francisco: World’s Fair Commission of California, 1893) Octavo. Binding VG+, with edge wear. Rebacked in cloth to match the blank paper-covered spine which is fragile and usually found in poor condition. $150

Despite the cryptic title, this book is still the best historical record we have of 19th century California magazines, newspapers, and the men and women who made them. Originally serialized in the Wasp, Cummins’ articles were collected into a book made available at the Chicago World’s Fair as part of the state’s effort to advertise California as a place of culture as well as beauty. The Zamorano Eighty is a list of books intended to represent the most significant early volumes published on the history of California. Cummins’ The Story of the Files is Zamorano Eighty # 24. Here’s what the creators of the Zamarano Eighty had to say about it: “Nowhere else can be found the wealth of material on the early writers and their literature that is given in The Story of the Files. There are more than a hundred portraits of California authors of note, and sketches from many of their writings. Also found in this book are histories of the famous early magazines and newspapers of San Francisco. Aside from its extreme textual value and interest, this book has become a collector’s item.”

Eight-Page Circus Poster? Elephant Folio Circus Program?

The Walter L. Main’s Eight Enormous United Shows/3 Big Circuses 3/A Menagerie of Rare Animals/Spectacular Pageants/Wild West and Wild East/ etc. etc. etc. Stamped at bottom: Bath [Ohio] /Tuesday/June 2 [1896].Broadsheet on tinted newsprint. 23″ x 16.25″. VG+, archival repair to exterior vertical seam. Surprisingly well preserved for 120-year-old newsprint. $400

The Walter L. Main Circus was founded by Walter L. Main in 1886. Walter’s father William was a horse farmer, trainer, and trader in Trumbull, Ohio. After touring with several shows, William established Main’s Family Circus in 1879, which 20 year-old Walter began managing in 1882. After a few seasons, the business was disbanded. In 1886, Walter convinced his mother, who had inherited her father’s farm, to mortgage the property so that Walter could establish his own circus. The new show was titled “The Walter L. Main Circus” (the first time the title was used), and it proved an immediate success, turning an annual profit of $25,000 within a few years. In 1891, Walter purchased 11 railroad cars and put his circus on rails. The Walter L. Main Circus was now a huge success and it seemed as if nothing could stop it. Then at 5:30 a.m. on Decoration Day, May 30, 1893, the Walter L Main Circus train was descending a steep grade near Tyrone Pennsylvania, and at high speed crashed at the bottom of the mountain. Four people were killed instantly and another two died later. Many of the circus’s valuable animals were also killed and most of the show’s equipment was destroyed. It was one of the great circus disasters of the 19th century. Miraculously, Main rebuilt his entire operation and was back on the road within a season. This extravagant advertisement was produced for the 1896 season and is imprinted Bath/Tuesday/June 2. We assume the Bath refers to Bath, Ohio, but it might be Bath, Pennsylvania. Main sold out in 1904 and the circus continued under various owners and names until 1937. This is great piece of 19th century circus memorabilia. We have photographed all eight pages to do it justice.

Will H. Bradley. Twelve Cover Designs (Chicago: Inland Printer, 1895). Portfolio. Small folio. Tied with a ribbon. Near fine. $1,250

The Inland Printer, the trade magazine par excellence for the printing trade, entered into a novel experiment in February 1894 when they commissioned Will Bradley, a bright new star on the Chicago graphic arts scene, to draw all twelve covers of a year’s worth of forthcoming issues. The covers he drew for the April 1894 through March 1895 issues took the publishing world by storm. Nothing like it had been seen before. To say it was a success is an understatement. It solidified the Inland Printer’s reputation as a cutting-edge magazine and it catapulted Bradley to fame. The Inland Printer received so many requests for reproductions that it issued this portfolio in the spring of 1895, which featured all twelve covers exactly as they first appeared, in black and white or color, and in full-size. It was graced with its own cover design by Bradley. When the portfolio sold out, they reproduced the twelve covers once again as a 16mo. booklet. Both versions are rare, but this is, of course, the more desirable of the two because of its large format and elegant presentation.

Will Bradley, designer and printer. Edward Fitzgerald. Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Astronomer. (Springfield, MA: Wayside Press, 1897). 12mo. Near fine, with minor rubbing to tips and slight loss to head and toe of the fragile paper spine.  $1,000

This is a possibly unique pre-press run of this lovely Bradley work, inscribed by Bradley to his early champion, Chauncey Williams, of the Chicago publishing firm of Way and Williams. The inscription reads; “To Mr. C. L. Williams with the kind regards of Will Bradley, September 1897.” This copy differs from others on the market because the cover design is in black, not green, and the title page is lacking the R. H. Russell imprint. 

