A meanly produced publishing phenomenon, Carter & Barker, in the 8th ABC, describe them thusly: “Small pamphlets of popular, sensational, juvenile, moral or educational character, originally distributed by chapmen or hawkers, not by booksellers.”
If one dips into Neuberg’s CHAPBOOK BIBLIOGRAPHY, we find this genre had “by 1700, [become] an important part of the [chapman's] stock-in-trade … whose varied subject matter included devils, angels, scoundrels, heroes, love, hate, fairy tales, religion, fables, shipwreck, executions, prophecies and fortune telling. … During the eighteenth century chapbooks formed the main reading matter for the poor.” Though around for centuries, the chapbook, as a viable publishing genre, had mostly expired towards the end of the 19th C, except as Carter noted, “as a conscious archaism.”
Despite oft being an object of acquisition by collectors, one can still find these little volumes floating about, and offered at [comparatively] modest prices such that building a pleasing & extensive collection of these modest works is not beyond the means of the ‘average’ person [however such a term may be defined].
Here then is Tavistock Books’ list for September. A small cache of 30 chapbooks, primarily for children, primarly American, primarily 19th Century. Prices range from a modest $45 to a decidely robust $2000, for one that will be found in David Block’s ground breaking work, BASEBALL BEFORE WE KNEW IT. Many titles offered are the only copy on the market; one or two not found on OCLC.
Should you have queries regarding any of this material, or other listings you may find on our site, please contact us. We thank you for your attention, and we hope you find something of interest while browsing these offerings.
Cataloguing chapbooks is a task both challenging and engaging, as evidenced by the list of sources used to catalogue this month’s list of select acquisitions.
American Imprints. AMERICAN BIBLIOGRAPHY. A Preliminary Checklist. 1801 – 1846. NY [et al]: Scarecrow Pres, 1958-1997.
Arndt & Eck. The FIRST CENTURY Of GERMAN LANGUAGE PRINTING In The UNITED STATES Of AMERICA. Göttingen: 1989.
BAL. Blanck, Jacob [et al]. BIBLIOGRAPHY Of AMERICAN LITERATURE. New Haven: 1955 – 1991.
Block, David. BASEBALL BEFORE WE KNEW IT. A Search for the Roots of the Game. Lincoln: (2005).
Cappon & Brown. NEW MARKET, VIRGINIA, IMPRINTS 1806 – 1876. A Check-list. Charlottesville: 1942.
Church. Cole, George Watson – Compiler. A CATALOGUE Of BOOKS Relating to The Discovery and Early History of North and South America Forming a Part of the Library of E. D. Church. NY: Peter Smith, 1951.
Cropper, Percy J. The NOTTINGHAMSHIRE PRINTED CHAP-BOOKS, with Notices of Their Printers and Vendors. 1892.
Davis, Roger. KENDREW Of YORK and His Chapbooks for Children. Elmete Press, 1988.
ESTC. ENGLISH SHORT TITLE CATALOGUE. http://estc.bl.uk
Gumuchian. Les LIVRES De L’ENFANCE du XVe au XIXe Siècle. London: Holland Press, 1985.
Hamilton, Sinclair. EARLY AMERICAN BOOK ILLUSTRATORS And WOOD ENGRAVERS. 1670-1870. Princeton: 1968.
Heartman, Charles F. The NEW ENGLAND PRIMER Issued Prior to 1830. 1922.
[-]. AMERICAN PRIMERS. INDIAN PRIMERS. ROYAL PRIMERS. And Thirty-Seven Other Types of non-New-England Primers Issued Prior to 1830. Highland Park: 1935.
NCBEL. The NEW CAMBRIDGE BIBLIOGRAPHY Of ENGLISH LITERATURE. Cambridge: 1969 – 1977.
NUC. NATIONAL UNION CATALOGUE. Pre-1956 Imprints.
Opie, Iona & Peter. The OXFORD DICTIONARY Of NURSERY RHYMES. Oxford: (1951).
Osborne. The OSBORNE COLLECTION Of EARLY CHILDREN’S BOOKS 1566-1910. Toronto: TPL, 1975.
Rosenbach, A.S.W. EARLY AMERICAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS. NY: Dover, 1971.
Spencer. A CATALOGUE Of The SPENCER COLLECTION Of EARLY CHILDREN’S BOOK And CHAPBOOKS. Preston: 1967.
Weiss, Harry B. SAMUEL WOOD & SONS. Early New York Publishers of Children’s Books. NY: 1942.
Welch, d’Alté A. A BIBLIOGRAPHY Of AMERICAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS Printed Prior to 1821. Worcester: AAS, 1972.
Wust. THREE HUNDRED YEARS Of GERMAN IMMIGRANTS In NORTH AMERICA 1683-1983. 1983.