Saturday, January 03, 2009

Harberd's Comicalities

Stumbled across this oddity on the Europeana website. It's an advert for one of the dozens of heavily illustrated humorous papers that were published in the late 19th century. This dates from 1884, I believe, and was drawn (and perhaps written?) by Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908), the famous German caricaturist and cartoonist. It may even be a pirated edition of a German book; certainly the publisher seems to be making some claim to it despite the fact that it seems unlikely to have been drawn directly for him.

I was intrigued by the name of the publisher, which I've not come across before. A bit of digging around turned up a few facts. The publisher was one Henry Edmund Harberd, born in Lewis, Sussex, in circa 1838. His father, James Harberd, was born in Clewer, Berkshire, but by 1851 was living in Lambeth and working as a printer/compositor. Something of a family trade, both Henry and his brother James were apprentice compositors.

By the 1870s, Harberd was publishing music magazines and books, including The Monthly Songster (launched in 1872) and the 3-volume Harberd's Musical Library. Musical Bits was a weekly periodical published in 1887-88 by Harberd Bros. (The brother is likely to be James W. Harberd, who was also a solo publisher, still active in the early 20th century.)

In 1881 Henry Harberd's occupation was listed as "commission agent" and he was to be found living in Hammersmith with his second wife Emma Jane (nee Rakestrow), whom he had married in 1880, son Edmund Henry (1870- ) and daughter Florence Maud (1878- ).

In 1891, he was living in Hammersmith, London, a widower (Emma Jane having died in 1888), with his son Edmund (by now an electrical engineer), daughter Florence, younger brother Lewis (a mining engineer) and younger sister Eva. Lewis and Eva were still living with him following his retirement at the time of the 1901 census.

Henry Edmund Harberd died in Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, in 1921.

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