Donaldson Brothers Lithographers, Five Points, Manhattan, NY

See the prior post and our B. J. Stone trade card.

Donaldson Bros, circa 1872 – 1891

Donaldson Brothers was a very successful lithography and printing company which ran from about 1872 to 1891 before being consolidated with the American Lithographic Company. According to Frank’s obit appearing in the weekly publication American Stationers, it was Frank who founded Donaldson Bros., and this may be correct, but we wouldn’t want to assume, since this is a statement from one source. Our short write-up on this litho firm is just skimming the surface with a few details, as in-depth would be quite time-consuming. In any case, the firm was Frank J., George W., John L. and Robert M.,  all born in Edinburgh, Scotland of parents John Donaldson and Barbara Hume (Montgomery) Donaldson. The family emigrated to the U.S. in 1856. The 1860 Federal Census finds the family living in Brooklyn, NY. The 1878 New York City directory shows all four brothers as lithographers at the address of 2 Mission Place, New York, which was in the Five Points neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.

Below, Frank J. Donaldson’s obituary appearing in American Stationer, June 1896.

Below, a couple of clips from a lengthy article from the New York Times on the fire in Five Points that took place December 9, 1875, from which, of course, the company rebuilt (with improvements).

Sources:  Donaldson Brothers 1872 – 1891 “D – Publishers.” MetroPostcard. (accessed November 4, 2017).

Trow’s New York City Directory, 1878. Vol. 91, p. 356. (

Year: 1880; Census Place: Cranford, Union, New Jersey; Roll: 800; Family History Film: 1254800; Page: 201B; Enumeration District: 171. (

Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970. Louisville, Kentucky: National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Microfilm, 508 rolls. (

George William Donaldson. Find A Grave Memorial# 63258205.

American Stationer, Vol. 39. Number 24, June 11, 1896. p. 1012. (

“Fire at the Five Points.” New York Times, December 10, 1875. Friday, p. 8. (

A Pleasant Reflection

Trade card, Soapine. Kendall Mfg. Co. Donaldson Bros. Lithographers, circa 1870s – 1890s.

Price:  $7.00          Size:  2 and 15/16 x 4 and 1/4″

Kendall Manufacturing Co.’s Soapine, had a very long run, from 1827 to the late 1950s;  here is yet another example of the Victorian Era advertising for the product, one of many that can be found online. The card’s condition is not great, note the crease and there’s a small tear in the top right and a little of the wording torn off of the back, but still it’s a beautiful and imaginative design:  A Tahitian-haired little lady in pink and blue (and love that yellow hat) somehow, lol, blowing a bubble that has the Soapine box inside. Note the iridescence to the bubbles, the lady’s shadow, and the wood flooring. (It always seems like in noticing the details we’re transported back in time; we imagine a sense of the artist’s thought process…..adding in the lady’s bracelets….)

Donaldson Bros., Five Points, N. Y.

Our trade card is the second one we have for Donaldson Brothers, of Five Points, NY. See also B.J. Stone Trade Card, New Haven, CT. And per MetroPostcard, Donaldson Bros. was Frank J., George W., John L. and Robert M. Donaldson, and operated from about 1872 – 1891 before being consolidated with the American Lithographic Company. The 1878 New York City directory shows all four brothers as lithographers, at the address of 4 Mission Place. Five Points was a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, NY.

Sources:  Donaldson Brothers 1872 – 1891 “D – Publishers.” MetroPostcard. (accessed November 4, 2017).

Trow’s New York City Directory, 1878. Vol. 91, p. 356. (

Five Points, Manhattan. n.d.,_Manhattan (accessed November 5, 2017).

After The Doctor

Trade card for G. W. Hull & Bro., Wauseon, Ohio. Circa 1870s – 1890s.

Price:  $15.00             Size:  About 4 and 1/2 x 3″

Happy Halloween!

I know this is not your standard Halloween offering, but it’s the closest we have at the moment, and quite unusual:  A grasshopper riding a rat across the desert (though you’d think the grasshopper could get there quicker on his own!) Time seems to be of the essence; note the alarmed look on the poor grasshopper’s face! The phrase “after the doctor” refers to someone going to get the doctor.

