Last week's blog - Speaking Ephemera (1) - discussed the prospectus and order form for the Vale Press edition of Fair Rosamund by Michael Field, and while I was writing it I made a note of two matters that also needed to be discussed. (1) Who wrote those comments on this copy of the prospectus and (2) what is the everyday name of the publisher?
Who wrote the notes on prospectuses in 1896?
|Handwritten note on a copy of the prospectus for Michael Field's Fair Rosamund (1896)|
The first manager of the publishing house and of the shop they opened was Edward Le Breton Martin (Le Breton was his mother's maiden name). Born in Evesham in October 1873, he moved to London around 1894, and lived in Kensington, at 57, Longridge Road, trying to establish a career as a writer or journalist. His stories were published in Sylvia's Home Journal (August 1894) and Pearson's Magazine (from June 1896 onwards). His tenure at The Vale Press lasted until the summer when he went to work for a newspaper. Later, he lived in Richmond, published a few books, did talks on dialects, tobacco and literature for the radio in the 1920s, and died from an accident in 1944.
The manuscript note in red ink on the prospectus for Fair Rosamund is probably not Martin's. When Charles Holmes took over the position of manager, he met 'Macgregor, the pleasant efficient office-boy'. Apart from his surname, nothing is known about him. However, because the handwriting does not resemble Holmes's, it is most likely Macgregor who wrote it.
The name of the pressThe prospectus from the summer of 1896 does not mention the name 'Vale Press'. The publishing house was officially called Hacon & Ricketts. The heading says:
|Prospectus for Michael Field's Fair Rosamund (1896)|