2007 is drawing to a close. Folks are setting goals, evaluating old ones. For instance, a couple months ago I decided to go ahead and write a little on bookseller ephemera, my own book collecting, and getting a collector club started. I really shouldn't let the blog drift into a being all about "Stuff I couldn't afford on eBay". After all who wants to read about that? And look at this monster: Who would call that ephemera? I don't have absolute answers here, but I am the only one shouting into the darkness at this webress, so I get to do as I please. That, and I just had to share this wonderful object, even though it is not en route to my house. I tried. It looks to be a cast brass embossing stamp (embosser?) for EJ Copp & Company of Nashua, New Hampshire. I wonder if they used it on stationery, invoices and receipts, or if some of these embossed stamps made it into books. For shame! After some light digging at Google, a couple details about this man emerge. Like many men of his generation, EJ Copp was a veteran of the Civil War.
According to John H. Goodale, author of History of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire (Philadelphia: JW Lewis & Co., 1885) page 182, "In the battle of Drury's Bluff, May 13, 1864, while making an advance on Richmond, this regiment bore the "brunt" of the contest. Major James F. Randlett, now captain of a cavalry company in the regular army, was wounded. Adjutant Elbridge J. Copp, who, entering the service as a private at seventeen, had won promotion, was also wounded. On the 16th of August a fierce engagement took place at Deep Bottom, at which Adjutant E.J. Copp was severely wounded, which compelled him, in October following, to return to Nashua." An obit from 1887, for his father gives us a shade more info about his war service and the years after "Mr. Joseph Copp, a prominent citizen of Nashua, NH, died recently at 86. He left a married daughter and five sons, among the latter being Rev. H.B. Copp, Capt. C.D. Copp and Col. E.J. Copp, the last-named in command of the Second Regiment of the State National Guard."
I'm going to assume that Mr. Copp was not yet in business at the outbreak of the war, being 17 years old. However, it doesn't seem like he waited long after the war. An insurance report from a fire in Nashua in April 1870 records a slight loss at "C. D. & E. J. Copp, books, etc."
Well our stamp doesn't mention a CD Copp, so I have to track him down. Searching for a CD Copp from Nashua in the latter 1800s reveals one Capt. Charles Dearborne Copp. He turns out to be a Medal of Honor Winner. According to the internet, he was born April 12, 1840, entered the US Army from Nashua NH. He earned the Medal of Honor during the Battle of Fredricksburg December 13, 1862. "In action against Confederate forces, Second Lt. Charles Copp seized the regimental colors after the color bearer had been shot down, and waving them, rallied the regiment under heavy fire."
Being in the book business, Elbridge Copp's own contribution came to light in 1911. One bookseller describes Reminiscences of the War of the Rebellion 1861-1865. "Copp claimed to be the youngest commissioned officer in the Union Army during the war. This Scarce reminiscence of the 3rd NH volunteers is nicely done with numerous maps, illustrations and photos of members of the Regiment." One offering also includes this information "Long inscription by the author's widow: "Colonel Copp fought his last great battle, with his usual bravery and fortitude, in the summer of 1923, responding to the "roll call" on high on August 3rd, taps were sounded on August 6th." So, if we presume he was 17 in 1861, he would have been about 79 in 1923.