Chicago: Rounds-Truman Company, 1915. Hardcover. Quarto (24 x 19 cm). Fine calligraphic manuscript on thick paper (6 leaves): black ink with decorative borders and illuminations in gray and silver, loosely stitched in contemporary black leather folder and matching black leather slipcase (restored). Signed at the rear by eight members of the Board of Directors of Marshall Field and Company, Chicago. Very good. Item #1187
¶ A fine American Art Deco manuscript of austere elegance, the calligraphy is technically perfect and aesthetically pleasing. The text is a resolution adopted by the Board of Directors of Marshall Field and Company in commemoration of the passing of Joseph Nash Field, brother of Marshall Field. ¶ ILLUMINATED BY ROUNDS-TRUMAN Company, Chicago. In 1912 Rounds-Truman Company was paid by the Board of Trustees for the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign campus) for "engrossing diplomas" (cf. Twenty-Sixth Report, 1912, pp. 413, 871, 874, 892). Rounds-Truman also entered copyright for "Rounds' Masonic Certificate" in 1907 (cf. Catalog of Copyright Entries. Part 4, vol. 2: Works of Art, Etc. New Series, Library of Congress Copyright Office, p. 795). According to an advertisement in Patterson's American Educational Directory, Vol. 19, p. 901, Rounds-Truman was located in Chicago at 64 W. Randolph St. and specialized in "Diplomas: Artistic new designs in stock which can easily be adapted to any school. The designing of individual diplomas for schools and colleges and of membership certificates for fraternities is a specialty. Engrossing graduates' names to match diplomas." The firm was still in business by January 13, 1932, at which time it was contracted by the University of Illinois to fulfill "diploma requirements for a period of three years" (cf. UIL Board of Trustee Minutes, 1932, p. 504). ¶ It is possible that the name of the illuminator of our manuscript can be assigned to one Roger Barnett. A note about this illuminator appeared in "The Educator" vol. 43, No. 5 (January 1938) p. 17: "Through P. Seidensticker, manager of the Rounds-Truman Company, 123 W. Madison Street, Chicago, we learned that Roger Barnett has been employed to do engrossing in their engrossing studio. This studio specializes in all kinds of pen work such as resolutions, diplomas, etc. Mr. Barnett is a nephew of C.A. Barnett, an engrosser of Cleveland. Several years ago Mr. Barnett specialized in engrossing and pen work at the Zanerian." ¶ Illuminated American manuscripts created by known workshops are very uncommon.