Report at Headquarters!

G. W. Hull and brother are on the 1870 Federal Census for Wauseon, Ohio. G. W. is head of household, born in Pennsylvania about 1844, married to Rebecca, born Ohio about 1843. With them live John Hull, born Ohio about 1846, who we presume to be the brother, and Calvin Nikirk born Ohio about 1855. G. W.’s occupation is listed as dry goods merchant, with John and Calvin listed as dry goods clerks. Calvin is likely related to Rebecca, as we find that G.W. is George W. Hull who married Rebecca Neikirk October 9, 1866 in Henry County, Ohio.

Below, from the front of the card, H & B, which we presume to be a logo, of sorts, for the dry goods store, rather than a lithography company name.

Brothers in the biz

Further searching reveals George and wife Abigail R. (Abigail Rebecca) in Wauseon in 1880, and their nine year old daughter, Verna. With them is George’s brother, Edwin. Thus, the “Bro.” was either John or Edwin Hull, or maybe conveniently worked out for both, if first John, then Edwin…..But wait, living next door, in 1880, is Henry Hull, dry goods merchant, so Henry is a third possibility as the brother in the dry goods business.

More findings

Abigail died in 1891 and by the 1900 census, G. W. had remarried. His second wife was Lottie (maiden name French per Ancestry family trees.) George, per Find A Grave, was born July 23, 1843, died December 23, 1915, and was buried in the Wauseon Cemetery.

Sources:  Wauseon, Ohio. n.d.,_Ohio (accessed October 30, 2017).

Dry goods. n.d. (accessed October 31, 2017).

Year: 1870; Census Place: Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: M593_1202; Page: 57B; Family History Library Film: 552701. (

Jordan Dodd, Liahona Research. Ohio, Marriages, 1803-1900. (

Year: 1880; Census Place: Wauseon, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: 1017; Family History Film: 1255017; Page: 173D; Enumeration District: 024. (

Year: 1900; Census Place: Delta, Fulton, Ohio; Roll: 1270; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0015; FHL microfilm: 1241270. (

Abigail R. Hull. Find A Grave Memorial# 9598090.

George W. Hull. Find A Grave Memorial# 9598085.

Gies & Company Lithographers, Buffalo, NY

Above, a full page ad in the Buffalo city directory for 1885. And see the Globe Soap Trade Card in the prior post.

Charles Gies, Alsatian immigrant

Gies & Co. was started by Charles Gies, who was born April 1846 in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France (place of birth per the 1920 census), though the region was not named as such until later.  He emigrated to the United States in 1854 at age eight with his parents and siblings, on board the ship Brother Jonathan. Starting up the company, along with Gies, was New York native George H. Dunston. Gies & Co. became a major player in the printing/lithography/engraving field, and numerous examples of their work can be found online and elsewhere. The company continued in business until about 1922. Dunston, at some point, went out on his own, though may have still been involved in Gies & Co. for a time, and as this would be a subject for some lengthy research, we’ll stick to Charles Gies for this post.

Charles married New York native Frances “Fannie” Boughton in August of 1869 (per the 1870 census). They had three daughters Lillian “Lillie”, Frances “Fannie” and Sarah Elizabeth “Sallie”. Charles’ sister Margaret “Maggie” lived with the family for a time, from at least 1875 – 1880. Sadly, Lillie died at about age 17, and Sallie in infancy. And Charles’ father Valentine Gies, having moved his family from Alsace to New York, died in the Civil War, about 11 years after emigrating.

Prior to starting the company, from at least 1864 – 1869, Charles Gies was with Sage, Sons & Co., lithographers, Buffalo.

Gies & Company, founded about 1874

Per a September 1878 article appearing in The Buffalo Commercial, Gies & Co., established almost four years earlier, is Messrs. Charles Gies and George H. Dunston. The following day after a major fire (the article does not state when) had devastated their location at Washington and S. Division, they rented a large 3-story brick building at 293 Washington to be able to continue filling orders, operating from 6:30 a.m. till 10 p.m., until the original building was repaired. They were back at the original site, which included many improvements, in mid-September 1875, employing about 45 workers at that time.

