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Bibliographical Jots and Jingles

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Matthew McLennan Young, author of Field & Tuer, The Leadenhall Press: A Checklist, shares with us his post-publication discovery of the cover and prospectus for the Leadenhall Press publication, Horn-Book Jingles.

Every bibliographer must be prepared for post-publication discovery. In my case, I hoped for it. I had stumbled upon and been captivated by an imaginative and energetic late Victorian London publisher whose history was all but unrecorded, yet who (I was to learn) enjoyed worldwide respect in his lifetime and was at the forefront of the revival of fine printing during the 1880s. Since the publisher’s archives did not survive, and prior scholarship was sketchy at best, I was curious to see what new information might come to light as a result of my efforts. I did not have to wait long.

Prospectus for Horn-Book Jingles (1896-7) (Photo courtesy of Peter Lobbenberg)

Prospectus for Horn-Book Jingles (1896-7) (Photo courtesy of Peter Lobbenberg)

Last June, shortly after my book appeared, a London chartered accountant named Peter Lobbenberg contacted me to say, “I was thrilled to discover, just today, your book on Andrew Tuer and the Leadenhall Press. I have immediately ordered it from Oak Knoll. I was blissfully unaware that there were other Leadenhall Press fans apart from me!” He was immediately able to correct me on a couple of relatively minor points and add several items to my list of known ephemera. No wonder: Peter has what may well be the most remarkable collection of Leadenhall Press books in private hands, including proof copies with original art, association copies, correspondence, prints, and scarce ephemera. Among the latter is the one-page prospectus for Horn-Book Jingles by Mrs. Arthur (Georgie) Gaskin, an item I had listed but not been able to locate, as well as a four-page version with order form that I had not found in my research. Peter and I now carry on a regular email dialogue on various aspects of the Press, its publications, and associations. I look forward to seeing his treasures some day soon.

Cover of Horn-Book Jingles and the original artwork by Georgie Gaskin (Photo used with permission of the Cotsen Children's Library, Princeton University Library)

Not two weeks after first hearing from Peter, I received an email from Andrea Immel, Curator of the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton, in which she wrote, “I discovered that some years ago Mr. Cotsen purchased all the artwork by Georgie Gaskin for the Leadenhall Press Horn-book Jingles. This is a horrible thing to do to a bibliographer who has just published a magnum opus, but I thought you’d rather know they survived than not!” I couldn’t have been more thrilled. A few days later I was able to compare the original art (drawn and hand-lettered on 73 sheets of card) with the printed pages and take photographs for reference. In turn, I was able to provide Andrea with additional provenance going back to the sale of part of Andrew Tuer’s collection after his death, at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge on July 17, 1900. (The drawings went to Maggs for £3, 3s.) As a result, I have been invited to provide a cover note for an upcoming issue of the Princeton University Library Chronicle.

Every discovery and bit of shared knowledge contributes to a more complete history of a publisher whose books deserve to be remembered and enjoyed today. I hope that, in due course, there will be enough new information to warrant a revised edition or addendum. In the mean time, I’m jotting down notes!

-Matthew McLennan Young

Click here to learn more about Matthew’s book, Field & Tuer, The Leadenhall Press.

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