The Acquisitions Table: Archive of American Publishers’ Ephemera

Archive of American Publishers’ Ephemera, 1840-1900, 216 pieces.

The American Antiquarian Society’s collection of American ephemera includes much material related to the book and printing trades, including bookplates, binders’ tickets, and trade cards for printers and publishers.  A recent donation in honor of long time ephemera dealer and collector Joseph Freedman (who passed away in January of 2013), expanded the collection greatly.  The new material includes over two hundred examples of printer’s bill heads, trade cards, and advertising handbills from large urban centers like Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, as well as smaller towns like New Bedford, Massachusetts, York, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio.  These receipts for orders, detailed bills for printing jobs, and lists of supplies all help to reconstruct the vibrant printing history of the United States in the last half of the nineteenth century.  Some highlights include an 1841 letter from lithographer George Endicott complaining to his landlord about a leaky roof, a bill from printer Augustus Kollner for book illustrations for a genealogy, an elegant engraved trade card for printmaker J. B Longacre, and an invitation to a typographer’s ball in Philadelphia.

Published by

Lauren Hewes

Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts, American Antiquarian Society

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