The International Copyright Bill and American lithographers, 1891

The clipping, below, part of an article that appeared in The Buffalo Commercial, January 31, 1891, gives us a good glimpse into the lithography business. It lists Gies & Co. as one of five major firms in Buffalo, and details the problem lithographers were having at that time with what was thought to have been an oversight when drawn up, of a bill that was pending at the Senate.

A brief timeline from 1885 – 1923

1885 – Gies & Co. moves to a new facility which they have constructed, a 5-story brick building at the corner of Swan and Center Streets.

1893 – Charles Gies, listed as manager of Gies & Co., 111 Swan St., home 164 Mariner

1898 – Charles Gies, manager of Standard Stationery Co., home 164 Mariner

1905 – NY State Census for Buffalo, Charles Gies, with wife Frances. Charles’ occupation is city inspector.

1914 – death of Fannie (Boughton) Gies, January 4th, Manhattan, NY.

1920 – Charles Gies, widower, retired lithographer, boarding at 317 Breckenridge St.

1923 – death of Charles Gies, March 2nd, Buffalo, NY


Sources: The Courier Co.’s Buffalo City Directory, 1885. p. 455. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. (

Year: 1854; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 140; Line: 19; List Number: 650. (

The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; NAI Title: General Index to Civil War and Later Pension Files, ca. 1949 – ca. 1949; NAI Number: 563268; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 – 2007; Record Group Number: 15; Series Title: U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934; Series Number: T288; Roll: 174. (

Census of the state of New York, for 1875. Microfilm. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. (

Thomas’s Buffalo City Directory, 1864. p. 195. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Warren Johnson & Co.’s Buffalo City Directory, 1869. p. 306. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Census of the state of New York, for 1875. Microfilm. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. (

Year: 1880; Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Roll: 831; Family History Film: 1254831; Page: 158A; Enumeration District: 163. (

Fire and rebuilding. The Buffalo Commercial, September 14, 1878. Saturday, p. 3. (

“A Serious Oversight.” The Buffalo Commercial, January 31, 1891. Saturday, p. 10. (

New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: E.D. 05; City: Buffalo Ward 24; County: Erie; Page: 61. (

Year: 1920; Census Place: Buffalo Ward 22, Erie, New York; Roll: T625_1107; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 209. (

Find A Grave Memorial #s 143437158; 143437263; 143438043; 144124935.

Globe Soap Trade Card

Trade card. Globe Soap Company. Circa 1880s – 1890s. Gies & Co., Buffalo, NY.

Price:  $12.00          Size:  3 and 3/16 x 4 and 13/16″

Captain Jinks, etc.

This seems like a good trade card for autumn, of a boy with long hair, wearing a felt hat with a peacock feather and a scarf with stripes. The colors are wonderful, along with the boy’s expression, the clouds in the background almost seem to be moving…..all-in-all a beautifully-done card. The lithographers were Gies & Company, out of Buffalo, New York. And this particular design was evidently a popular one:  others can currently be seen for sale online showing several different companies or brands being advertised. In addition there’s one version (lithographer unknown) with the printing underneath, “Young Captain Jinks,” which was paying homage to the public’s love of a song or a play, or perhaps both.

“Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines” was a humorous number (you can find it on YouTube) written in the mid-1800s that is credited to T. Maclagan, or William Lingard, or sometimes both. It was later very much in the public eye as a comic play by Clyde Fitch, which debuted in January 1901, and starred Ethel Barrymore. And in 1975 the title was re-introduced as an opera written by Jack Beeson.

The Globe Soap Company

Back to our card…..According to a 1918 excerpt (below) from Moody’s Manual, the Globe Soap Co. was incorporated April 27, 1881 in Ohio. They included the brand names, Grandma’s Borax Powdered Soap, Export Borax Soap, Pearl Soap and others. The plant was located on 23 acres in Saint Bernard, Ohio.

