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Book publishers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries used a number of means to promote their latest works. Trade magazines such as Publishers' Weekly were packed with the latest publishers' offerings. Some companies sent out fliers to bookstores and potential customers. Altemus mainly used inserts placed into books. Sometimes these consisted of a mini-catalogue of books. Other times the ads were a single sheet advertising several books. Although I have accumulated a number of these over the years, I am convinced that what you see here is just the tip of the ad iceberg.

During the 90 plus year history of the Altemus publishing firm it published more than books, photographic albums, Bibles etc. Altemus not only bound books for others in the early years but produced numerous items under the Altemus & Co. imprint for others needing paper items. In this section some of these items will be shown.


Click thumbnail images to enlarge.


Date Series Information
07 Nov 2012 NS

Altemus Bindery


The Poetical Works of Milton, Young, Gray, Beattie, and Collins.

This 1847 was also published by Grigg and Elliot in Philadelphia.


06 Nov 2012 NS

Altemus Bindery


The Works of Lord Byron by George Gordon Byron

1847 publication of Grigg and Elliot

The J. T. Altemus Binder Phila embossed lettering is at the top of the cover. Clearly, it could be overlooked if the cover is not examined carefully.

J. T. Altemus Binder Phila


05 Nov 2012 NS

Altemus Bindery


Biographies of Cleveland and Hendricks by Geníl Benjamin La Fevre Baird & Dillon 1884

Here is an example of a Henry Altemus bound book published in 1884 by Baird & Dillon, a Chicago publisher. This is the second Campaign of í84 Altemus bound book seen so far. Interestingly this is the second of a matching pair of presidential biographies.


04 Nov 2012 NS

Altemus Bindery


Biographies of Blaine and Logan by Thos. V. Copper published by Baird and Dillon, Chicago and New York

Thos. V. Cooper wrote several political books in the 1880?s and early 1990?s. A number of different firms published his books. This book was published by Baird and Dillon in 1884. It is 9.5 x 6.5.

Two different cover formats have been seen. One in cloth and the other in leather. Both are shown below.

Interestingly the binder was noted on the copyright page as Henry Altemus not Altemus and Company. By the early 1890?s Altemus was concentrating more on publishing its own books.


03 Nov 2012 NS

Altemus Bindery


American Politics by Thomas V. Cooper Fireside Publishing Company 1883

In the 1880?s and 1890?s even though Altemus was ramping up its own publishing business, it was still doing some binding for other publishing houses. Here is an example of one of those efforts. This oversized book (9.5 x 6) was published by the Fireside Publishing Company. It is not surprising that Altemus did the binding for this company since Howard Altemus was the manager of the Fireside Publishing Company until he joined his father at Altemus and Company.


18 Sep 2012 NS

Stock Certificate


Altemus and Company was mainly a printer in the 1880's. In addition to blank books, stationery and the like, a number of Altemus printed stock certificates have been seen. Here is a second stock certificate (for this website) for a Colorado mining company. This 1881 certificate for 500 shares was issued by the Lincoln Mining Company of Leadville, Colorado. Note the "Altemus & Co. Phil" imprint on the bottom left.

It is impossible to know how many companies contracted with Altemus to print their stock certificates. Here is the fourth one that I have found.


10 Jul 2012 NS



Below is a reel of film filmed by the James C. Muir and Company, a Philadelphia firm. This reel contains 32 pictures (no text) from the Wee Folks Cinderella Series Tom Thumb Book (http://henryaltemus.com/series/series188.htm).

The reel is titled "Filmascope" Tom Thumb and was "reproduced with the Permission of Henry Altemus Company Philadelphia", Copyright 1921.

Apparently Muir produced a number of these little reels in the late 1920's. I presume that the little metal canister is an original.


08 Jul 2012 NS

George W. Childs Presentation Bible


Occasionally on the cover of an Altemus Bible there is an engraving with a family name or an identifying icon. For example a Bible produced for the Benevolent Order of the Elks has a gold gilt Elk pictured on the cover. (http://henryaltemus.com/publications/elks.htm)

Here is a Bible that has a presentation inscription in gold gilt letters on the front. It states "Presented to the Ladies Aid of Corporal W. H. Rihl Camp No.99 S. of U. by George W. Childs.

The Bible is interesting because it is like no other Altemus Bible that I have seen. It is dated 1887. It has no illustrations. There are no special features such as dictionaries, marriage pages, commentaries, etc. in this Bible. Clearly George Childs spent nothing extra on this gift presentation. The cover though is identical to the Bible shown on the site as B2. (See: http://henryaltemus.com/bibles/bibles.htm). Interestingly the B2 Bible has an inscription (family name). The B2 Bible is one of the few Altemus Bible covers that has a space for an inscription.

I suspect that many of these featureless, bare bones Bibles were used as presentation gifts.



George W. Childs (1829-1894) was a well known literary figure. He was a Philadelphia publisher with the house of Childs and Peterson. He was also the publisher of the Philadelphia Public Ledger. His classic autobiography "Recollections" gives insights into his relationships with a number of literary heavyweights of the era. This included Hawthorne, Longfellow, Emerson, etc. His biographies make it clear that he was also a well respected philanthropist. Of course, what man about town did not have his own cigars. Shown below is a Childs' cigar box and an autographed card.


27 Jun 2012 NS

Stock Certificate


This is another stock certificate printed by Altemus and Company. This certificate differs from the other two that have been found in two ways. First, the other two stock certificates were printed for local Pennsylvania companies whereas this one was printed for a company located in Colorado. Secondly, this is the earliest of the three being printed in 1882.

All three certificates have the Altemus & Co. Phil in the bottom left.


19 Feb 2012 0

1901 Advertising Flyer


Tommy Foster's Adventures was first published by Altemus in 1901 as part of the Boys' and Girls' Series of New Copyrights. Folly in Fairyland was also first published by Altemus in 1901. This latter book was the first title in the two book Folly Series. Since both books first came out in 1901, a reasonable assumption is that the flyer is from that same year. It is 7.125 x 3.25 which is the typical size of the Altemus one sheet advertising flyers.

It is likely that most all Altemus titles/series had similar advertisements. Unfortunately they are quite hard to find.


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