1882-83 Star School Student Grades and Rankings—Pair of Very Early Mimeographs with Mounted Photo

Regular price $75.00

I am fascinated by these, which I purchased from a wonderful paper dealer from upstate New York at the Papertown show in Boxborough, MA last week. Dated 1882 and 1883, they show the grades and ranking of each student at "The Star School" (I have not placed definitively) under the tutleage of F.B Goodykoontz--definitely no hiding in his class! At first I took them for drawings, but then realized they were very very very early mimeographs: the mimeograph machine was invented by Thomas Edison just a few years earlier, who obtained a patent for Autographic Printing on August 8, 1876 (the patent covered the electric pen, used for making the stencil, and the flatbed duplicating press; in 1880, Edison obtained a further patent, which covered the making of stencils using a file plate, a grooved metal plate on which the stencil was placed which perforated the stencil when written on with a blunt metal stylus.) I do believe these were almost certainly made using Edison's device, and as one who grew up familiar with the distinct purple color (and smell!) of mimeograph copies in school, they feel both immediately familiar and also super surprising.

In addition to the material fact of their existence, and survival (the paper is quite thin), I think the design of these is fantastic, surely done by teacher himself, who then distributed a copy to each student in his class, personalized with their name handwritten. The banners and borders, the framed pictures of flowers flanking pasted down teacher photo, the drawing of the school house, the use of pink and pale blue combined with the purple...just terrific.

Each measures approx 9 7/8" x 8".  Overall pretty good condition considering their age and delicacy. A few stains to top right edge of page with photo and clean tear along top edge. Fraying/folding to top edge of page with schoolhouse, as evident. A few small holes in each. All as evident and documented. Stable and not especially brittle or fragile. Sold as a pair.