A pretty long distance

Globe Soap was bought out by Procter & Gamble in 1928, along with some other soap manufacturers around this year, tallying Globe Soap’s run to around forty-seven years. Interestingly, articles in 1928 report the possible buy-out, and then that it was only a rumor.

Sources:  “Miss Barrymore’s New Play.” The Buffalo Enquirer (Buffalo, NY) December 21, 1900, Friday, p. 5. (

William Lingard. n.d. (accessed October 28, 2017).

Clyde Fitch. n.d. (accessed October 28, 2017).

Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. n.d. (accessed October 28, 2017).

Moody’s Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities. Vol. 3, Industrial Section, 1918. Moody Manual Company, New York. 642. ( book search).

“Rumor Procter Buys Globe Soap.”  The Daily Times (New Philadelphia, OH) May 23, 1928, Thursday, p. 5. (

Whitten, David O. and Bessie E., eds. Handbook of American Business History:  Extractives, manufacturing and services. Vol. 2. p. 226. Westport, Connecticut:  Greenwood Press, 1997. ( book search).

Ringing The Bell

Victorian Era card. Circa 1870s – 1890s

Price:  $3.00        Size:  3 and 15/16 x 2 and 3/8″

A trade-type card that never got stamped with owner info. Very beautiful design – a sturdy-looking little boy or elf-type guy. What’s he doing exactly? Flower-wrangling 😉 comes to mind. A made-up term. Not that it matters, but the best guess is he’s ringing the bell-like flower (to call someone, across the misty, dreamy-looking expanse that would have held advertising.)

D. Joseph Adams Trade Card, Manhattan, NY

Trade card, Yorkville, Manhattan, New York. Circa 1884 – 1895.

Price:  $10.00            Size:  3 and 1/4 x 5 and 13/16″

Here’s a beauty, there’s something about seashells….Washed up on the shore, with some seashore-type plants surrounding it, is a large half-shell with the proprietor’s info stamped inside, and a ship and lighthouse scene happening in the distance.

“D. Joseph Adams, House Furnisher of Yorkville, Hardware, Ranges, etc. 1518 Third Ave., Bet. 85th and 86th Sts.”

Unless you know the neighborhood, or Manhattan in general, you might (like me) have thought that Yorkville was a furniture brand or a popular china pattern. But D. J. Adams was saying that he was furnishing homes in Yorkville, the Upper East Side, Manhattan, NY neighborhood.  And this would have been in 1884 – ’85, according to the only city directory, or record of any kind, found for Mr. Adams. His home was nearby at 1434 Lexington Avenue.

Source:  Trow City Directory Company’s The New York City Directory, 1884-85. p. 23. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Rany Lammers Calling Card

Calling card, circa late 1880s – early 1890s

Price:  $10.00            Size: about 3 and 7/16 x 1 and 7/8″

Here’s an old nautical-themed calling card for Rany Lammers, which is probably from the late 1880s to the early 1890s. It’s certainly not in the best of conditions, but could be the only card for this gentleman still in existence, and is a wonderful piece of family history.

Venus Loraine Lammers

A good number of records can be found for Rany, whose full name was Venus Loraine Lammers. (Middle name also spelled Lorraine, Lorain, Lowreen). Most records show him under Venus L., however, the 1880 Federal Census, when he was age eight, shows him as Rany. He was born in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, May 3rd 1872 and died September 21st 1944 in Los Angeles County, California. He married Charlotte Swanman around 1884. The 1900 Federal Census shows Venus L. Lammers, salesman at a department store and wife Charlotte living in Luverne, Rock County, Minnesota. By 1912 the couple had made their way to California and were living in San Jose.

Lammers importance to Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

Rany’s parents were Garret Lammers (1844 – 1917) and Anna Mary Zeeveld (1848 – 1874). (By the 1880 Federal Census Garret is remarried to Harmena “Mena” Claerbaut.) Garret Lammers twice visited his native Holland, both times bringing back with him a large number of Dutch emigrants.

Venus in the U. S.

The boy’s given name, Venus, is not as unusual as one might assume:  For instance, federal census records in the U. S. for year 1900 show about 130 males under this name.