A Portfolio of Prints by the Preeminent Hunting and Fishing Artist

Frost, A. B. Sports and Games In The Open, Pictured By A. B. Frost (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1899) Folio portfolio. Casing VG, with staining and spotting to cover, light general wear. One inner flap missing, one detached. Contents VG, with soiling and wear to title page, and edge wear to a few plates, not nearly affecting images. Complete with title page, portrait of A.B. Frost, a bi-folium table of contents, a six-page introduction by Frank R. Stockton, and all fifty-three plates, protected by tipped-on sheets of tissue. $750

Arthur Burdett Frost (1851-1928) was, in addition to being a prolific illustrator and comic artist, renowned for his realistic hunting and fishing prints. This portfolio gathers together much of his best work. Aside from hunting and fishing images, such as “Quail Shooting — Four Barrels and Four Birds” and “Fishing for Striped Bass on the New Jersey Coast,” the plates depict the sports of golf, bicycling, skating, and more. A handsome compendium.

Bold Turn-Of-The-Century Sporting Images

William Nicholson and Rudyard Kipling. An Almanac of Twelve Sports (NY: Heinemann, 1898). Quarto. Binding VG, with light edge wear. Contents near fine. $600

William Nicholson (1872-1949), half of the Beggarstaff Brothers (the other being his brother-in-law James Pryde), was one of the most influential graphic artists of the 1890s. His bold simple style harkened back to the 18th century and yet seemed to suggest the coming 20th. This book features twelve beautiful lithographically reproduced woodblock prints in black and ocher with discreet red, blue, and green accents, featuring images of golfers, hunters, boxers, skaters, etc. Kipling supplied verse to accompany each woodblock. Nicholson later became a respected still-life, landscape, and portrait painter, illustrated Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit, and taught Winston Churchill how to paint, but he is best known for his suite of boldly designed and executed Fin de siècle children’s books like this one.

From A to Z, in Style

William Nicholson. An Alphabet. (NY: R. H. Russell, 1898). Quarto. Binding VG, with general edge wear. Contents near fine, with glassine protectors present, one partially torn away). $800

William Nicholson (1872-1949), half of the Beggarstaff Brothers (the other being his brother-in-law James Pryde), was one of the most influential graphic artists of the 1890s. His bold simple style harkened back to the 18th century and yet seemed to suggest the coming 20th. This book features twenty-six beautiful lithographically reproduced woodblock prints in black and ocher with discreet red, blue, and green accents. “A was an artist” is his self-portrait. Nicholson later became a respected still-life, landscape, and portrait painter, illustrated Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit, and taught Winston Churchill how to paint, but he is best known for his suite of boldly designed and executed Fin de siècle children’s books, of which An Alphabet is rightly considered to be his finest.

Modern Horse Goods and Stable Fittings. (Philadelphia: John Wanamaker, c. 1900). Oblong octavo. Covers fair, with soiling to front and back and loss to back. Spine reinforced. Contents VG, nibbling to lower margin of last twenty pages, without loss. 192 pages. $200

The fully illustrated catalog features everything for the horse and horseman, from axle grease, blankets, bridles, brushes, combs, crops, and feed bags, to halters, harnesses, reins, robes, saddles, spurs, and whips. Included with the catalog are eleven pieces of ephemera running from single sheets to illustrated pamphlets highlighting specific items for sale in the catalog proper. 

Charles Dana Gibson Photographic Portrait with large clipped pencil signature. Portrait: 12” x 9.5” Mat: 18” x 15.5”. Near fine. $300

Charles Dana Gibson (1870-1944) was one of the best-known and celebrated illustrators of the late 19th and early 20th century. His greatest creation was the unapproachable beauty, the Gibson Girl. He drew primarily for Life and Colliers, later becoming the owner and publisher of the former. His work was collected into a dozen oblong folios published between 1894 and 1915. The photograph has been pulled from a 1910 glass negative. The clipped signature that accompanies it is the largest of his that we have seen.

