Detail,  Bradley & Rulofson imprint

Detail, Bradley & Rulofson imprint, 1868.  

University of Louisville



Imprint: Although the term has several meanings, its special reference to publishers and printers requires a brief note. In the 19th-century's history of the book there was an evolving function for the imprint.  What began as a labeling of the place of printing origin, ended with the more prominent need to identify the publisher by name. The locus of publication is displaced in importance.  This is to say that who was publishing the work proved more important than where.  From 1840 on, with the rapid commercialization of the newest photographic techniques, the photographer's imprint assumed more and more elaborate dimensions on the reverse side of the cartes de visite.  The partnership of  San Franciscan photographers Bradley & Rulofson featured a graphic image of their alchemic art and science at the center of their imprint. Their workbench was crowded with flasks, oval portraits, books, cameras, viewing devices, palette, brushes and protractor... all bathed in a brilliant natural light.  Merely printing the proprietors' names and the address of the studio could not begin to match the impact of this fantastic business of writing with light.

"Written and Composed by E.P. Christy." -Such is the endorsement on the music of "Old Folks at Home," a copy of which is forwarded by Al Bauer of Brookville, Pa.  The imprint says: "Entered according to Act of Congress by Firth, Pond & Co., in 1851." Mr. John Mahon, who favors us with another edition (1857) by the same publishers, which also bears the line "Written and composed by E.P. Christy," informs us that he has been assured by those publishers that the name of the real author (Stephen C. Foster) has never appeared in connection with any music of that song issued by their house. This is the actual evidence we lack.  New York Clipper, April 14, 1877


Interlocutor: Occasionally labeled as ‘Interrogator' …the Interlocutor in his top hat and tails, speaking so pompously and prolixly and with such dignity, functioned for the popular audience as a broad caricature of American cultured, upper class society. More specifically perhaps, in his consistent (and consistently thwarted) attempts to bring some order and reason to the chaotic nonsense of Tambo and Bones, he caricatured the humanitarian reformer, the liberal preacher, the academic savant, that is, any, who from the vantage point of superior class, education or morality, presumed to lecture the mob. Jules Zanger, “The Minstrel Show as Theatre of Misrule,” Quarterly Journal of Speech, 1974