Sources:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Holland, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Roll: 1447; Family History Film: 1255447; Page: 45D; Enumeration District: 203 (

Year: 1900; Census Place: Luverne, Rock, Minnesota; Roll: 787; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 0256; FHL microfilm: 1240787 (

Minnesota Historical Society. Minnesota State Population Census Schedules, 1865-1905. St. Paul, MN, USA: Minnesota Historical Society, 1977. Microfilm. Reels 1-47 and 107-164. (

Zillier, Carl (ed.) History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, past and present, Vol. 2 (1912) pp. 567-569.

Venus Lowreen Lammers. Find A Grave Memorial# 85446771 (

Charlotte Swanman Lammers. Find A Grave Memorial# 85446768 (

N. S. Davis Trade Card, Somerset, Mass.

Trade card, Somerset, Mass. Circa 1867 – 1876.

Price:  $10.00           Size:  About 2 x 3 and 1/4″

“N. S. Davis, Dealer in Fruit, Confectionery, Ice Cream Soda, Cigars &c. &c. Somerset – Mass.”

Another grocery-type trade card, this one with the owner’s stamp fitting neatly in the blank area on the card, just as it was designed to do. It shows two blond children with spyglasses. And the clarity of the image is not too good, but still, this would be an amazing find for someone searching for N. S. Davis in their ancestry or just nice for collectors of Somerset or confectionery trade cards, in general.

Dealer in a little of almost everything

We find N. S. Davis is Nathan S. Davis, from his 1870 ad below in the Somerset city directory, and he offered a wide variety of items. But is he also the Nathan S. Davis, sea captain, born 1828, that appears in directories and census records?

Two Nathan S. Davis’ in Somerset

Getting a little bleary-eyed looking up the many records under this name, but we see that there was the Nathan Simmons Davis (1828 – 1918) son of Nathan Davis and Clarissa (Bowen) Davis, who lived in Somerset, served as a U.S. Postmaster and was a sea-captain, and there was Pvt. Nathan S. Davis (1828 – 1887) from Somerset, son of Baylis and Nancy Davis, who served in the Civil War and was listed as a mariner at the time of his death. Which one was also the confectioner who gave out this trade card is the mystery. And wouldn’t you know it, the spyglass theme fits both of them perfectly (not to mention this was the Atlantic seaboard region, so nautical was common in general, one assumes.)

Sources:  Dudley & Greenough‘s The Bristol County Directory and Gazetteer for 1867-68. p. 93. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

D. Dudley & Co.’s The Bristol County Directory and History for 1870. p. 39. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Dean Dudley & Co.’s The Bristol County Directory and History for 1875-76. p. 130. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971. NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls. Records of the Post Office Department, Record Group Number 28. Washington, D.C.: National Archives. (

Nathan Simmons Davis. Find A Grave Memorial# 91007972. (

Pvt. Nathan S. Davis. Find A Grave Memorial# 91299742. (

Massachusetts Vital Records, 1840–1911. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. (

I. K. Messer, Grocer, Haverhill, Mass.

Trade card. Haverhill, Massachusetts. Circa 1876 – 1880.

Price:  $10.00                Size:  about 4 and 5/8 x 3″

“He removed his tricorn with a flourish and made her a low sweeping bow….”

Here’s a lovely trade card in pink tones, for  “I. K. Messer, Grocer, 82 Emerson St., Haverhill, Mass.”  I. K. Messer, grocer was Ira K. Messer. Below a short timeline and a city directory ad:

1873 – Address listed as Emerson near Winter, Haverhill

1876 and 1880 – 82 Emerson St., Haverhill

1882 – Address listed as 83 Emerson St., Haverhill

Below, an 1880 Haverhill city directory advertisement for Ira K. Messer:

Sources:  Greenough, Jones & Co.’s Massachusetts Cities Directory, 1873. p. 107. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

W. A. Greenough & Co.’s City of Haverhill Directory, 1876. p. 182. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

W. A. Greenough & Co.’s City of Haverhill Directory, 1880. p. 46 in the advertising department. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Merrimack River Directory, Haverhill, 1882. p. 385. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.