A Turn of the Century Wrappered Set of Highly Inappropriate Comic Art

Barker’s Komic Picture Souvenir, Parts 1 through 4 (Philadelphia: Barker-Moore & Mein, c. 1900. 6” x 9” oblong paperbacks. Each 48 pages. VG, color covers bright, interior pages toned, as usual, a few pages torn or laid in. $300

This is a complete set of the well-known cartoon compendiums issued by the Barker-Moore & Mein Medicine Co., of Philadelphia, around the turn of the century. Two books promote horse, cattle & poultry powder, the other two promote Barker’s Nerve And Bone Liniment. Full of wildly exaggerated, nicely executed full comic panels, usually depicting some grave mishap, often employing over-the-top Black and Jewish stereotypes. 

Kitazawa Yoshio (ed.), et al. Gendai Shogyo Bijutsu Zenshu (The Complete Commercial Artist). Vol. 23: Posters. (Tokyo: ARS, 1930). Octavo. Wrappers 128 pages. VG with light wear. Contents near fine. Well illustrated. $400

This is the penultimate volume in an extraordinary series of twenty-four that brought the world of  international commercial and graphic arts to a Japanese audience. Each volume, devoted to a single topic, contains dozens of plates, some in color, historical analysis, and scholarly annotations by Japan’s leading designers and educators. This volume focuses on the poster. Others focused on package design, shop signs, billboards, flyers and broadsides, page layout and design, typography, etc.The ARS series comprises one of the foundational documents of modern Japanese graphic design. Lead writer Hamada Masuji served as a passionate and forceful proponent of the commercial art field, which he dubbed “shogyo bijutsu,” and targeted the series at in-house graphic design departments at Japanese manufacturing firms as well as independent businessmen and shop owners who wished to imbue their environments with modern aesthetic sensibilities. Drawing on diverse visual sources from Russia, Germany, Great Britain, the United States, and Japan itself, the series reproduced thousands of completed designs and design plans for commercial retail spaces and the printed page.

A Great Reference to the Most Famous of American Lithographers

Harry T. Peters. America on Stone, The Other Printmakers to the American People (New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1931) Small folio. 416 pages. One of 751 copies (unnumbered). VG+, modest mottling to spine cloth, in original fair and repaired functional dustjacket. $100

Harry T. Peters was America’s first great historian of 19th century popular prints. Though his two-volume magnum opus on Currier and Ives has been superseded, his books on other lithographers around the country still stands the test of time as a seminal work of great usefulness. The 1970s reprint of this volume does not do justice to the original. America on Stone consists of narrative histories, a comprehensive lithographer directory, and copious full-page plates. Even in this age of digitalization, this volume retains its value as a touchstone reference.

The World’s Largest Fine Watch Factory

Miles Sater. The Elgin National Watch Company Factory. Photomechanical print. Image: 14.75” x 33”. Frame: 22.75 x 39.75”. VG with toning to the mat and a few dings to the frame. $500

This is a print of a drawing by Miles Sater of the Elgin Watch Factory, commissioned by the company in the 1930s. It depicts the main plant of the Elgin National Watch Company in Elgin, Illinois, which was constructed in stages between 1902 and 1927. A caption printed on the accompanying mat reads “Home of the ELGIN NATIONAL WATCH COMPANY – The World’s Largest Fine Watch Factory.” This is an original vintage print, company mat, and frame, probably intended for display in jewelry stores that sold the Elgin brand. It was later mass-produced for collector consumption, with the caption printed on the print itself.

An Indispensable and Foundational History

Frank Luther Mott. A History of American Magazines 1741-1930 Vol. I-V (Cambridge, MA; Belknap Press, 1958-1968). Quartos. All near fine in VG DJs, with some sunning to spines and a few tears. The first volume is a third printing, volumes two and three are fourth printings, and volumes four and five firsts. $300

This is a complete set of Mott’s monumental five-volume A History of American Magazines, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and many other awards. In each volume Mott dissects the magazine business, looking at all its facets, from editing and writing through to production and circulation. He also examines magazines by type — literary, religious, ladies, sporting, humor, etc. Finally all volumes are anchored by a substantial section devoted to the history of the most important magazines of the periods covered. Mott was an entertaining and skilled writer — the books are a pleasure to read. He was also an astute historian who had both broad and incisive observations on the trade that are exceedingly valuable. Of course, the volumes contain errors — no work of this sweep could avoid them — but the gold herein far exceeds the dross and is still the standard reference in the field fifty years after completion. Kenneth Murdock said of the set, “It should, and must, become a standard and indispensable item in the armory of every historian and writer concerned with the cultural history of the nation.“