Library Receives Copy of Unique Book


Group with book

Paul Preston Davis (seated left), author of Delaware Cameo Advertising 1850-1875, presents his book to Susan Brynteson (seated right), Vice Provost and May Morris Director of Libraries. Attending the presentation were: (standing left to right) William A. McKay, member of the Delaware Historical Society Board of Directors; Gordon A. Pfeiffer, Past President of both the University of Delaware Library Associates and the Delaware Bibliophiles; Timothy D. Murray, Head of Special Collections; and Iris R. Snyder, Associate Librarian, Special Collections.

    The University of Delaware Library was presented with acopy of Delaware Cameo Advertising 1850-1875 by its author, Paul Preston Davis of West Chester, Pennsylvania, on June 4, 2009.  The book is a numbered and signed copy number 31 (of 35 private edition copies with none for sale) and features a comprehensive listing of “Delaware Cameos” including an index of their dates, their dies and their content.  The book will be added to Special Collections.

    A description of the “Cameo,” written by the late Thomas Beckman (1944-2003), former Registrar of the Delaware Historical Society, may be found in the Introduction of the book:

“During the very early 1850's, American entrepreneurs began to identify their places of business by means of diminutive metal engravings printed in color. Such antecedents to the trademark were to be found on business cards, billheads, envelopes, letterheads, notices in city directories and other publications.  Merchants and fellow businessmen were all promoting their own names rather than brand names.  These little logotypes served the general public as advertisements.  Nicknamed cameos by modern collectors, they were simply called stamps at the time of their production.  The word cameo was no doubt adopted because of the textured embossed appearance.”

    Delaware Cameo Advertising 1850-1875 is the only work about Delaware cameos that exists and is the result of the intensive research of Mr. Davis who “tracked down” every known cameo in private and institutional collections.  The extensive and valuable cameo collection of José L. Rodriguez of Cheshire, Connecticut, a postal history authority, was a major resource.

    “The book was indeed a labor of love,” said Mr. Davis, a noted Howard Pyle authority and author of the two-volume work, Howard Pyle: His Life—His Work (Oak Knoll Press, 2004).   “I know there are many collectors of Delawareana who are interested in cameos, and I hope this compilation will be of use.”

    Gordon A. Pfeiffer, past President of both the University of Delaware Library Associates and the Delaware Bibliophiles, observed, “The book is such a comprehensive and scholarly contribution to what is known about Delaware cameos that forever in the future people will refer to any new cameos discovered as ‘Not in Davis.’” 

    Susan Brynteson, Vice Provost and May Morris Director of Libraries, commented that, “The Library is honored to add this unique and authoritative work on cameos to Special Collections so that scholars and collectors may have access to the information.”

Delaware Cameo Advertising inside

Delaware Cameo Advertising 1850-1875 by Paul Preston Davis, 2009, depicts a wide variety of 19th century Delaware businesses including Cooling and Lloyd Fine Carriages on French Street, George T. Clark Dry Goods at 72 Market Street, Craig and Tatnall Lumber and Coal at Delaware Avenue and Tatnall Street, William and Thomas Davidson Marble Works at Fifth and King Streets.

Davis’ Delaware Cameo Advertising Cover

Paul Preston Davis’ Delaware Cameo Advertising 1850-1875