Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Remembering F. Hopkinson Smith

F. Hopkinson Smith was a talented person who wore a lot of hats in his life. Not only was he an author and illustrator, but he was also a renowned engineer.

Francis Hopkinson Smith was born in Baltimore, Maryland on October 23, 1838 to Francis Hopkinson Smith Sr. and Susan Teackle. He left home at the age of 16 and found a job at a hardware store as a shipping clerk. One day he took a leap of faith and ventured up to New York. It took him a while to find a job, but he eventually secured a position at a iron firm thanks to family connections. He eventually got brave and started his own business, with his first major project being the ice-breaker surrounding the Bridgeport Lighthouse, which appeared in his book "Caleb West" and was his proudest accomplishment. He did several more jobs in the years following, but probably his most famous job was to build the foundation for the Statue of Liberty.

He married Josephine Van De Venter and had two children, Francis Berkeley Smith (who, as an author, binding designer and illustrator, was just as well known as his father if you are in the binding world), and Marion Smith.

Mrs. Josephine V. Smith from her 1921 passport application and F. Berkeley Smith from an ad in Publishers Weekly

It wasn't until Francis was 45 years old that he started to become serious about writing. His first book, "Old Lines in New Black and White" was published in 1885, but it wasn't until the publication of "Colonel Carter of Cartersville" in 1891 that he became famous. He wrote 29 books and was in the process of writing his 30th when he passed away on April 7, 1915. His son, F. Berkeley Smith, who, as stated earlier, was equally well known as an artist, binding designer, and author, completed the 30th volume titled Enoch Crane, which was published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1916.

Francis seemingly had a heart of gold and tried to always see the good in people, which was reflected in his writing. In an interview with the New York Times in 1905, he was quoted as saying "I believe that there is something fine, some spark of good, in the lowest human being, and I want to bring out that sort of thing." He also believed in using real life situations and people in his novels and based characters on people he knew in real life. A Mrs. Mary Morgan was the inspiration for Tom Grogan; Richard Horn and Mrs. Horn were based on his mother and father; and his most famous character, Colonel Carter, was based on several people, including his father, his uncle, and one or two others.

He was also a lover of pets, especially dogs. He was quoted in the same New York Times interview  as saying, "When you've said that a man is 'a good human dog,' I should like to know what greater compliment you can give him." It's a shame being called a dog in these times doesn't carry quite the compliment it might have in the past.

In honor of the anniversary of the passing of this fascinating man, here are a handful of his works we have in our trade bindings collection.

Published by Houghton, Mifflin and Co. in 1892

Variant binding published by Houghton, Mifflin and Co. in 1892

Published by Houghton, Mifflin, and Co. in 1889. Binding by Sarah Whitman

Published by Houghton, Mifflin and Co. in 1899. Binding by Sarah Whitman

Published by Houghton, Mifflin and Company. Binding attributed to Bruce Rogers

Published by Houghton, Mifflin and Co. in 1899. Binding signed "S", probably F. Berkeley Smith

Published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1907

Published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1906. Binding by F. Berkeley Smith


1. "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WHK-L71 : 10 February 2018), Francis Hopkinson Smith, 07 Apr 1915; citing Death, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,372.

2. Obituary Notes. (1915, April 10). Publishers Weekly, 87(15), 1129.

3. Enoch Crane. (1916, September 16). Publishers Weekly, 90(12), 861.

4. "United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKDF-4CN9 : 16 March 2018), Josephine Vanderenter Smith, 1921; citing Passport Application, New York, United States, source certificate #51086, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 1652, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

5. A LITTLE HEART-TO-HEART TALK WITH F. HOPKINSON SMITH. (1905, Jan 29). New York Times (1857-1922) Retrieved from https://login.libproxy.uncg.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/96568348?accountid=14604

6. A Village of Vagabonds. (1910, May 28). Publishers Weekly, 77(22), 2072.

7. American Publishers Trade Bindings. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2020, from http://libcdm1.uncg.edu/cdm/tradebindings

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April on the high seas

Hello again from Paul and Callie, your friends at American Trade Bindings and Beyond!  The beginning of spring, and this first day of this new month of April, seemed like a good time to re-introduce the blog after a long hiatus.  During these uncertain and tumultuous times, when so many of us are working from home, it might be soothing to simply enjoy some bindings.  With this in mind, we offer here a selection of designs on nautical themes for your pleasure.

