This little advertising
calendar (3.875 x 2.375) from 1880 from Altemus & Co. points
out the company's ability to manufacture whatever type of book the
client wanted. At this time Altemus had not been routinely publishing
reading books on its own imprint. Bibles, photographic albums and
scrapbooks were the mainstay of their own imprint's publishing business
but Altemus was very busy publishing for the needs of others.
Here is an early check made out
by an employee of Altemus & Co. Of
interest is a reference seen which referred to J. S. Young and Altemus
regarding an 1865 donation to Union causes.
This 1884 item printed by
Altemus appears to be a promissory note. This
"check" is different from previous ones seen as noted by the picture
not present on others.
Here is yet another check
printed by Altemus & Co. at the turn of
the century. This one is of interest because the company the check was
issued for was in New Jersey as opposed to Pennsylvania.
is another check published by Altemus & Company for a
bank. This was printed at the turn of the century. Although the books
had the Henry Altemus imprint, the paper items had the Altemus
& Company imprint.
This check was printed by
Altemus & Co. as noted by the imprint on
the bottom left. Most of the printing work done by Altemus was for
Here is a 1927 letter from the
Henry Altemus Company to an unknown Book Review Editor touting the
greatness of the Wages of Peril written by Jack Bechdolt. The letter
summarizes the plot of the book.
There is a note on the bottom of the letter which says "Did not
As has been noted, Altemus
& Co. continued to produce blank books, ledgers, etc. while
they published books (as late as the 1930's). Here are two envelopes
with the Fourth Street address. These envelopes are both postmarked in
Finding these blank books and ledgers is difficult because they are
frequently not identified as being the product of the Altemus house.
Here is a pre-1900 Altemus
envelope. The Henkel & Co. Printers and Publishers was founded
in 1806. It still operates today.
Envelope- Advertising Cover
This is a very rare Altemus
advertising cover from 1890. In 1889
Altemus published the six titles of the Dore's Masterpieces Series. (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series78.htm).
All six oversized volumes
were published until 1903 in a number of different formats. Because of
the beautiful Gustave Dore illustrations, these books are always in
great demand and sell for a premium.
This advertising cover pictures Format 1- Volume 1 in the series. The
other books are listed at the top of the envelope. Die Dore Bibel
Gallerie is a German translation of Volume #1 and was included in this
series beginning in 1892. (Thus, at that point there were seven titles
in the series.)
In my opinion this is one of the rarest pieces of Altemus ephemera.
After Altemus stopped publishing books, it
still produced blank books and did some printing with the Altemus &
Co. name. Here is an envelope from 1937. As has been noted before, most
of these blank books have no Altemus identifying features and therefore
are very hard to locate.
Below is a reel of film filmed
by the James C. Muir and Company, a Philadelphia firm. This reel
contains 32 pictures (no text) from the Wee Folks Cinderella Series Tom
Thumb Book (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series188.htm).
The reel is titled "Filmascope" Tom Thumb and was "reproduced with the
Permission of Henry Altemus Company Philadelphia", Copyright 1921.
Apparently Muir produced a number of these little reels in the late
1920's. I presume that the little metal canister is an original.
Even as Altemus became more
involved in book publishing, it still sold non-book items. Here is
receipt from 1891 in which pens were being sold.
Another receipt for items that
were purchased by the Curwensville Bank in 1891. Here is evidence that
Altemus produced many non-printed book paper goods. The receipt noted
ledgers, collection books, etc.
This is the only postcard I
have seen with the Altemus and Co. imprint. It is dated November 17,
1892 and relates to a bill. This is a very unusual and scarce item.
Series 180 Vademecum
Here is an extremely rare item from the Henry Altemus
this was a salesman sample of covers or some sort of marketing aid is
unknown. My guess is that this piece was used to show store owners the
variety of covers that Altemus books could be found with and how this
variety could help sales.
Between 1901 and 1907 some of the Altemus' Vademecum Series' books had
appliqué covers with European paintings. More than 40 different ones
have been seen. In most instance several different cover pictures could
be put together to form a larger illustration. See:
The cover templates below were from books published in 1903. Very
interesting is that the title :"Allegories of the Heart" which is on
the fourth cover from the left was never published by Altemus.
