Henry Altemus Company


Henry Altemus/Henry Altemus Company Miscellaneous Publications


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Record Album

Gusky's Publication

Montgomery Ward & Co. Publication (Bible)

Montgomery Ward & Co. Publication (Uncle Tom's Cabin)

Benevolent Order of Elks Bible

George W. Childs Presentation Bible

E. R. Curtis and Company (Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress)

Pilgrim Publishing Company (Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress)- Salesman Sample Book


Record Album


A phonograph album published by Altemus has been discovered.

The album pictured below has 12 numbered pages each with a slot for a record. It is not dated and there are no clues as to the publication date.

On the back of the cover the Henry Altemus Co. name above the word Philadelphia is noted.

I assume it was published sometime in the 1920's but this is a guess.



Gusky's Publication


The four volume Shakespeare non series set was first published in 1891. Interestingly this set has been discovered with the Gusky Store of Pittsburgh imprint on the title page and Henry Altemus 1891 on the copyright page. With the exception of the imprint and the elegantly decorated end papers in the Altemus book, the four volume Altemus set is identical to the four volume Gusky set. It would appear that Altemus published this set for Gusky to sell in his store. Although I have seen some non-Altemus advertising in several other Altemus books, I have never seen a book that Altemus published for a department store. This is especially interesting considering that the Gusky set potentially could compete with the Altemus set. It is unclear at this time exactly what year the Gusky set was published (I assume in the early 1890's) and what sort of deal the Gusky Store and Altemus had. Of note is that there are no books with the Gusky imprint listed for sale anywhere that I can find on the web.

J.M. Gusky (1845-1886) bought out a mercantile establishment called S. Cohen in 1882. He renamed it the Gusky Store. The Gusky Store is considered by most to be Pittsburgh's first department store. The store occupied five stories and sold mainly a variety clothing. After Gusky's death from pneumonia his wife owned the business and the De Wolf brothers managed it. By 1888 it had more than two million dollars in sales.



Montgomery Ward & Co. Publication (Bible)


As has been noted before, Altemus occasionally did publishing for other companies. It did a Shakespeare's Works for Gusky's Department Store. Here is an example of a Bible that was published for Montgomery Ward & Co. The cover is B11 (See: http://henryaltemus.com/bibles/bibles.htm) which was published between 1894 and 1896. It appears that all Altemus did is replace its imprint with that of the department store giant.



Altemus book published for Montgomery Ward & Co.


In Series #85-Famous Red and White Books (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series85.htm) Uncle Tom's Cabin was book #10. It was published in 1894. A book with the identical cover and contents has been discovered that has Montgomery Ward & Co. as the imprint as opposed to Henry Altemus. The Montgomery Ward book says "Souvenir Edition" at the top of the title page and has Montgomery Ward & Co., with the 111-116 Michigan Avenue, Chicago address at the base of the title page.

The copyright page for both books is identical: Henry Altemus, 1894.

This book undoubtedly was published by Altemus for Montgomery Ward. I suspect it was a promotional item since it does have "Souvenir Edition" printed on the top of the title page. Most likely it was published in the mid-1890's.



Benevolent Order of Elks Bible


There are a number of examples in which Altemus did a small print run of a book for a private organization. This Bible (B60) appears to have been specially made for "The Elks".

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks initials and symbol is engraved in gold gilt on the front of this Bible. There are no other identifying marks on the Bible.

Altemus published Bibles as noted above until the late 1890's. This Bible was published after 1900 given that the Altemus incorporation is indicated on the title page.

This Bible is simpler in substance than most Altemus Bibles. None of the extra features usually seen, i.e. pages for family information, Smith's dictionary, dictionary of names, etc. are included in this book. The cover and spine are different from any 19th century Altemus Bible and are plainer.

Also of note is the change at the bottom of the title page. The usual "and there was light" has been changed to "The Light of the World".



George W. Childs Presentation Bible


Occasionally on the cover of an Altemus Bible there is an engraving with a family name or an identifying icon. For example a Bible produced for the Benevolent Order of the Elks has a gold gilt Elk pictured on the cover. (http://henryaltemus.com/publications/elks.htm)

Here is a Bible that has a presentation inscription in gold gilt letters on the front. It states "Presented to the Ladies Aid of Corporal W. H. Rihl Camp No.99 S. of U. by George W. Childs.

The Bible is interesting because it is like no other Altemus Bible that I have seen. It is dated 1887. It has no illustrations. There are no special features such as dictionaries, marriage pages, commentaries, etc. in this Bible. Clearly George Childs spent nothing extra on this gift presentation. The cover though is identical to the Bible shown on the site as B2. (See: http://henryaltemus.com/bibles/bibles.htm). Interestingly the B2 Bible has an inscription (family name). The B2 Bible is one of the few Altemus Bible covers that has a space for an inscription.

I suspect that many of these featureless, bare bones Bibles were used as presentation gifts.



George W. Childs (1829-1894) was a well known literary figure. He was a Philadelphia publisher with the house of Childs and Peterson. He was also the publisher of the Philadelphia Public Ledger. His classic autobiography "Recollections" gives insights into his relationships with a number of literary heavyweights of the era. These include Hawthorne, Longfellow, Emerson, etc. His biographies make it clear that he was also a well respected philanthropist. Of course, what man about town did not have his own cigars. Shown below is a Childs' cigar box and an autographed card.



E. R. Curtis and Company, Cincinnati (Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress)


Altemus occasionally produced books for other companies to claim as their own. These books are identical to the Altemus editions except for the imprint which indicates a company other than Altemus. Examples of these books are hard to find. Here is a new one for the database.

This book has the E. R. Curtis & Co. imprint on the title page but in every other way is identical to the Altemus published book of the same title.
1. The Henry Altemus embossed logo is on the back cover of the book.
2. The front cover is identical to the Altemus Format 2 Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress which was first published in late 1890. (http://henryaltemus.com/images/NS_28.htm)
3. The title page has Altemus' Edition at the top.
4. On the copyright page it shows the earliest of the three Altemus Format 2 copyright notices.

Thus, this book was published by Altemus for E. R. Curtis in the early 1890's.



Pilgrim Publishing Company, Philadelphia (Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress)- Salesman Sample Book


Here is the Altemus Edition of this title which was published for the Pilgrim Publishing Company. This book appears to be a salesman's sample since the red cover is pasted onto a blank cloth cover and it only contains some of the 266 pages of the original book.

The advertisement in the back notes the regular price and the price to subscribers. Unfortunately no other evidence regarding this as a salesman's sample is present.

Based on the copyright page, this volume is an early Format 2 edition and was published in the early 1890's. ( See: http://www.henryaltemus.com/images/NS_28.htm)

This is the second copy of this title that I have now seen that Altemus published for another company. (See: http://www.henryaltemus.com/publications/HACMisc.htm)




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Last Revision April 11, 2015