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Rare Book School at the University of Virginia

RBS 2006 Miscellany

Images of Interest

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Comment by W.A. Dwiggins Railroad Rail Bookends Mysterious Goldsmith Image

Mysteries and Requests

Mystery Wood-Engraved Block

Unidentified wood-engraved block from the Vincent Price Collection: can you identify the artist, the interpretive wood-engraver, or the book where this illustration first appeared? If so, please let us know!
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Mystery Steel-Engraved Portrait of A. L. Jordan

RBS has recently acquired a 7 x 10" steel plate, ca. 1885, showing an engraved head-and-shoulders portrait of a man identified (if we are reading his engraved signature correctly) as A. L. Jordan. The faint caption at the base of the oval image reads: "Engraved by John Sartain. Phil." The subject's face was realized primarily in mezzotint; the rest of the oval image was engraved. Mr Jordan appears to be about 40 years old in this portrait, i.e. born in the mid-1840s.

The Catalog of the Library of Virginia lists two short works by an A. L. Jordan (b. 1846). The first title is Gen. Jos. E. Johnston: a review of his military career. Also, a collection of sketches of the experiences of a Confederate soldeir (Pulaski, VA: 1907; 60 pp.). The second title is General Joseph E. Johnston. A collection of sketches showing the injustice of the Confederate government's attitude toward him. Also a few brief opinions of General Johnston's military ability. By A. L. Jordan, Pulaski, Va., Company F, 54th Virginia Regiment (Pulaski, VA: ca. 1924; 33 pp.). We have not been able to find anything further about the writer of these pamphlets.

Below is a scan (flipped horizontally and reversed), made directly from our steel plate, showing the portrait and its accompanying engraved signature. Can anyone provide us with further information about this or any other A. L. Jordan?
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Printed Corners on Dustjackets

RBS was recently given a nice copy of Van Wyck Brooks' The Times of Melville and Whitman (NY: Dutton, 1947). The rear flap of the dustjacket is shown below. We're interested in learning more about the purpose behind printing the book's title, author, and publisher information in the lower left-hand corner of the flap. The dotted line above this information indicates that it was intended to be removed from the dj. We believe that bookdealers snipped off these corners to facilitate inventory control. Does anyone know what such corners were called in the retail book or publishing trades, or when the practiced flourished, or how widespread was its use?
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Books in Sheets

RBS owns about 65 copies of 26 different books in sheets — that is, books still consisting of flat printed piles of unfolded (or, occasionally, incompletely folded) sheets, never bound. Here is a fairly detailed list of our holdings, updated to March 2003.

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We're always interested in knowing who else has copies of these books, whether still in sheets or otherwise; and we're always interested in acquiring additional examples, by gift, trade, or purchase.