I have seen one similar item over the years. That item has three of the
six 1904 Wee Books for Wee Folk's Series' covers. See below.
This piece includes the
attached covers of three of the six books of the Format 1 Wee Books for
Wee Folks Series (#185). No other information about this item exists.
Series 78 Dore's
Here is a salesman dummy (sample) book for
this series. It was
published in the early 1890's. These books were used by traveling
salesman (such as H. M. Caldwell) to show the different books that were
available. Frequently different formats of the same title were included
in the Dummy Book. Here different titles in this same series were shown.
Series titles #1-4 are included in this sales piece. #1 Dore's Bible
Gallery and #4 Dante's Purgatory and Paradise make up the front and
back cover respectively. The book covers are 12 x 9.75 and are from the
Format 1 books.
Titles #2 (Milton's Paradise Lost) and #3
(Dante's Inferno) are
displayed when the book is opened.
Inside the back cover is a representative
spine for the series.
In the back of the book there are sheets to
record purchaser's names
the book there are short excerpts from The Dore Bible Gallery, Dante's
Inferno,and Milton's Paradise Lost.
This item is among the rarest of all the Altemus ephemera I have seen
over the years.
Series 78 Dore's
This sample book is from the early 1890's.
The door to door
publisher'srepresentative would show this book to prospective buyers.
highlights Format 1 of the Dore's Masterpieces Series.
This is the second Salesman Sample book of this series that I have
seen. This book differs a bit from the other one. Its condition is not
quite as good and I think two of the covers that would have been part
of the book may have been removed.
The external covers have Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno,
Note that the other sample book has these two covers internally.
Milton's Paradise Lost was bound upside down. The covers are 12" x
Inside the front cover are three sample
Within the book are excerpts from Dore's
Bible Gallery, Dante's
Inferno, and Milton's Paradise Lost. Interestingly a one page flyer
advertising Paradise Lost is tipped in at the first page of its
In the back are a number of pages of
customers who had ordered one
ofthese books. The addresses are all in the northern California area
(Sacramento, Stockton, etc.)
Stationery/ Altemus Letter
Although I have seen envelopes
with the stamped Altemus return address, I have previously not seen
stationery with the Altemus letterhead. Here is an example from 1891.
Interestingly the subject of this letter relates to a potential order
from a firm in Curwensville. Just above there are two invoices/receipts
from the Curwensville Bank. These invoices were written one month after
the letter. Perhaps they are related.
Stationery/ Altemus Letter
Here is a stock certificate
printed by Altemus & Co. in 1897.
This stock certificate
from the Packer Coal Company was printed by Altemus & Company.
The signer, Israel Morris, bought 38 shares in 1885. Of note is that
the Packer Coal Company which was located in South Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania was founded by Asa Packer, the founder of Lehigh
University. (My daughter's school). Of further interest is that the
signer Israel Morris was a well known and well connected Philadelphia
As noted before, Altemus & Company did various types of
printing in the 1800's. Stock certificates are only one example. This
is the second different company's certificate printed by Altemus that I
have located. I suspect that there are more. (The Altemus & Co.
imprint is on the lower left of the certificate.)
This is another stock
certificate printed by Altemus and Company. This certificate differs
from the other two that have been found in two ways. First, the other
two stock certificates were printed for local Pennsylvania companies
whereas this one was printed for a company located in Colorado.
Secondly, this is the earliest of the three being printed in 1882.
All three certificates have the Altemus & Co. Phil in the
Altemus and Company was mainly
printer in the 1880's. In addition to blank books, stationery and the
like, a number of Altemus printed stock certificates have been seen.
Here is a second stock certificate (for this website) for a Colorado
mining company. This 1881 certificate for 500 shares was issued by the
Lincoln Mining Company of Leadville, Colorado. Note the "Altemus
& Co. Phil" imprint on the bottom left.
It is impossible to know how many companies contracted with Altemus to
print their stock certificates. Here is the fourth one that I have