Higgins & Seiter

 A. Suggested Dates for Higgins & Seiter Catalogs: #1 (1890-91) to #20 (1910-11) and B. List of Higgins & Seiter ads that were placed in The Craftsman (1904-05)

A. Higgins & Seiter Catalogs:

The Higgins & Seiter Company of New York City began selling decorations for the table, including rich-cut glass in 1887. By 1891 the firm was well-established and, in that year it issued its second annual catalog. Ordering fine-quality merchandise by mail was the main purpose of the company. But it also emphasized a policy that guaranteed prices “at least one-quarter less than elsewhere”.

The company’s annual catalogs were written and published during the first year of each indicated fiscal year. For example, Catalog #6, for the 1895-96 season, would have been written and published during 1895, possibly during the late spring or summer, but this date probably varied from year-to-year.

H. & S.’s early catalogs were not advertised by number. The earliest one that was so advertised appears to be #5 which was advertised in the December 1894 issue of Harper’s Magazine Advertiser (p. 88). Each advertised catalog also has a letter-code that indicates the publication that carried the ad. For example, the aforementioned catalog was advertised as “No. 5C” where C indicates Harper’s Magazine Advertiser. Other codes in use were: B = Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, D = Scribner’s Magazine Advertiser, and F = The Craftsman.

The earliest numbered catalog available today is #2 which, by extrapolation from the earliest extant catalog that is both numbered and dated — #5 for 1894-95 — can be dated 1891-92. The last catalog in the series that is extant is #20. It can be dated 1910-11, extrapolated from an ad that indicates that Catalog #15 was prepared for the 1905-06 season. Without this ad the dating of #15, as well as all subsequent catalogs, would be uncertain because none found to date are dated. Catalog #15’s date also confirms H. & S.’s earlier intention not to publish an annual catalog for 1904-05, as stated in Supplement Catalogue No. 14.

A second problem in dating arose several years ago when the Rakow Research Library discovered that the date of Catalog #11’s reprint by The Pyne Press (1972) was erroneously given as 1899[-1900]. The original catalog is undated. The dating of subsequent catalogs in the present sequence conforms to what is now regarded as the correct date for Catalog #11: 1900-01.

The following is a proposed chronology for the H. & S. catalog-sequence. Catalog numbers and years in bold print indicate that the item is available as the original catalog and/or microform copy at the Rakow Research Library, Corning, NY. The microform versions only can be obtained from the RRL through the inter-library loan services that are available at many public libraries. No asttempt has been made to list catalogs available at libraries other than the RRL, nor have catalogs known to be privately owned been included.

In the following tabulation considerable use has been made of the Higgins & Seiter advertisements that have been reprinted in Smith and Smith (2003), book 2 (The LABAC Project). Direct quotations are taken from this source. Many thanks to all who have contributed to LABAC, as well as to the staff of the RRL for its help in this compilation.

Suggestion: Scroll down and read the sequence from the bottom up.

CATALOG NUMBER AND YEAR * * * * / * * * * COMMENTS * * * * / * * * * LOCATION

#20, 1910-11. Catalog (64 pp.) numbered but not dated / Date extrapolated from #15 / Rakow: Original catalog / microform F-182C.

#19, 1909-10.

#18, 1908-09.

#17, 1907-08. Catalog (35 pp.) numbered but not dated / Date extrapolated from #15 / Rakow: Original catalog / microform F-9360C.

#16, 1906-07.

#15, 1905-06. Date confirmed by an ad in the December 1905 issue of Scribner’s Advertiser (p. 110): “Ask for Catalog 15D.”

Supplement to #14, 1904-05. Supplement (16 pp.) numbered but not dated / Labor troubles and other circumstances “practially paralyzed the Lithographic business just at the time when it was essential. Messrs. Higgins & Seiter will not issue their regular annual Catalogue this year” (p. 1). Instead they issued this Supplement Catalogue No. 14. It contains one page of cut glass, with examples of the Leader, Oregon, Prism, and Brilliant patterns / “Ask for Supplement ‘B'”, Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Aug 1905, p. 53 / Reprinted in Smith (2004a) / Rakow: Original catalog / not yet microfilmed.

#14, 1903-04. Catalog (165 pp.) numbered but not dated / Cut-glass section only reprinted in Smith (2004a, pp. 1-37, 118-23, and 161-5) / Rakow: Original catalog and copy of Smith (2004a) reprint / microform F-9732C.

#13, 1902-03. Catalog (245 pp.) numbered but not dated / See “Higgins & Seiter [Catalog] #13” by Leigh Emmerson (The Hobstar, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 12-15 [Oct 2001])

#12, 1901-02. Catalog (299 pp.) numbered but not dated / “Catalog No. 12(B)” cited in four issues of Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1902: Feb (p. 39), Mar (p. 45), May (p. 46), and Jun (p. 47) / Rakow: Original catalog / not yet microfilmed.

#11, 1900-01. Re-dated from the date, 1899, that appears in the reprint, PENNSYLVANIA GLASSWARE, published by the Pyne Press in 1972. The original catalog is not dated / Rakow: Original catalog and original reprint TP868.H63; also, copy of cut-glass section only TP868.H63a / microform F-9563C (on loan, not examined).

#10, 1899-1900. Catalog (245 pp.) numbered and dated / Rakow: Original catalog / microform F-176C/F-177C.

#9, 1898-99. Catalog (219 pp.) numbered and dated / Rakow: Original catalog / microform F-168C.

#8, 1897-98. Catalog (198 pp.) numbered and dated / Rakow: Original catalog / microform F-13,628C.

