Friday, January 11, 2008

AA and Ephemera Collecting

A recent arrival for my collection. Typically I buy items and put them away once a decent image is uploaded to the American Book Trade Index. Then I'll go back and poke around, recording details as I can find in bibliographies and Google. Blah, blah, blah, but it is a lot of fun, and odd things turn up. This advertising cover is a great example.

Some details: 1875 is in the round part along the roof line of the building. What's that round bit of wall that sticks up called anyway? The sign at the top of the building says "Rialto Block". A sign below the top row of windows reads "Journal Bindery". The address under the engraving says "State St., Montpelier, Vt.". I looked a bit for a Clarks Journal in Montpelier, and didn't find much. A JD Clark is listed as a bookbinder on the Rialto Block in an 1887-8 Directory. So, according to the cancellation mark on the cover, and the directory, we can place Clark-Journal Bindery at least from 1883-1888.

I thought I would try looking for the addressee, a Judge Walter P. Smith. Well, it turns out he's the father of Robert Holbrook Smith. Robert H. Smith is generally known as Dr. Bob, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. The enclosure from the envelope is long gone. I imagine it would have been a bill or a quote for binding ledgers or some such thing. The Clarks Journal sounds like a bindery attached to a newspaper. These kinds of operations did a lot of ledger and similar binding.

So, does the Rialto Block on State Street still stand in Montpelier?

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