Designers (firm, 1895–1931)
firm was unique in that it employed a number of designers,
and each was responsible
for certain aspects of a design—an early example
of division of labor in creative work. The founder of
the firm was Henry Thayer (1867–1940) who was trained
as an architect (following the example of Stanford White,
architect-book cover designer). Thayer was responsible
for much of the lettering produced by the firm, and Emma
Redington Lee Thayer (1874–1973), another important
woman designer, executed the beautiful decorative borders
and designs. For an example, please see pba00056, Warwickshire
Lad: The Story of the Boyhood of William Shakespeare by
Martin (D. Appleton & Co., 1916). Henry Thayer and Emma Redington Lee Thayer were married in 1909 but later divorced in 1932 on the grounds of desertion.
Buckles Falls (d.1960) and Jay Chambers (d. 1929) were
in charge of drawing the figures featured in narrative
designs. For an example, please see
pba00113, Molly Brown of Kentucky by Nell
Speed (A.L. Burt, 1917). Their designs
were often initially sketched by hand, then
transferred to brass plates and engraved by Rome K.
designed covers individually using the monograms RR and
a conjoined AE, respectively.
described Decorative Designers’ work as original
and in some cases “extraordinary.” For
an example, see Henry Thayer’s design for William
Hawthorn and Lavender (Harper, 1901). Note,
this title does not appear in PBO to date.
Designers monogram appeared on over 25,000 book covers,
and text decorations.
Monogram: overlapped DD,
with the second D reversed.
here to search the PBO database for bindings designed
by Decorative Designers.
Sources: Charles Gullans
and John Espey, “American Trade Bindings and Their
Designers, 1880–1915” (1979).
New York Times. 13 May 1940.
to Designers Index