University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Trade Catalogs at the University of Delaware Library:

Printing, Publishing, and the Book Trades

One of the great strengths of the University of Delaware's Special Collections is the history of printing and the book arts. The collection ranges from early technical manuals on printing and papermaking to manuscript collections of modern fine press printers. Trade literature includes booksellers' catalogs from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries as well as companies involved in all aspects of printing and publishing. The development of color printing technology can be illustrated through these trade catalogs, particularly the era of chromolithography during the late nineteenth century.


Greenleaf's Book Store.
Catalogue of the Choicest of the Books and Stationary in Said Store, November, 1796: Where All Orders from the Country Are Faithfully Attended To, and Libraries Supplied at a Discount. New York: Printed by said Greenleaf ..., 1796.

This scarce, eighteenth-century American bookseller's catalog was issued by Thomas Greenleaf, a well-known printer who is remembered today for his newspaper, the New York Journal.

John Dabney.
Catalogue of Books, for Sale or Circulation in Town or Country, by John Dabney, at His Book and Stationary Store, and Circulating Library, in Salem:... Salem: J. Dabney, 1801.

Among the subjects Dabney advertised are divinity, history, biography, travels, voyages, memoirs, miscellanies, novels and poetry.

M. Carey & Son.
Modern Publications and New Editions of Valuable Standard Works. Philadelphia: The Company, 1817.

An early catalog from the Philadelphia bookseller and publisher Matthew Carey. By this date his son Henry had joined the firm.

Cummings & Hilliard.
Cheap List: a Catalogue of Books, Including Many That Are Rare and Valuable in Every Branch of Literature and Science: for Sale, at the Prices Affixed, by Cummings & Hillard, No. 1, Cornhill, Boston. Boston: Cummings & Hilliard, 1822.

The books in this list are cheap because, according to the ad, while they are valuable they have become "dead stock." They are "large and of gloomy aspect, to which room cannot be afforded, except in a chamber or obscure corners of the store, where from their being scattered, as well as from the obscurity of their residence, they could attract but little or no attention."

James Madden & Co..
James Madden's Oriental Catalogue for 1847: Persian. London: The Company, 1847.

An interesting catalog from an English bookseller specializing in Oriental literature.

H. Long & Brother.
Circular to the Trade. New York: The Company, ca. 1850.

Trade circular from this New York publisher and bookseller listing a wide range of books and magazines for sale, as well as forthcoming publications.

F.H. Parsons.
New Illustrated Catalogue of F.H. Parsons, Westboro, Mass. Westboro, Mass.: The Company, ca. 1870.

This firm's offerings include books on elocution, curing bashfulness, guides to rapid wealth, fortune telling, and a variety of other publications which are not that different from their contemporary counterparts.

Henry Holt & Co.
The Indiscretions of the Duchess by Anthony Hope. New York: Henry Holt, ca 1894.

Chromolithographic advertising poster.

Bearings. The Cycling Authority of America.
Chicago: The Authority, ca.1895.

Chromolithographic advertising poster.

J. B. Lippincott Co.
Just Issued The Ape the Idiot & Other People by W. C. Morrow.
Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co., 1897.

Chromolithographic advertising poster.

The Roycroft Catalog of Books and Things. East Aurora, N.Y.: Roycroft Shop, 1909.

Elbert Hubbard, inspired by the teachings of William Morris, established the Roycroft Shop in 1895 as an artists' community. The group designed, produced and sold books, pottery, and metal work. Each book was a work of art with great attention paid to layout, typography and binding. Many of the titles in this catalog were available in a variety of bindings ranging from $2.00 for paper boards to $50.00 for modeled and carved leather.

Printing Trades

Ronaldson, James, 1768-1842.
Specimen of Printing Type, from the Letter Foundry of James Ronaldson, Successor to Binny & Ronaldson; Cedar, Between Ninth and Tenth Streets, Philadelphia. Philadelphia: J. Ronaldson, 1822.

Born in Scotland in 1768, James Ronaldson emigrated to Philadelphia and in 1796 established, with Archibald Binny, the type foundry Binny & Ronaldson which issued the first American type specimen book in 1812. Following Binny's retirement, Ronaldson maintained the firm and issued this specimen book under his own name.

