Sunday, November 8, 2015

Solving mystery of red label inside Sanders' Union Reader

I discovered a one-inch-wide red bookseller's label affixed to the inside front cover of 1862's Sanders' Union Reader Number Three. As you might imagine with a schoolbook that was used heavily in its time and is now a century and a half old, the label is dirty and difficult to read.

Here's a closer look at it.

At first, I thought the word across the top was SEDGERS or SEDGER'S. And I barely even realized there was a city name listed across the bottom.

But, after a period of fiddling with the brightness and contrast and doing some Google searches, I had my aha! moment and realized the name of the bookseller across the top is S. ROGERS.

And the full text is:

Paper Hangings &c.

Final confirmation came when an online search revealed this Flickr image of an identical (and much cleaner) bookseller label. Mystery solved!

So all the remains is some housekeeping notes:

1. There is very little additional information available about S. Rogers, other than some confirmations that the business indeed existed.

2. &c. is an abbreviation of et cetera that is no longer commonly used.

3. Lockport is a city in western New York, named for its Erie Canal. It had a population of about 10,000 in the 1860s.

4. Millions of copies of the Sanders' Union Readers, by Charles W. Sanders, were sold in the mid 19th century, according to 1961's Old textbooks: spelling, grammar, reading, arithmetic, geography, American history, civil government, physiology, penmanship, art, music, as taught in the common schools from colonial days to 1900, by John A. Nietz, the full text of which is available online. An excerpt:
"Charles W. Sanders (1805-1889). In the 1840's, and even later, the Sanders' School Readers were the most popular readers in the East. ... In addition to the School Readers he published a series of so-called Union Readers in the 1860's. ... In 1861 Sanders began publishing the Union Readers. In the preface of Number One he stated: 'The increasing demand for greater variety of exercises in reader, both in style and matter, has led to the preparation of the Sanders' Union Series.'"

5. Here's an interior illustration from Sanders' Union Reader Number Three

6. If you enjoy vintage bookseller labels, check out these previous posts:

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