Let’s begin with a delightfully surreal design of a ship inexplicably anchored in a treetop, by George Washington Hood.

It’s hard to fathom what this book might be about, but a brief review in American Motherhood (Dec. 1909) helps a little:
“Hidden treasures and lost children are always fascinating subjects for childhood.  In “The Helter-Skelters” we have both, as well as a dear, lovable little lame girl, an old sailor man, a sea captain and a merry crowd of girls and boys known as “The Scowling Scots,” who are really the “Helter-Skelters”—most lovable and lively.”  
Deep indeed! So, a children’s story ... but what about that ship in a tree?

To provide some context for the following binding designs, I’d like to relate a brief tale passed down through my family for generations.  So, with your indulgence...

Willem Finn loved to sail.  A man of independent means and stout spirit, he was the proud owner of a square rigged three-master that he christened the Petrel.

His greatest pleasure was the sea, and his secret wish was to sail around the world and spend the rest of his days on the water.  But to do this he needed a crew.

Now, Captain Finn was no pirate, but it can't be denied that he shanghaied his crew by promising each a tour of his ship and perhaps a short cruise.  The "short cruise" never ended, however, and perhaps from some defect in character in the crewmen, or perhaps due to some strange power the Captain exercised (or maybe it was the laudanum-infused hardtack he fed them), the crew rarely escaped the ship, either at the outset or when Finn was re-provisioning.

But the Captain now faced a dilemma; his most recent recruit, Benton, was proving immune to the charms of the sea and sailing with him.  Though they often sailed accompanied by dolphins and saw wondrous sea life, it made little difference to Benton.  Where the rest of the crew could be listless, Benton was despondent.

When not moodily attending to his work, he often complained of his situation and loudly wished he was anywhere but on the Petrel.  After several weeks the Captain told Benton to stop his caterwauling, as there might soon be a change in his situation.

 They sailed for many days, through rough seas and smooth, until -- at last -- land appeared on the horizon!  Much of the day was spent approaching the coast, and the Petrel dropped anchor in early evening with the cliffs of the unknown land a short distance off to the west.  

 In the morning they sailed on, rounding a rocky promontory before sighting the low coastline that curved on before them.  They took care in entering the large, open bay as the water grew more shallow, finally anchoring several hundred yards offshore.

Captain Finn took Benton to the rail facing the shore and spoke his piece.  “I know you’ve not been happy, you scurvy dog,” he said affectionately.  “And while I’d hate to lose you, I’ll offer you a choice which everyone has received but few have taken.  You are most welcome to stay on board and we’ll continue our adventure and one day circle the globe.  Or, if you wish, you may leave us now and be taken to shore on the last of our flatboats.” 

“I’ll leave,” Benton replied immediately.

“Consider very carefully—though that gently curving coast may seem peaceful, the waves are rough and there are cliffs inland which must be climbed. It's a long trek before you’ll encounter any inhabited land, though you’ll find sufficient food and water on the journey.  Why take that route when the others remain with me on the Petrel?”

“No, Captain, I’m leaving.  I can’t speak for any of the others, but in my opinion 

your barque

is worse than

your bight.”

 Who doesn't love a nice shaggy dog?

Alas, not even the captain's beloved shaggy dog, Jester of Monmouth, could convince Benton to stay.

We hope you've enjoyed this riveting tale on this, the first day of April.  We’ll return before long with a post on a puzzle we encountered recently.  There will be bindings, of course, but the subject falls more in the “and beyond” of our blog...

Until then, we hope everyone is doing well -- and please take care of yourselves!

Guest bindings (in order of appearance) …..