J. Howe & Co.
A Specimen of Metal Ornaments and Job Type, Cast, and for Sale, at the Stereotype Foundry of J. Howe, Corner of Crown and Callowhill Streets, Philadelphia. Philadelphia: J. Howe, 1823.

J. Howe & Co. was one of the leading nineteenth-century American stereotype foundries. In his prefatory "To the Public," Jedediah Howe outlines the advantages of stereotyping which had come under attack from traditional type founders.

Boston Type and Stereotype Foundry.
Specimen of Printing Types from the Boston Type and Stereotype Foundry. Boston: Dutton and Wentwork, printer, 1828.

This firm originated as a branch of Elihu White's New York Foundry in 1817, but was sold and became the Boston Type Foundry in 1820. When stereotyping, a process which utilized printing plates made from set up type, was introduced in America, the Boston Type Foundry became a major producer of stereotype plates.

Journal des Peintres. Paris: Firmin Didot, ca. 1835.

This book of specimens from the important French family of type founders, printers, and publishers contains examples of type and the hand-colored plates Didot produced for Journal des Peintres.

George B. Lothian.
Specimen of Printing Types. New York: G.B. Lothian, 1841.

George Lothian, who learned his craft from his father Robert Lothian, became one of the most highly-respected American type founders of the nineteenth century. This particular catalog is one of the scarcest American type specimen books. Displayed is the famous text from Cicero, "Quousque tandem abutere, Catililina, patienta nostra?..." which became a tradition in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century type specimen books.

R. Hoe & Company.
R. Hoe & Co., Manufacturers of Type-revolving, Perfecting, Single and Double Cylinder and Adams' Printing Machines, Washington and Smith Hand-presses Self-inking Machines, etc. New York: The Company, 1871.

Founded in New York in 1805 by Robert Hoe, an English carpenter who immigrated to the United States in 1803, R. Hoe and Company became one of the most important American manufacturer's of printing machines and equipment. The firm was also a pioneer in the development of new printing technology.

American Type Founders Company.
Libro De Muestras De Tipos. New York: The Foundry, 1896.

Founded in 1891, the American Type Founders Company (ATF) consolidated twenty separate type founders and became the leading American type and printing equipment business. This specimen book appears to represent an attempt to capture a portion of the Spanish-language market for type.

Queen City Printing Ink Company.
Specimens of Black and Colored Inks. Cincinnati: The Company, ca. 1900.

Fiftieth Anniversary Specimen Book. Cincinnati: The Company, 1910.

Two catalogs from this important Cincinnati manufacturer of printing inks. They contain striking color samples and designs.

Moehle Lithographic Company.
Cigar Labels. Brooklyn: The Company, ca. 1906.

A unique printer's sample book of chromolithography, with each sample label incorporating embossed printing as well as full color, and gold and silver. The catalog includes 132 plates of large labels and 16 pages of cigar bands.

Geo. H. Morrill Co.
Printing and Lithographic Inks. Norwood, Mass.: The Company, ca. 1910.

This catalog contains a colorful array of plates which serve to advertise the wide variety of inks and colors Morrill manufactured.

National Printing & Engraving Co., New York.
Stock Hangers, Cards and Posters for Advertising Fairs, Carnivals, Athletic Events ... New York: The Company, 1912.

Hennegan & Co.
Lithographers, Engravers, Printers, Designers. Cincinnati: The Company, ca. 1915.

During the nineteenth century, Cincinnati became one of the important centers for chromolithograph printers. This catalog by one of the city's many printers includes a striking chromolithograph cover and plates as testimony to the firm's expertise.

Continental Paper & Bag Corporation.
Grocer Bag Advertising Designs for Retail Merchants. New York: The Company, 1936.

Suggestions for Printed Millinery and Notion Bags. New York: The Company, ca. 1930.

Fort Howard Paper Company.
Admats Custom and Stock Designs. Green Bay, Wisc.: The Company, 1962.

This fascinating catalog contains samples of advertising placemats Fort Howard Paper Company did for a variety of restaurants and other retailers.

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