Recently I purchased a set of 12 small books (pamphlets, almost, at 2″ x 5″ and 10-12 pages each) called The Romance of Flowers.
I admit it. I was easily seduced by the charming covers on each of the small books. I bought them on the spot.
Aren’t they lovely? Can you blame me for snapping them up on the spot?
Turns out that they are one of those purchases that is going to merit further research on my part to determine the relevant bibliographic details.
On the back cover of each book is a type of colophon, explaining what type of paper was used for the cover and for the text. The copyright reads, “The Horn-Shafer Co., Baltimore, Maryland,” but gives no year of copyright or publication. The paper information on the back of the cover makes me think that these little books may have been printed as paper samples for The Horn-Shafer Co., who I’ve found were “printers and publishers” during the 20th century.
The 12 books come in a blue, handmade slipcase. On the outside of the slipcase, written in fancy script is, “Flower Lore, Kitty.” I presume Kitty could be the name of the author or the name of the books’ owner.
What interested me most when I bought the books were the beautiful and colorful illustrations and fonts used on the front cover of each book. That leads me to one more mystery. The initials of the artist, “E.H.” appear on the cover of each book. While I’m well aware that “E.H.” could have been an obscure employee of Horn-Shafer, I’m curious as to whether she (he?) possibly could have been an artist or book designer. It could be just a coincidence, but I note that the “H” in “E.H.” is the same first letter in the surname “Horn”. Perhaps the artist was a Horn family member?
Do you recognize those initials? Do you know anything about Horn-Shafer Co. of Maryland or whether there was a member of the Horn family whose first name began with “E”? I enjoy and often get happily sidetracked researching such things. In this case, my busy schedule these days made me think to ask you, dear readers, first — especially those of you who might live across the country in Maryland or be familiar with Maryland printers and publishers.