Eberhard Faber’s 1856 Copybook

This Francis & Loutrel bookplate is from a letterpress copybook once owned by Johann Eberhard Faber (1822-1879). The book’s pages are very delicate and tissue-thin. There isn’t a great deal of content though, only about 10% of the pages have anything on them. What’s worse, some of that is only barely legible at best.

The first few pages however are clear: ledger entries that date back to 1856 (just seven years after Faber’s arrival in America).

previous post has photographs of a company ledger that survived the 1872 fire, and its earliest entry is dated November, 1857. Perhaps then these are pressed copies from an earlier ledger, which now is presumably lost.

There are letters also: personal and professional, both in English and in German, some of which bear a striking and familiar signature:

While some of the pages are clear and legible, the translucency of the paper makes it difficult to read those pages with writing on both the back and front. For example, here is a page from a lengthy personal letter written by Eberhard to his brother, Lothar:

Some of the words are discernible, but even with the aid of digitally processing the image transcribing the writing remains a challenge. Another example:

Much less is known about the earliest decade of the Eberhard Faber Company, owing to a paucity of documents and photographs. But these pages can’t hold onto their secrets forever.

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