Monday, September 10, 2012

Cool 19th century signature of the day: J.J. Dillan (or is it Dillon?)

Here's a gorgeous signature that I believe is worth its own post.

It's a piece of art, really. You don't see cursive writing like that these days.

It's the signature for J.J. Dillan (or is it Dillon?) and it appears on the title page of Harper & Brothers' 1854 edition of "Lives of the Queens of Scotland and English Princesses Connected with the Regal Succession of Great Britain (Volume IV)" by Agnes Strickland.1

My original guess would have been that the last name on the signature is "Dillan," but research points to this possibly being the signature of J.J. Dillon, who resided in the Midwest in the 19th century.

Here's an excerpt from Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska:
"J. J. DILLON, dealer in stock and grain, P. O. Sterling. Mr. Dillon was born and reared in Sangamon County, Ill.,, where he took up the stock business, and successfully followed it there till 1866, when he came here, and has been actively connected with the stock and agricultural industries of this county since. In 1868, he was married to Miss Sophia J. Irwin, who was born and reared in his native county. They have a family of two sons -- Joshua S. and Robert E. Mr. Dillon has been an active worker in the development of the social and business life of his county since coming here."
I guess he's as good a possibility as any for the fellow who put him name in this old book.

1. I don't get to write too many posts about 1854. And you know how I like connecting dates from pieces of ephemera to moments in history. So I am pleased to present this tidbit from baseball in 1854 from Brian McKenna's It's a newspaper article about the state of the sport in that year, and includes this wonderful line: "About forty-five members were present, and enjoyed themselves in a manner that indicated that ball-playing does not seriously diminish the appetite for either physical or intellectual enjoyment."

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