Romaine, Lawrence B., 1900-Alternative names
Romaine was the author of a guide to american trade catalogs, 1744-1900, the standard reference work in this field. He also was a Massachusetts antiquarian book dealer, who bought and sold other Americana in addition to trade catalogs.
From the description of The Lawrence B. Romaine trade catalog collection, [ca. 1850-1968]. (University of California, Santa Barbara). WorldCat record id: 213885138
Lawrence B. Romaine (1900-1967) was an antiquarian book dealer, who bought and sold rare books, manuscripts, trade catalogs, and other Americana. Romaine was recognized as the leading expert in the U.S. on trade catalogs, and was the author of A Guide to American Trade Catalogs, 1774-1900 (New York: R. R. Bowker Company, 1960), the standard reference work in this field.
Romaine was born in Morristown, New Jersey, and graduated from Williams College in 1923. He had a brief career as a real estate agent and worked as an advertising agent for the New York World covering Wall Street. He later was an advertising agent for John B. Woodward, Inc. of New York. In 1933, Romaine and his wife Elizabeth moved to Middleboro, Massachusetts, where he established himself as an antique book dealer. His business, "Weathercock House," was located on Route 28 in North Middleboro.
Romaine spent approximately 30 years collecting over 41,000 trade catalogs from the 19th and early 20th centuries, on every imaginable product from agricultural implements, clothes, medical and surgical instruments to weathervanes and windmills. The bulk of his collection focused on machines, tools, engines and other hardware used in agriculture and manufacturing industries.
In addition to trade catalogs, Romaine acquired popular culture materials, including tracts, pamphlets, popular books on topics such as tobacco, alcohol, early plays, school texts, sermons, slavery, suffrage, politics, religion, education, and entertainment. He also collected almanacs, early American Bibles, 18th century and early 19th century imprints, posters, books on printing, poetry, flowers and animals, New England, and first editions of F. Marion Crawford and Mark Twain.
At the local level, Romaine actively organized and participated in local community events in Middleboro, from planning parades to writing editorials for the local newspaper. He also was recognized as the Middleboro local historian, and authored two books: The Weather Crows (1955) and Cambridge to Champlain 1776 (1957).
Romaine's efforts as collector and historian have contributed significantly to the history of American technology. As he noted in A Guide to American Trade Catalogs, 1774-1900 : "If a complete history of American manufacturers is ever to be compiled, American trade catalogs will unquestionably be one of the most valuable sources of material available."
From the guide to the Lawrence B. Romaine Trade Catalog Collection, ca. 1850-1968, (University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Dept. of Special Collections)
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