Daulton, George.  The Helter skelters.  New York: Frederick Stokes, 1909.  Signed GWH, George Washington Hood.
Hains, T. Jenkins.  The cruise of the Petrel.  New York: A. Wessels Co., 1906.  Signed FP, Florence Pearl England Nosworthy.
Davenport, Charlotte C. Shepherd.  A round-the-word jingle.  Boston: Thomas Todd Company, Printers, 1918.  Unsigned, unidentified.
Frothingham, Jessie Peabody.  Sea-wolves of seven shores.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1904.  Signed DD, Decorative Designers.
Page, Thomas Nelson.  Elsket.  New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1891.  Unsigned, by Margaret Armstrong.
Stockton, Frank R.  John Gayther’s garden and the stories told therein.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902.  Signed EWC, Evelyn W. Clark.
Parrish, Randall.  The last voyage of the Donna Isabel.  Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co., 1908.  Signed GM,  Guernsey Moore.
Masefield, John.  Salt-water poems and ballads.  New York: Macmillan, 1916.  Signed GH, possibly George Washington Hood.
Humphrey, L. H.  The poetic old-world.  New York: Henry Holt, 1909.  Signed BS, Bertha Stuart.
Smith, Francis Hopkinson.  The tides of Barnegat.  New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906.  Signed BS, Frank Berkeley Smith.
Crosby, Irving B.  Boston through the ages.  Boston: Marshall Jones Company, 1928.  Signed TBH, Theodore Brown Hapgood.
Walworth, Ellen H.  An old world as seen through young eyes, or, Travels around the world.  New York: D. & J. Sadlier & Company, 1877.  Unsigned, unidentified.
Eggleston, George Cary.  The last of the flatboats.  Boston: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1900.  Signed M within circle (unidentified)
Baring-Gould, S.  Winefred.  Boston: L.C. Page & Co., 1900.  Signed with Amy M. Sacker’s monogram.
Wheelright, John T.  A bad penny.  Boston: L.C. Page & Company, 1901.  Signed AB, Alfred Brennan.
Richards, Laura E.  Love and rocks.  Boston: Estes and Lauriat, 1898.  Unsigned, by Amy M. Sacker.
Phelps, Elizabeth Stuart.  Loveliness. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1899. Picture by Sarah S. Stilwell, lettering possibly by or after Sarah Whitman.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Holiday greetings for 2019

We wish you a joyous holiday season!

Illustrated by L.J. Bridgman.  Boston: L.C. Page & Co., 1904.

Illustrated by Harriet O'Brien.  Boston: L.C. Page, 1912.

From our little cousins, 

Boston: Little, Brown, 1906.  Illustrations from drawings by Alice Barber Stephens.


the Decorative Designers,

and your friends, Paul and Callie, at American Trade Bindings and Beyond.*

*American Trade Bindings and Beyond will return in early 2020.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Marion Peabody update!

Remember our blog post about Marion Peabody, the binding designer, whom we posted about way back in 2015? If not, go check it out! You can even see the photograph of her that we found in passport records.

Anyway, we have an update thanks to the sleuthing of Linda Obora! I was sitting at my desk in November of 2018 when a manila envelope was handed to me. Intrigued, I immediately opened it and pulled out the enclosed papers and letter. The letter was from Linda Obora, a genealogy researcher, and she had traced information about Marion and found her death date. Not only did she provide this information, but also was able to send us a copy of her death certificate and (drum roll, please) her WILL! How awesome is that? Thank you so much, Linda! 

Luckily, her research helped answer some of the unknowns from the previous post. We had found a tombstone that looked very much like it was Marion's, but we couldn't find that one missing link that definitively said that this was indeed "our" Marion. These documents linked everything together. So without delay, I want to share with you what Linda found. 

Marion Louise Peabody died January 9, 1937 at 6:15 pm in her home at Via Mario del Fiori, 16, Rome, Italy. 

There's just something about being able to see the same cobble stone streets she would have walked, probably the same door that she would have opened day in and day out, the same scenery she would have walked past on the way to pick up some things at the market--it makes her life more "real". Thankfully, Google Maps gives us this ability to see these things without physically being there. Check it out!

She died from cancer of the liver which was certified by her physician, Dr. Giulio Brocchieri. She was cremated and then buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Testaccio, Rome (the resting place of John Keats, Percy Shelley). The death certificate even spells out the exact plot in the cemetery where she was buried

Here is her tombstone, courtesy of Find a Grave.