#7, 1896-97. Catalog: “Mention No. 7(B)”, Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Dec 1896 (p. 52); “Catalogue No. 7C, Harper’s Magazine Advertiser, May 1897 (p. 45 with illustration of the “Napoleon” pattern) / Rakow: Neither original nor microform copy available.

#6, 1895-96. Catalog (190 pp.) numbered and dated / “Our Catalogue No. 6C with over 600 illustrations is free”, Harper’s Magazine Advertiser, Dec 1895 (p. 82); “Our 192-page Catalogue, No. 6-C . . .”, Harper’s Magazine Advertiser, Mar 1896 (p. 36) / Rakow: Original catalog / not yet microfilmed.

#5, 1894-95. Catalog (174 pp.) numbered and dated. / “Our new 174-page Catalog”, Harper’s Magazine Advertiser, Nov 1894 (p. 59; also advertised in same publication: Oct 1894 (p. 50) and Dec 1894 (p. 88) / Cut-glass section only reprinted in Smith (2004a, pp. 34-60) / Rakow: Copy of reprint (Smith 2004a) TP868.H63 / microform (fragment only?) F-17,333C (not available, not examined).

#4, 1893-94. “138-page illustrated catalog” (Cat. No. 4?), Harper’s Magazine Advertiser, Sep 1894 (p. 41) succeeded by ad for No. 5 the following month (see above) / Rakow: Neither original nor microform copy available.

#3, 1892-93. “Mention this publication . . .”, Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Oct 1892 (no page cited); “Our beautifully illustrated Catalog . . . mention this publication”, same publication, Dec 1892 (p. 46) / Rakow: Neither original nor microform copy available.

#2, 1891-92. Catalog (64 pp.) numbered but not dated / “Mention Century and send for [our catalog] at once. Free.”, Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, Dec 1891 (p. 37); “Our catalogue . . . send for it. Free.” Harper’s Magazine Advertiser, Mar 1892 (p. 28) / Rakow: Original catalog / microform F-14,096C.

#1, 1890-91. A copy has not yet been discovered. Date extrapolated from Catalog #6.


B. Advertisements Placed by Higgins & Seiter in The Craftsman (1904-05)

The monthly magazine that was a leading publication in the American Arts and Crafts Movement, The Craftsman, first appeared in October 1901. With its October 1902 issue (Vol. 3, No. 1) the magazine began running paid advertisements. Higgins & Seiter’s first ad appears in Vol. 6, No. 2 (May 1904) and the company continued to advertise monthly until Vol. 7, No. 6 (Mar 1905), excepting the issue for Vol. 7, No. 1 (Oct 1904) when it placed no ad. In a departure from its usual practice, the company ran a single ad for Limoges china during this period in place of an ad containing American cut glass, the subject of all of the company’s other ads. These ads for cut glass always occupy one-quarter page and invariably appear on the outside of the publication’s back cover, in the lower right-hand corner. The Limoges ad, on the other hand, is printed on the inside of the back cover.

During the stated period the company ran a total of nine ads for cut glass, including two-in-tandem that were repeats of one ad, and one that was a repeat of another. Thus, allowing for the month when no ad appeared, and the month when the Limoges ad was run, and the repeats, six unique ads for cut glass are available. None duplicate the ads reproduced in Smith and Smith’s 2003 publication CUT GLASS ADVERTISEMENTS (BOOK TWO) where there are eight pages of Higgins & Seiter ads.

It is not known why Higgins & Seiter advertised in The Craftsman but the company’s decision to do so might have been influenced by labor difficulties that forced it to suspend the publication of its regular annual catalog for 1904-05 (which would have been Catalog No. 15). If this situation were anticipated as early as the May 1904 issue of The Craftsman, H. & S. might have decided to expand its advertising base in order to mitigate the loss of its annual catalog which was widely advertised and distributed throughout the country. Although the company was able to produce a 16-page “Supplement” to Catalog No. 14, in place of a Catalog No. 15, it contained only one page of cut-glass items. In The Craftsman ads Catalog No. 14 is always mentioned — the Supplement never is — indicating that H. & S. must have held some copies of No. 14 in reserve for readers of The Craftsman. In fact, the Supplement indicates that the company intended to make Catalog No. 14 available upon request as long as copies were available. Elsewhere, the Supplement was advertised as late as Aug 1905, but by December it had been replaced by ads for Catalog No. 15, and Higgins & Seiter was back on track with a regular catalog for the 1905-06 season. But by then the company had ceased advertising in The Craftsman.

Chronology of the Higgins & Seiter Advertisements. Issues searched: Vol. 1, No. 1 (Oct 1901) to Vol. 31, No. 3 (Dec 1916). CMG Discs 1-8.

Vol. 6, No. 2 (May 1904): “12 Cut Glass Tumblers” – $7.50

Vol. 6, No. 3 (Jun 1904): “For $5.00 this Exquisite Cut-Glass Comport or Bon-Bon Dish”

Vol. 6, No. 4 (Jul 1904): A sugar and cream set (“$5 for both”)

Vol. 6, No. 5 (Aug 1904): (Previous ad repeated)

Vol. 6, No. 6 (Sep 1904): (Previous ad repeated)

Vol. 7, No. 1 (Oct 1904): NO ADVERTISEMENT

Vol. 7, No. 2 (Nov 1904): “Cut Glass Jug ‘Prism'” – $6.00

Vol. 7, No. 3 (Dec 1904): (Previous ad repeated)

Vol. 7, No. 4 (Jan 1905): “This cut glass pitcher . . .” – $5.00

Vol. 7, No. 5 (Feb 1905): “100 piece set, fine Limoges China” – $21.80

Vol. 7, No. 6 (Mar 1905): “This beautiful cut-glass bon-bon dish . . .” – $3.00 [triangular shape with three handles]