Monday, October 8, 2007

French and Richstein, booksellers, trade card

Isn't this gorgeous? I love the layout, the image, the typography. It all comes together very nicely. I've seen it described as a trade card and a voucher. Isn't it a bit long for a trade card? If it was a voucher of some kind, wouldn't it say something to that effect, or give a value? Is there anything on the back? Is it supposed to look like currency? Anyway, trying to nail down some years on this little gem. The capitol dome was completed with the statue on top by 1869. Wikipedia says 1863, but photos on the Library of Congress page dated 1864 show an uncompleted dome. Also, the dome looks a little tall and skinny in this photo. That could just be the artist's interpretation. I wonder when you could no longer drive your horse and buggy up to the front steps. A completed auction cites it to 1862, as part of a lot of souvenirs from DC from that year. In that case, the completed dome would be pure imagination, or based on another sketch.

Thanks to the Lincoln Log ( I know they were in business May 7, 1862, as President Abraham Lincoln (a documented bibliophile) ordered some books: "Library of the Executive Mansion" orders books from William F. Richstein, bookseller and dealer in foreign and American stationery, 278 Pennsylvania Ave. "1 set Hood's Poems $6.50, 1 Goldsmiths Poems $5.00, 1 Homes of American Authors $6.00." [Thomas Hood, Poems; Oliver Goldsmith, Poems; Homes of American Authors: Comprising Anecdotical, Personal, and Descriptive Sketches, by Various Writers . . ., New York, 1853.] Last item is paid for by President; others out of annual appropriation of $250 for books for White House per Benjamin B. French, Commissioner of Public Buildings." Pg. 180. (Pratt, Harry E. The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln. Springfield, IL: The Abraham Lincoln Association, 1943.)

I wonder if Benjamin B. French is the same French of French & Richstein...

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