It reads:

Qui le ceneri
lassu l'anima angelica 
Marion L. Peabody
di Boston, Mass., U.S.A. 
Diletta dal signore
nella bontae nella sofferenza
le sia premio
la vita eterna
Roma 9, Gennaio 1937

(transcription from Find a Grave; "bontae" should read "bonta e")

Her brother in law, Lionel Simeon Marks (husband of Josephine Peabody, the famous author), was notified of her death by a telegraph sent to Harvard University, where he was employed, on January 9, 1937 and January 10, 1937. Josephine had died in 1922, so it's telling that her brother-in-law was the one notified. Marion's passport was destroyed on January 11, 1937, a scant two days after she passed. J. Wesley Jones, the vice consul of the United States of America, signed off on her death certificate which was officially filed February 5, 1937.  Her effects were left in the care of a Mr. Luigi Trombetti, the executor of the will. 

It never ceases to amaze me that you can find so much information on a death certificate. 

But now I was curious about Mr. Luigi Trombetti. Who was he--a friend? Simply her lawyer? My attention turned to the translated three page copy of the will that Linda included with the death certificate and letter. You can glean so much information from a will. You find out who was most important or closest to the deceased--well, important enough to warrant leaving them something at any rate. You can peer into their personal lives a little more and find out what things were dear enough to them to want the items to go to someone instead of just being disposed of.

Remember, Marion never married and was a self-sufficient woman who was living in Italy in 1937. Why is that important? Italy was living under the rule of Benito Mussolini. The Rome-Berlin Axis was established in 1936, but Italy had been living under a fascist government long before that. What was that like for her? 

Anyway, back to the will. 

Marion made her will on December 31, 1936, which, as the document points out, is the 15th year of the Fascist Era, at her home on the second floor of number 16, Via Mario del Fiori. Five people, in addition to Marion, were present to serve as witnesses while the will was created:
-Igino Clementi, an Italian notary; 
-John Wesley Jones, who we've already established was the Vice Consul of the United States of America and signed her death certificate; 
-Graham Erskine, an American architect;
-Giovanni Bizzarri, an Italian clerk;
-Pasquale Blasi, an Italian clerk.

The will identifies Marion as "Miss Marion Louise Peabody, daughter of the late Carlo". We learned in the first blog post that she was, in fact, the daughter of Charles (thus Carlo) K. Peabody who died in 1884 when Marion was 15. The will states that she's "ill in bed", so we know the cancer was debilitating at this point, and that Marion died just over a week later. 

The will starts with her niece Alison Peabody Marks, daughter of her sister Josephine Peabody Marks and Lionel Marks. Marion left her several rings (which were thoroughly described), a heart studded with diamonds, silver spoons, and a color picture of Josephine. 

Lionel Peabody Marks, her nephew, was left four decanters with a stand which belonged to her great, great grandmother 

Miss Dora Ohlfsen received two furs and 5000 lire. Say what?! Dora Ohlfsen-Bagge was a fascinating character who was a pianist, sculptor, painter, medallist, and had a brief stint (that we know of) as a spy. A spy, y'all! She and her lifelong companion met an untimely death in 1948 when they were found in their gas filled studio. Police ruled it accidental deaths, but some suspect it was a suicide pact.

Baroness Hélène de Kuegelgen, the companion of Dora Ohlfsen-Bagge and the individual who died with her, was left 5000 lire. 

Marion left Countess Frances du Besse two writing desks.

Mrs. Lia Trombetti Lardel received  a table from the drawing room and an ornate piece of furniture from the hallway.

The Reverend of the American church in Rome, Samuel Tyler, was left Marion's copies of books written by her sister, Josephine.  

The owner of the "Felix" library, Mr. Michele _________ was left the rest of her book collection. 

Mr. Alfredo Cifani was left a writing desk, his choice of chest of drawers or writing desk, and a bureau with the American coat of arms on it. 

