Correlating Cards and Taking a Guess at Something
Wow, where to begin? With some assumptions. And some facts. And some leaps.
So, William Forbes married Louis Prang’s daughter. We knowthis to be true. Also, Forbes printed Album Cards for Prang. There are letters that substantiate this.
I am not aware of anyone else who did card publishing/lithography for Prang. He did most himself and Forbes got some jobs (and complaints on quality from Prang). The Huntington Library has 2 letters from Prang to Forbes on the topic. They used to belong to me.
There are 2 album cards in one of my binders that have nagged at me for a while but I couldn’t quite place why. They are a match for Prang’s “Butterflies and Moths of America” part one except they have a solid background, where Prang printed everything on white card stock. Here they are:
You can see that the cards are extremely similar with the exception of the background. Interestingly, Prang rarely had periods at the end of his card titles and he rarely used any kind of font that wasn’t very “spare” in nature.
Right away my Spidey senses are up. But I have had those background cards for years so what would make me suspect something now?
If you look back at the recent “white border white font publisher” article, you’ll note that there are a few sets of cards that have these attributes of a background. One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that they weren’t actually printed in white, that is just the card stock showing through. Here are a couple of examples of this approach:
You may remember from a previous article that I discussed Forbes’ cards and the two that I have. They are shown here again as a reminder:
Now let’s examine Prang’s cards from “Scenes in and Around Boston”:
We can see that Forbes did work for Prang and also that he used a much “blockier” font style than Prang. The butterflies above is the only “blocky” lettering that Prang had for all 5 butterfly sets. Perhaps we should now look at some of the fonts from known Forbes and the “white letter” publisher:
I would posit that the font characteristics between these cards are similar enough to warrant calling the “white publisher” William Forbes. I have no first hand research to back up this claim but at this point feel pretty strongly that we are looking at the same publisher.
For now, I will attribute the “background” cards to Forbes. I hope I am not spreading mis-information but don’t know how much more evidence I could have on the subject without first hand research.
If anyone has some Forbes catalogs or advertisements relating to album cards, I would love to see them. Happy collecting!