Sunday, 6 March 2022

The H. B. Nims Handy Pamphlet Case, 1876

The Handy Pamphlet Case (depicted above) was produced by H. B. Nims and Co., Troy, NY, and advertised from 1875 to 1877. An 1875 advertisement in The American Stationer (here), reads as follows:

With Index of Contents.

Useful to librarians and literary men for classifying pamphlets.
Useful to physicians for holding their journals previous to binding.
Useful to clergymen to keep their sermons in.
Useful to business men to keep price lists and catalogues in.
Useful to everyone who takes a magazine.

A neat, cheap and handy invention to preserve all kinds of paper-covered literature, that would otherwise be impaired or destroyed.

LARGE 8vo., PER DOZEN, $2.50
Samples sent by mail upon receipt of 25c

H. B, NIMS [and] CO., Manufacturers,

The advertisement text was re-set in the 1877 advertisements I have seen in The American Library Journal (here, for example), and the accompanying image changed to include the words "THE | HANDY | Pamphlet | CASE | with | Index of | Contents".

In addition to the advertisements in The American Stationer and The American Library Journal, Henry B. Nims—running a descendant business of W. H. Merriam (est. 1840)—printed advertising slips that were loosely inserted in new publications they sold. I found one (above) in a copy of H. R. Fox Bourne's The Life of John Lock (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876), which provides a sharper image than those in the magazines on Google Books.

Unfortunately, I can find no trace of a surviving example of the Nims Handy Pamphlet Case, which is a shame. If they were tin they probably did a lot of damage to the pamphlets, journals, sermons and catalogues they contained, but if they were made of stiff card and paper they might have saved many of the same from destruction.

Anyone interested in H. B. Nims and Co., of Troy, New York—"the largest and most complete book store between Boston and Cleveland"—will find some information in The Industrial Advantages of Troy, N.Y. and Environs (1895; here; the source of the quote and the photos above and below) and The City of Troy and Its Vicinity (1886; here).

BTW: anyone interested in another example of the wonderful, book collecting-related, stationary items developed in the States in the late nineteenth-century, should see my post on "The Van Everen Fitsanybook Adjustable Book Cover" (here).

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