Marion remembered her maids in her will as well. To Firmina Ferrari, "Irma" she left all of the kitchen contents including the furniture and utensils, all the contents of the entrance hall, the wardrobe in her bedroom, half of the table service, and half of her clothes and underclothes, though she did specify that Irma couldn't have the silk underclothes. She additionally left her 800 lire. To her other maid, Elvira Ruggieri, she left the other half of her clothes and underclothes (specifying again to not touch the silk) and 800 lire. 

Then, finally, we discover a little bit more about Mr. Luigi Trombetti. Marion left twenty-five lire apiece to Maria Letizia and Maria Immacoleta Trombetti, daughters of Avvocato Luigi Trombetti. So he definitely was a lawyer, but Marion goes on to give hints to their relationship later on in the paragraph saying, "as a token of gratitude for the brotherly and disinterested assistance their father has given me during the last seven years and of the esteem and friendship which I have felt and always shall feel for him." So in answer to my earlier questions, we now know he was both a lawyer and a friend. 

She closed her will with "I remember with affection all my relatives and friends." 

Marion was truly an interesting and fascinating character. She kept company with countesses, baronesses, painters, sculptures, lawyers, and most interestingly to me, a spy. We know her best here at Jackson Library as an accomplished binding designer and didn't want to end this post without a look at some of her work. 

Thanks again to Linda Obera, who did the leg work which offered us a glimpse into Marion Peabody's personal life. I love the fact that we can connect with people we otherwise wouldn't have through this blog. 

Paris and the social revolution : a study of the revolutionary elements in the various classes of Parisian society

Published by Small, Maynard & Company in 1905.

Caleb Trench

Published by Little, Brown, and Company in 1910.

Little Brother o' Dreams 

Published by Houghton, Mifflin Co. in 1910.

Appropriately, we'll end this post with a binding she created for her beloved sister, Josephine Preston Peabody's, book The Wayfarerers.  Published by Copeland and Day, 1898.

Friday, December 22, 2017

A Christmas Wish: Mammoth Cheese on the Hearthstone

Once again Christmas has crept up on us.  We’re through the solstice turn and are in the final stretch of 2017.  

However, I’m devastated to say that I’ve never heard that Santa delivers binding images, even to the best behaved, which prompted this bitter image. 

Cover by Margaret Armstrong

To celebrate the holiday season appropriately, AmericanTrade Bindings and Beyond is pleased to offer two gifts for your enjoyment.  I must note that these images are not re-gifted; in fact, two are so new that they have not even made it onto our website.

The first is a stocking stuffer, fit to mingle with the knick-knacks, unshelled nuts, candies, fruits and, of course, the chocolate covered marshmallow Santas.  You’ll need a jumbo stocking for this one, however, as it is 610 pages and comes in a whopping 10 ½ x 8 x 1 ½ inch case.

Truman, Ben. C.  History of the World's Fair, being a complete and authentic description of the Columbian Exposition from its inception. With special articles by Geo. R. Davis, Thos. W. Palmer, Mrs. Potter Palmer, Moses P. Handy, D.H. Burnham, John Thorpe, Thomas B. Bryan, and numerous other people prominently connected with the Exposition. Profusely illustrated with engravings made from photographs and drawings of exhibits in the various departments.  Johnsons, N.Y.: Star Publishing Co., 1893.

And to make it even more enticing-- it does not have a marshmallow center; instead it contains a cheese filling!   To pique your interest, here’s a peek under the wrapper:

Our second book comes in two varieties.  Since I couldn’t choose-- here are both.

Holloway, Laura C.  The hearthstone; or, Life at home. A household manual. Containing hints and helps for home making; home furnishing; decorations; amusements; health directions; the sick-room; the nursery; the library; the laundry; etc. Together with a complete cookery book.  Beloit, Wis.: The Inter-State Publishing House, 1883.

There’s a reason for this pairing but I’m not going to reveal it until after the 25th.  Since we’re on holiday for the rest of the month, however, you’ll have to wait until 2018.  But the revelation will certainly make the delay worthwhile as the new year promises a strange journey to premature smacking, bibles, offensive teeth, dummies, mysterious places of publication, theosophy, wandering agents, mysterious publishers, surprising uses for beef tea, and, of course, mammoth cheese.