Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nebraska to Texas to Massachusetts to Oklahoma....

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I've seen one of these style labels before, from Wesley Jones of Iowa. It has been digitally captured for the American Book Trade Index and can be found here.

I didn't realize when I saw the Jones piece it was a bookseller label. It was called a small trade card. I let it pass. I was later suspicious it was actually a label and my heart sank a little. You see, book trade labels are probably my favorite type of book trade ephemera. Anyway, although I am from Nebraska originally, I have never seen this label before and was thrilled to find it and add it to my album. For one, it's just purdy.

After a quick googleing, I hit on Ideson Library in Houston Texas. Named for one Julia Bedford Ideson, who just happened to have been born in Hastings, Nebraska. Now, Hastings is one of Nebraska's larger towns, but I doubt many Idesons lived there around the turn of the century, which is about when this label was in use. The one other of these die-cut leaf labels I've seen was ballparked to about 1890-1900. I don't think it's much of a stretch for the daughter of a bookman to become a librarian. Her short bio on HoustonHistory.com filled in some very helpful blanks.

Julia Bedford Ideson, is largely credited with developing the Houston public library system into the institution it is today. She was born on July 15, 1880, in Hastings, Nebraska, to Rosalie (Beasman) and John Castree Ideson. She attended Hastings public schools until 1891, when her father moved the family to Houston. After graduating from Houston public schools, she entered the University of Texas at Austin as a member of the first class to study library science at that institution.

So, the JC is John Castree and the label would be more appropriately dated to the 1880s-1890s, as the family had left in 1891. I wonder if Mr. Ideson continued to sell books in Houston? His daughter certainly continued a love of books. Even more about this fascinating woman can be found in a nice article in the Handbook of Texas Online.

After a little further investigation, I found a short blurb with a short bio on JC Ideson:
JOHN C. IDESON, of the firm of J. C. Ideson & Co., books, stationery, etc., was born in New York City in 1848, removing with his parents when quite young to Geneva, Ontario Co., N. Y., residing there with them until eighteen years of age. He was then employed as traveling salesman for a nursery for some six years. In 1872, he went to Houston, Tex., where he engaged in the stationery and book business in company with G. W. Baldwin. They carried on business together for five years, after which Mr. Ideson returned to his home in New York State. He came to Nebraska in 1878, and located in Hastings. He purchased 600 acres of land in Hamilton Co., Neb., and was engaged in improving the same until February, 1879, when he engaged in his present business in company with his brother, A. B. Ideson. He confines himself to the management of this business..."

The blurb on AB Ideson does not add any information to the book selling history we glean from JC's article. So, Mr. Ideson was moving to familiar territory when he went to Houston, Texas with a young family. Also, from this we can date the label starting in 1879 and ending in 1891. That's about as good as it gets...

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1 comment:

Chris Lowenstein said...

Isn't it fun to do this kind of research? It is one of my favorite aspects of the bookish life.
Chris